Skip to main content

Do cats fart? 6 causes and when to call a vet

Causes of cat flatulence and when to worry about

A white cat's tail hangs from the wooden bookshelf
cottonbro studio / Pexels

It’s no secret that dogs fart — sometimes just as much as humans do. Some pooches aren’t afraid to let ’em rip, but cats tend to be more shy when it comes to their bodily functions. That’s why some cat owners don’t even know if felines fart! Most kitties do their business in the privacy of their litter box, so it makes sense why kitty toots are so elusive.

If you’ve ever wondered, “Do cats fart?” but were too shy to ask for yourself — consider your search over. We’ll discuss what you need to know about feline flatulence and its causes, including when you need to contact your vet. Soon, you’ll know more than you ever anticipated.

Do cats fart?

A Sphynx cat chasing her tail against an orange background.
Alexander Piragis / Shutterstock

Just like the majority of mammals (sloths and bats are the exception) cats occasionally pass gas. This tends to happen less frequently than with dogs or people, but this could be because cats tend to prefer using their litter box in peace. Eventually, though, most cat owners will see or hear a toot from their furry friends. This can be more common for some cats than others, so what’s “normal” could vary from one furry friend to the next.

Causes of feline flatulence

An orange cat's butt behind a white garden fence
ason Leung / Unsplash

Flatulence is caused by a release of built-up air in the digestive tract. This can happen for a number of reasons, most of which are nothing to worry about. However, excessive flatulence or sudden, severe changes in your kitty’s digestive health are worth keeping an eye on. Most of the time, however, you’ll be dealing with one of these minor, fixable problems.

Swallowing too much air

If you’ve ever found yourself hiccupping, burping, or experiencing gas after a meal, you can probably relate to your cat’s situation. Many felines get the toots after swallowing air while eating, which is often the result of overeating or eating too fast. To combat this, you can try feeding your cat in a specially designed slow-feeder bowl to increase the time between each bite. If you have multiple cats that eat at the same time or share a food bowl, try feeding each cat in separate rooms to ensure no one feels pressured to eat quickly.

Food allergies or food poisoning can cause digestive issues

Another common (and predictable) cause of gas is a reaction to food. Whether the food was spoiled or was something that your cat was allergic to, it doesn’t take long before digestive symptoms, like bloating and gas, can occur. This may happen more frequently if your feline friend is an outdoor cat that brings home “gifts” or hunts while they’re out.

Even environmental allergies can cause flatulence

It makes sense that food allergies can cause cats to pass gas, but did you know that environmental allergies can do the same thing? It’s true! If your cat grooms themselves while exposed to an allergen like fleas or pollen, they can end up with some intestinal upset. Skin problems may not be the first thing you’d consider when a cat has gas, but it could be a clue if everything else seems normal.

Your cat may be tooting after eating people food

Stomach upset can happen for a number of different reasons, including when your cat eats something they shouldn’t have. If your cat is known for being naughty or stealing a snack, this just may be the case. However, this can also happen if you’ve offered your pet a bite of people food, no matter how bland and safe the ingredients may be. Some cats are simply extra sensitive to ingredients, while others may be struggling with the sudden change in diet.

Gas can be a sign you need to change your cat’s diet

If your cat is chronically gassy, you might want to take a closer look at their diet. Occasional gas is totally normal, but if it’s a frequent problem that causes your cat irritation or discomfort, you’ll want to think about changing things up. A bland diet of chicken or fish with rice or potatoes can be helpful when your cat is dealing with major problems, but a veterinarian will be your best resource when finding the right cat food to switch your kitty to for the long term. Gradual diet changes can help prevent extra gas and stomach upset, so be sure to give it time.

Rarely, gas can be a sign of intestinal parasites

Although the vast majority of flatulence cases are nothing to worry about, a small number of cases are caused by something more serious, like intestinal parasites. Tritrichomonas foetus, specifically, is a parasite that causes stinky gas, and, in later stages, diarrhea. It can be treated with veterinary intervention and is most common in young cats from multi-pet households, especially kittens. If there are any clues that lead you to believe a parasite may be behind your cat’s gas, you’ll need to visit the vet to set up your furry friend with the best medication. Diarrhea can leave a pet dehydrated, too, so don’t waste time getting your kitty the help they need.

