Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My 8-month-old neutered male, Gus, has some seriously stinky silent poots. It seems he farts when startled, gets picked up, or jumps somewhere. He eats the same food as his 2-year-old neutered male buddy. Is there a product I can use to help with this? Or is the same food to both cats to blame? His poo is almost never lightweight and hard as its supposed to be. The older cat’s poo is like it should be. Thanks a bunch.
Siouxsie: The most common reason cats get gas is because something in the food they’re eating disagrees with them. If a cat regularly has gas, especially when it’s accompanied by soft stools, the problem could be related to food intolerances — sometimes known incorrectly as food allergies.
Thomas: Have you changed cat foods lately? Did Gus’s gas start after the change? If so, there may be something in the new food that’s hard for his body to digest.
Siouxsie: It’s entirely possible for one cat to handle a food just fine and the other to suffer like crazy.
Thomas: That happened to me. Siouxsie and Dahlia never had any trouble with whatever food Mama gave us, but no matter what she did, I always had a stomachache and the runs. When Mama switched to grain-free foods and changed our cat litter to a product that wasn’t grain-based, my tummy got better within a day!
Siouxsie: According to the authors of the Cat Owner’s Home Veterinary Handbook, gas is caused by eating highly fermentable foods like beans, cauliflower, cabbage and soybeans; drinking large amounts of milk; and swallowing a lot of air while eating (for example, if your cat gulps his food). They also say that diets high in carbohydrates and fiber contribute to gas.
Thomas: The first thing we’d recommend is a trip to the vet. Bring a fresh stool sample with you so your vet can see what Gus’s poo looks like and test it for worms or other parasites.
Siouxsie: In some cases, gas can be related to malabsorption syndrome, which is actually a symptom of other illnesses. This is another reason why it’s important to take Gus in for a checkup.
Thomas: If you did change foods recently, switch back to your old brand and see if that takes care of Gus’s gas.
Siouxsie: If you’ve been feeding the same stuff all along, particularly if it’s dry food, think about switching to canned food to see if eating fewer carbohydrates helps Gus’s guts to calm down.
Thomas: There is an anti-gas medication for humans containing simethicone and activated charcoal which, although it’s not made for cats, can be used on cats under a veterinarian’s guidance.
Siouxsie: But keep in mind that giving your cat an anti-gas medication is only treating the symptom, and the best thing you can do is find out what’s at the root of Gus’s flatulence problem and treat that.
Thomas: Good luck, kb1. Please let us know how things turn out.