Cat’s can produce horribly smelling gasses. There is no nice way to put it. Sometimes one almost feels like they do it out of spite. Flatulence in cats could be due to various reasons like swallowing too much air or eating too fast and too much. But, it may also occur because of a stomach disorder or the type of food the cat is fed.
Although little gas is harmless as it’s a part of the digestive process, excessive gas followed by other symptoms indicates an underlying condition related to the cat’s digestive system. In this guide, we will discuss flatulence in cats, why it occurs, and what is the best cat food for gassy cats.
What Causes My Cat To Fart So Much?
Flatulence occurs when the digestive system is unable to perform its function properly, and the digestion process is slowed down. When the digestive system has to put additional effort into food processing, a variety of gases are created during the process. For instance, if you have fed your cat a high-fiber meal, the fiber will start fermenting in the gut as the system tries to digest the food. This fermenting produces methane gas. The gas eventually releases from the cat’s body as a fart.
Can Cat Food Cause Flatulence?
Mostly flatulence is linked with diet. What your cat eats can impact its digestive health. Majority of commercially prepared cat foods have a high amount of grains like barley, corn, and wheat. Since cats cannot digest grains properly, it causes digestive and gastrointestinal issues despite that manufacturers process the grains well. Moreover, undigested grain promotes bacterial accumulation in the digestive tract that also creates excessive gas. Any abrupt change in cat diet or a food allergy can also lead to flatulence. That’s why veterinarians suggest that pet owners should always introduce their cats to new ingredients gradually or use grain free cat food. If cat food is left out for too long and it gets spoiled, and the cat eats it, it can also make your cat gassy, along with creating other digestion issues.
Gastrointestinal Issues that Cause Flatulence:
Excessive gas can also be a result of a digestive system-related or gastrointestinal disease, including the following:
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS):
It refers to inflammation and irritation in the cat’s bowels. However, it’s not linked to gastrointestinal disease. IBS is caused by many factors such as food intolerance or cat food passing through the gastrointestinal tract. Interestingly, mental distress can also contribute to IBS.
- Intestinal virus:
It is commonly referred to as the Rotavirus. It causes chronic inflammation of the intestines. In severe cases, the intestinal virus can cause dysfunction in the intestinal walls. Rotavirus is the leading cause of gastrointestinal upsets and diarrhea in cats.
- Intestinal cancer:
Abnormal cell growth or tumors that occur in the gastrointestinal system indicate intestinal cancer. The growth may be malignant or benign. Malignant growths are cancerous and lead to serious issues and spread out to other vital organs.
- Gastrointestinal parasites:
Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites are quite common in cats. The parasites may be worms and trigger reactions like gas, vomiting, dull coat, diarrhea, loss of appetite, bloody feces, or cough.
An infection or inflammation of the pancreas is called Pancreatitis. Some of its potential contributing factors include disease, trauma or infection, or decreased blood flow due to dehydration.
- Intestinal obstruction:
It is a common issue in kittens and young cats and occurs when they swallow a foreign object that causes intestinal obstruction. Foreign objects generally pass through the intestines and are expelled without causing any discomfort. However, some may be large enough to get stuck and cause discomfort. Chronic intestinal obstructions are extremely dangerous and life-threatening for the cat.
- Dietary sensitivity:
As mentioned above, food intolerance and allergies, which is a result of the digestive system reacting against a specific ingredient such as a protein, can also promote flatulence. Food reactions allergies can cause two types of reactions. One, that affects the cat’s immune system and causes an allergic reaction. The other is intolerance, where the immune component isn’t involved. There are specialised hypoallergenic cat foods to help with these cases.
How Do I Know My Cat Has Gas?
It’s quite easy to tell if your cat is gassy because most people identify it as they smell it. However, 99% of the time, intestinal gas would be odorless. Some of the most common signs that indicate gassiness in cats include:
- Gastrointestinal tract’s rumbling
- Excessive farting
- Pain in the abdomen
- Distended or bloated abdomen
- Frequent vomits
Low Fiber Easily Digestible Cat Food
Low fiber cat food has many advantages simply due to the fact that cats are natural carnivores, so their natural diet is low-fiber by definition. This means they didn’t evolve to digest too much fiber. Generally fiber should not exceed more than 0.55% of food intake. Too much fiber stimulates digestion and can cause overproduction of gasses, same as with humans. If your cat has bad gas, definitely consider try feeding it low fiber cat food. Cats with digestion issues might also benefit from this type of food, however, best cat food for sensitive stomach might help more in that case.