If the only symptom you’re noticing is your cat’s farts themselves, you may not need to see a vet. Some rest, water, and a bland diet can do wonders in most situations, but if things don’t resolve, calling the vet is never a bad idea. If anything, it will help your cat feel better even quicker.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabrielle LaFrank
Gabrielle LaFrank has written for sites such as Psych2Go, Elite Daily, and, currently, PawTracks. When she's not writing, you…
Why cats arch their backs (it’s not always aggression)
There are several reasons for this normal cat behavior
Tabby cat arching their back

Cat owners and non-owners alike have seen the famous Halloween symbol of a black cat with their back arched and hairs raised. The accompanying yowl can be heard in just about every Halloween movie ever made, but it's entirely different when a cat arches their back in real life. In books and movies, though, cats only seem to arch their backs out of aggression or fear. It's almost never a good thing!

However, a cat's arched back can mean many different things. True, it can be a fear reaction or an attempt at threatening another cat, but it can also be a reaction to completely normal, nonchalant things. These are the most common reasons why a cat might arch their back.
A cat's arched back can be a sign of aggression or defensiveness

Read more
Can cats see in the dark? We separate fact from fiction
Cats have night vision far superior than our own, but they still need light to see
A cat stares into the camera

When something goes bump in the night, you might wake up in a panic, only to realize it's just the cat. These beasties are well known for being up and about in the wee hours of the morning, ready to play, hunt, and eat. While it's true that cats love nighttime, they aren't actually nocturnal. Instead, they exist in an in-between state as crepuscular, meaning your feline will love dusk and dawn most. So, if they aren't actually night owls, can cats see in the dark? We break down what cat vision really looks like.
Can cats see in the dark?

Almost all of us can see something in the dark, but night vision varies considerably among different animals. Owls have particularly good night vision, while humans less so. Cats see about six times better than people at night, which helps them hunt successfully at twilight, in the wild, or from your backyard. But it's inaccurate to say they can see in pure darkness. Instead, kitties have special eyes that allow them to observe a lot more in low light. These are the three main ways cats see better at night.
Smart design
Cat eyes look totally different from human ones, and they are. Feline orbs have special qualities designed to help them hunt in near darkness, such as a curved cornea and large lens (we'll get into what's up with the pupils next). You may have heard of rods and cones, the parts of the eye that help us see light and color, among other things. Our furry friends have more rods and so see more light, and therefore, need less of it (by contrast, we have more cones and observe more colors). Lastly, cats have something called a tapetum that reflects light to the retina. While you may never have heard this term, you've definitely witnessed it in action — this is why cat eyes glow in the dark.
Pupil dilation
When the lights go off, our pupils get bigger, and it's the same with cats. However, our pet's pupils can go from a small vertical slit to a massive globe. As the eye grows larger, it does lose some clarity, otherwise you might expect to find your animal's eyes constantly at full blast. Generally, during the day, their pupils will show up as a thin line for maximum focus and then dilate as needed in dim-light situations. And the growth is an enormous difference, up to 300 times the size of their eye at its smallest.
Myopia
Myopia is the fancy word for near-sightedness or the ability to see up close but not far away. Many humans wear glasses to improve their vision, but unfortunately, cats don't ever see as well as we do at a distance. The little buds have a wider frame of vision, but everything would look a bit blurry if you adopted their eyes temporarily. In a competition for who can spot a tiny movement, like prey burrowing in the grass, the cat would win.
How cats see the world around us

Read more
Why do cats like boxes so much? It’s not just because they’re weird
Why are some cats obsessed with cardboard boxes?
Cat sitting inside of a cardboard box

Cat owners have all been there: You order your cat a new cat bed, cat tree, or other item that comes packed in a box. When you unpack the item, your cat inevitably plays with the box more than he uses the item that came with it. This adoration of boxes is plenty common in cats, but it also seems a little odd.

Boxes are basic; there's nothing especially exciting about them — or at least that's what you might think. To your cat, however, boxes are tempting for many reasons, and they're the perfect space to explore, sleep, and play in. But let's dive in deeper: Why do cats like boxes, exactly?

Read more