Cat Gas

Cat Gas

by Michael
(London, UK)

I know it is completely off topic but it does combine a cat and the word

I know it is completely off topic but it does combine a cat and the word

Cat gas sounds like a rather crude title for a delicate subject. Cat flatulence is a bit more scientific - or passing wind! The reason that I am writing this is because my elderly lady cat, Binnie is passing gas a little more than normal. The first point is that it is normal to pass wind or gas, call it what you like. It is when it is at an abnormal level that we have to make decisions. And we have to decide what abnormal means too. If we know our cat well, and all good cat caretakers know their cats very well, we are able to make that decision. I also think that we should look at the problem of cat gas from the standpoint of the cat, as a medical issue, rather than being embarrassed. Our embarrassment (if we are embarrassed and we shouldn't be) is less important than our cat's health. That is the way I see it.

Cat is healthy

O.K., we have decided that our cat is passing too much wind. The first step should be the commonsense and simple one; asking, "is our cat healthy"? How do we know? Once again, if we know our cat we know when something is wrong and if we do our cat's litter once or twice a day we know if he or she is passing good stools. If our cat is eating and going to the toilet is a nice, normal and regular way plus he or she looks and acts well, it is odds on that she is well.

In the case of my cat, despite being old she is healthy, in my judgment. On that basis the cause of cat gas will be dietary and/or swallowing large amounts of air while eating. It may also be due to lifestyle change; being less active, being static all day. Perhaps I should play with her more? There may be a bit of anxiety too, due to the presence of a new cat, Charlie. Although anxiety and lack of activity are not listed by experts as reasons for cat gas, I think from a commonsense point of view that they may be compounding factors.

To limit the swallowing of air while eating, the advice is to allow "free feeding" to "prevent greedy eating and air gulping"1. I already allow free feeding so I can't improve on that. The next possible reason for cat gas is diet. "Diets high in carbohydrates and fiber contribute to it." The obvious decision, therefore, is a change in diet. A highly digestible prescription diet is recommended, such as Hill's c/d. Checking the cat food and making comparisons on fiber and carbohydrate content may also lead to a better choice of food but in my experience commercial cat food is all very similar at the same price range. Incidentally, I try and work out the best USA dry and wet cat foods on these pages:

The best cat food must be a decent start to stopping cat gas. For my part, I am going to change my cat's dry cat food diet and see what happens.


People are sometimes prescribed medication for their flatulence.  It combines simethicone and activated charcoal. In the USA it is appropriately called "Flatulex". It can be used for cats1. The advice is that a cat's dose is one-half tablet one or twice a day after meals, ideally. You might like to check with your vet.

Cat is ill

If your cat is thin and malnourished, passes a large amount of soft stool (that contains undigested fat and is rancid) and has a good appetite, the problem may be malabsorption syndrome. Cat gas can be a symptom of this illness, which is the failure of the cat to properly digest and/or absorb food in the small intestine. Digestive enzymes and a healthy bowel lining are needed to digest and absorb food. A lack of enzymes can be due to liver and/or pancreatic disease. Feline Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can can damage the intestine wall and reduce absorption. Cancer can also prevent proper absorption.

A vet's diagnosis is obviously required in this situation. A low-fat diet is indicated such as boiled chicken or lamb. I actually feed mine microwaved fish which is similar although she doesn't have symptoms of malabsorption syndrome. Hills do prescription diets and supplemental B-complex and "fat soluble vitamins should be given"1.

Cat gas - Notes:

1. Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook (Howell reference books). This is the premier book on cat health written by experienced vets. I recommend it highly.
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