Cat Flatulence (Gas) Causes and Treatments

Medically Reviewed by Vanesa Farmer, DVM on March 16, 2023
3 min read

Everyone knows the old joke about blaming the dog for a bad-smelling fart. But what if you have a cat instead? 

Do cats pass gas, too?

The answer is yes. Cats do get gas. Like many other animals, a cat has gases inside its digestive tract, and this gas leaves the body via the rectum.

Cats usually pass gas quietly and there isn't much odor to it. However, sometimes cats can have excessive bloating, discomfort, and bad-smelling gas. In that case, your cat needs to see the vet to get to the bottom of the issue.

What causes cats' gas and how can you treat it?

Sometimes the symptoms of gas are very straightforward. You can hear or smell it when your cat passes gas.

Other signs of gas are more subtle. For example, you might notice that your cat's belly feels bloated when you pet them. Your cat might not even want to be touched at all. They might be less playful than usual due to this discomfort.

Gas is sometimes masked by other symptoms of stomach upset in cats. They might be having diarrhea or vomiting, keeping you from noticing that there is gas as well.

In some cases, when you check the litterbox, you might find that there is blood in your cat's stool. A cat with significant stomach pain might refuse to eat or drink.

If that happens, you need to call your vet to set up an appointment as soon as possible. 

There are several reasons that a kitty might have some extra gas once in a while. Some reasons for cats' gas are easy to explain and you can solve these problems with home care. 

Eating food that disagrees with the cat. Cats need to eat appropriate food or they can get an upset stomach and gas. Some foods that trigger gas in cats are food with high fiber content or too much red meat. Eating spoiled food or garbage is also a trigger for gas. Many cats can't digest dairy products and those cause gas for them.

Eating too much or too fast. Cats that consume a lot of food very quickly might take in a lot of air while they eat. This causes an upset stomach and flatulence for some cats.

Cats can have food allergies. Cats can develop food allergies at any time in their life. They can even become allergic to the foods that they've eaten for years. Most cats have skin symptoms with food allergies, but many also have stomach problems like diarrhea and possibly gas. Your vet can help you diagnose food allergies.

If your cat has occasional gas or if the gas is triggered by something that they ate, there isn't a need to worry. The gas will pass on its own. 

However, sometimes gas in cats is a symptom of something more serious. 

You should call your vet if your cat has ongoing symptoms such as vomiting, bloating, bloody stool, bad-smelling gas, or if they are refusing to eat or drink.

Some significant gastrointestinal problems in cats include:

Your vet will examine your cat and ask about their diet and health history. They may ask for a stool sample or order blood tests or X-rays to find out what is causing your cat's gas and other symptoms. Sometimes an ultrasound may also be needed.

The treatments for gas vary depending on the cause of your cat's upset stomach. 

A change of food might be the solution. Food allergies or a sensitive stomach might mean that you need to change your pet's diet. Ask your vet how to choose the right food for your cat. 

Feed your cat smaller meals. A cat that eats too much or too quickly will likely benefit from consuming several smaller meals during the day.

Hide the trash. If getting into human food or other garbage is the cause, you can secure your kitchen trash can to keep your curious cat from getting into it. 

Treat an illness. If your cat has a major medical condition, you and your vet can decide on the best treatment. Some conditions may require surgery or medication. Talk to your vet about the best way to bring your pet back to perfect health.