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Do Cats Fart?

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Let's talk about feline flatulence

No dog owner can deny their pet's prolific gas-passing, but do cat owners suffer because of this same (stinky) fact of life? While pups really let 'em rip, the only potential hint a feline may have eked one out is usually an inexplicably foul smell in their general vicinity — which makes you wonder, "Can cats fart?"

In a word, yes.

Cats have all of the anatomical parts necessary to shoot noxious tail-end fumes out into the universe. So if you've ever been cuddling with your kitty and suspected the stench wafting through the air came from your best feline friend, your hunch could very well have been right.

More: Cat Sneezes Are Adorable, but They Can Also Mean You Need to Call the Vet

As you've probably picked up by now, cats are typically stealth-bombers. Since they produce smaller amounts of gas, their toots are rarely audible. However, that gas is dense and super-concentrated, so they make up for in stinkiness what they lack in sound.

But why do cats fart? Is it simply a matter of indigestion, as it so often is with us humans (oh, come on... we all do it!). There are in fact myriad reasons your cat could have gas.

Causes of feline flatulence

Farting, of course, is a healthy byproduct of the digestion process in humans and many animals. It's another way the body clears the pipes, so to speak. However, if your cat suddenly seems to be breaking wind nonstop, there is probably something contributing to the odious bodily function.

Hard-to-digest food

Hey, we've all been tempted to (and have on multiple occasions) reached for the bag of cheap cat food to save a few bucks. Unfortunately though, you pretty much get what you pay for — cheap cat food is packed with cat-food fillers like corn that are tough for your cat's digestive system to break down. This can upset your cat's tummy and lead to a buildup of gut bacteria, both of which cause stinky gas. The same essentially goes for feeding your cat human food.

More: Why Are Cats So Obsessed With Boxes?

Dietary changes

This is a bit of a no-win situation, but switching up your cat's diet can also cause an uptick in flatulence. So even if you were changing their diet to avoid potentially tummy-troubling foods, you could have thrown their delicate digestive system out of balance. Since the stomach is not used to the new food source, it can struggle to break it down. And we all know what that leads to.

Gulping down air

If your cat scarfs down their food like it's the last bowl on Earth, chances are good they're gulping down some extra air along with the food. This can be a big problem for dogs too, and the most common side effect is (you guessed it) bloating and gas.

Dairy products

Are you ready for some information that will rock your world? Here goes: Many adult cats are actually lactose intolerant. Despite all of the quaint imagery we've been exposed to our whole lives of cats lapping milk out of a delicate saucer, drinking said milk can actually give your cat terrible gas and the runs.

An underlying medical condition

If your cat's flatulence is truly awful and happening more often, it's time to pay your veterinarian a visit — if you haven't already. Although feline farting can often be explained by one of the more innocuous causes referenced above, a more serious medical condition like malabsorption could be to blame.

Dealing with feline flatulence

Now that you know what might be causing your cat's pungent problem, you can pinpoint the appropriate course of action. Aside from visiting your vet (which we highly recommend in any case), there are several ways to troubleshoot your cat's toots.

First and foremost, ditch the subpar kitty kibble in favor of a premium-quality cat food. Sure, it'll cost a bit more, but your nose will thank you later. When you make the switch, though, do so gradually so the change doesn't cause your cat further stomach distress.

More: Thinking of Adopting a Cat? There's No Better Time Than Kitten Season

If your cat gobbles down their food and gets a gut full of extra air, try feeding them in smaller increments throughout the day. That way, they'll be less hungry and thus less tempted to scarf the meal down on the double.

Lastly, always make sure your cat has an ample supply of clean, fresh water — it flushes out odor-causing gut bacteria and helps keep your kitty's digestive system on the right track.

Let's talk about feline flatulence
Image: Yvonna Groom/Sheknows

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