Flatulence in Cats

Overview of Feline Flatulence

Flatulence is the distension of the stomach or intestines with gas or air. Flatus is the gas expelled from the body opening. The term flatulence is also used to refer to the release of intestinal gas through the anus. Flatus is commonly referred to as a “fart” or “gas”. Cats, as well as dogs and other pets, experience flatulence on a regular basis.

Gas production or accumulation in the gastrointestinal tract is normal. Excessive production may not be indicative of any particular disease or disorder. However, in certain gastrointestinal diseases, the normal production of gas may be increased and excessive flatulence may result. Nearly all gastrointestinal gas comes from either swallowed air (aerophagia) or from air produced by bacterial fermentation and processing of ingested nutrients. Any condition that leads to increases in these gases can cause flatulence. Over 99 percent of gas is odorless, and less than 1 percent accounts for the odor we often associate with flatulence.

Flatulence can be benign and short lived, such as when an cat overeats or ingests food it is not used to. Flatulence can also be recurrent, chronic, and/or representative of a significant underlying disease. For this reason, persistent flatulence should not be ignored.

General Causes of “Gas” in Cats

What to Watch For

Diagnosis of Flatulence in Cats

A complete history may help identify foodstuffs or eating patterns that might be responsible for the flatulence. A thorough physical examination may help identify other signs of a gastrointestinal disease. Initial diagnostic tests that may then be recommended include the following:

Treatment of Flatulence in Cats

There are several things your veterinarian might recommend to treat the patient with flatulence prior to instituting a more complete diagnostic work up.

Home Care

Institute all feeding and dietary recommendations as directed by your veterinarian. Remove any possible causes of the flatulence, such as exposure to garbage and certain food.