Vet 101: What’s that Smell?

smell-fart-flatulence-LOL cat-vet 101 cat wisdom 101

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!

11 thoughts on “Vet 101: What’s that Smell?”

  1. I think the original joke that Dr. Goldstein is referring to is:

    Q: What do Star Trek and toilet paper have in common?

    A: They both go to Uranus to wipe out the Klingons.

    I only know this because I’m a big Star Trek fan.

  2. We absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Does one offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind creating a post or elaborating on a lot of the subjects you write related to here. Again, awesome web log!

  3. OMC!!!! Klingons around Uranus! I scared my poor cats nearly to death when I busted out laughing at this one! This is just one more example of why I adore Layla and this site.Oh yeah and the excellent information that we get here aside from the “wise cracks”…..Luvs and purrs Skeeter,Izzy and mom Kat >^OO^<

  4. By Golly, I DO have a farting problem…um…not me, my cat, Purrl. She’s about 2 years old. She sometimes farts when she jumps or if you pick her up around her middle. They are VERY stinky. She is so pretty and dainty…it’s hard to believe something so fowl…well, you get the picture. We feed her the best dry food we can find. (buffalo blue) Any advice?

  5. As an acupuncturist, flatulence is typically a sign of qi deficiency–which means that it can be the first sign of digestive changes when something is going on with the cat. As we age, all get more qi deficient (consider that death is probably the ultimate qi deficient state). So, as a cat ages, this means it will change in what it can handle as far as food. For cats, non cooked meat is probably a good start–the easiest food for humans from an acupuncturist’s standpoint is boiled meat and vegetables with the broth. And meat is important because it’s very tonifying.

  6. I think kittens can be the worst offenders…..there are times I have had a tiny kitten let one loose that could clear a room. And it can be high end food and just not agree with the cat. I am lucky the adults all do fine on the food I feed now!

  7. Fortunately Sammy doesn’t have that particular problem…at least YET…! But it’s good to know why it happens and ways to – er – um – DEAL with it.

    Pam (and Sam)

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