What to Look For in The Best Cat Food For Gassy Cats?
Food that is low in plant matter is the best cat food for gassy cats. A plant-based diet is usually high in fiber, which is the main culprit behind excessive gas and flatulence in cats. Moreover, in comparison to animal-derived ingredients and meat, plant ingredients are more demanding on the cat’s digestive system. Along with that, plant ingredients are responsible for bringing in microbes in the digestive process, which further contributes to gas production and flatulence.
To control gassiness in cats, you should feed your pet a more efficient diet that is not too burdensome for their digestive system to process. Cats are obligate carnivores, so a prey-inspired diet would be a great choice. Ideally, you should feed such foods that contain meat ingredients more than plants and are minimally processed. For instance, chicken, pork, lamb, or beef. These ingredients are part of a cat’s natural diet, so their stomachs will be able to digest them easily.
On the other hand, foods featuring peas, beans, or legumes should be strictly avoided for gassy cats despite them being classic sources of complex carbohydrates. Other ingredients you need to steer clear of are corn, wheat gluten, wheat, and similar other plant-based ingredients.
Can Limited Ingredient or Novel Protein Diet Help?
Food intolerances and allergies are usually the primary cause behind a gassy cat. A limited ingredients diet can help a gassy cat because there are fewer ingredients, so you get a clear picture of what does and doesn’t suit your cat. If something triggers a reaction, you are able to determine which ingredient could be causing it.
Novel proteins refer to those protein sources that your cat hasn’t tried yet. By feeding your cat novel protein, you can reduce its exposure to irritants. This type of diet should be your priority to identify the ingredients that irritate your cat’s digestive system, and eliminating them from its diet will become easier.
Best Ways to Treat Gassiness in Cats
Treating gassiness in your cat requires patience, perseverance, and understanding. Your first line of action should be to determine what is causing gassiness. If the problem is related to eating habits, such as eating too fast, then you will need to train your feline. Proper training is essential to prevent or limit the occurrence of flatulence. You may invest in a play gym or a slow feeder. Or else, you can allow your cat to stay outdoors because inactivity can also cause gassiness.
In case the cause is a bacterial infection, then visiting the vet is the best option. Immediately take your cat to the vet because such problems cannot be resolved through home remedies or dietary changes. Consult the vet to understand what caused the infection and how to avoid it in the future.
If it’s not an infection, then a change of diet is your best option to treat gassiness in cats. There are specially developed cat food formulas that help ease gassiness in cats. A low fiber and grain-free diet can help improve the problem because these foods are easier for your cat to digest. However, make sure that the food they are fed does meet their nutritional requirements.
If you feel that the cat’s gas has an unusually bad odor, and there are other accompanying symptoms as well, then visiting the vet should be your priority.
Remember that certain human foods such as dairy products, citrus, garlic, raisins, and onion are not suitable diet options for cats as they cannot tolerate them. If you feed them human food, it will certainly upset the cat’s stomach, and gassiness mandatorily comes along.
Cat Food For Gassy Cats FAQ
Cats can have burps or hiccups for several reasons, as is the case with humans. Some of the common factors because of which cats burp or hiccup include overeating or eating too quickly. Furthermore, hairballs may also cause cats to hiccup since the throat gets irritated when trying to dislodge the fur, hence leading to hiccups. However, cats rarely burp.
Cat farting is called flatulence, which typically results from a gas buildup in the digestive system and is later released from the body as gas. Usually, it occurs when your pet swallows too much air. But, it may be caused due to food, dust, or pollen allergies. Moreover, if your cat is allergic to pests like fleas and ticks, it can also cause digestive distress resulting in farts.
High-fiber food can increase flatulence of cats, whereas a low-fiber diet generally helps in treating the problem if the food is the issue