We all know someone who thinks their poop doesn’t smell. But seriously, when is feline flatulence a concern? Our interpid Vet Dr. Goldstein answers this reader’s question. Have a question for Dr. G.? Please email it with Vet 101 in the subject line to our editor
Q: My healthy seven-year-old male cat has a stinky problem. He’s never had digestive problems before but is now farting several times a week (to my knowledge). He sleeps with me and to make matters worse, his long fur clings sometimes to bits of poo. He eats premium wet food and I’m open to any suggestions.
A: Nothing worse than being awakened by the digestive indiscretions of your feline bed buddy.
Here’s the thing – and we’ve discussed it before. There is no ideal food for every cat, regardless of what the label says. “Premium” is an advertising word. Just like with people, as cats age, their digestive system can change, and sometimes that means having to modify their diet a bit. Bacterial populations in the gut can change. The body’s ability to digest certain ingredients can change. Food allergies can develop with age. Medical conditions can develop (like IBD, and metabolic diseases). Some cats can even harbor intestinal parasites that can exert their effects later in life. All of these things can lead to the development of GI signs ranging from farting (we’re all friends here so it’s ok to say it!) to vomiting to diarrhea to weight loss. Also, keep in mind that sometimes pet food companies change their formulations without announcing it.
If your cat’s digestive habits have changed, it’s important to bring it to your vet’s attention. A few tests may need to be run to rule out medical conditions. And if everything’s in order, tweaking the diet may be warranted.
Oh, and just a word about the Klingons around Uranus (my nephew told me that one!)…make sure to keep your cat’s rear end as clear of fecal matter as possible. Stool has a high bacterial count, and any lingerers can potentially lead to skin and/or urinary tract infections. Remember: Cleanliness is next to Catliness!