Flatulence (Passing Gas) in Cats

Cats who frequently pass gas can embarrass or distress their owners. Flatulence is caused by eating highly fermentable foods, such as beans, cauliflower, cabbage, and soybeans; drinking large quantities of milk; and swallowing large amounts of air during meals. Diets high in carbohydrates and fiber contribute to it. Flatulence also occurs with malabsorption. This is related to incomplete digestion of carbohydrates.

Treatment: It's important to first rule out any malabsorption syndrome. Change the cat's food to a highly digestible, low-fiber diet, and avoid giving table scraps. If dietary manipulation fails to control the problem, switch from commercial food to a highly digestible prescription diet, such as Science Diet i/d or one of the diets for food allergy or intolerance. Low-carbohydrate diets are often helpful. Free feed to prevent greedy eating and gulping air, unless your cat is overweight. A medication combining simethicone and activated charcoal (Flatulex) is available for people and can be used in cats. This medication should not be given to cats with liver or kidney problems.

Overweight cats are more likely to suffer from flatulence, so work on weight control and provide plenty of exercise.

This article is excerpted from “Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook” with permission from Wiley Publishing, Inc.