9 Reasons Why Does My Cat Keep Gagging?

Gagging in Cats

Why Does My Cat Keep Gagging? Gagging in cats is a reflexive action that involves opening the mouth and extending the neck in response to irritation in the throat or airways. Various factors, including foreign bodies, diseases, or excessive hairballs, can trigger this physical reaction. Unlike other symptoms, gagging is typically a sharp, sudden action that is noticeable. Sometimes due to this pets feel fever.

How Gagging Differs from Vomiting and Coughing

Gagging differs from vomiting because it usually doesn’t lead to throwing up. It happens when the muscles in the throat suddenly tighten. This is not the same as coughing when you forcefully push air out of your lungs to clear something that’s bothering your throat or airways. Gagging is more about getting rid of something irritating in the throat or higher up in the breathing passages. Different things usually cause vomiting and coughing and have varying signs of gagging.

why does my cat keep gagging but not throwing up
gagging cat


9 Reasons Why Your Cat Is Gagging


Hairballs are a frequent cause of gagging in cats. Typically, cats may need to gag multiple times to expel a hairball. If you observe your cat crouching low while coughing and shaking its head from side to side, it’s likely trying to eject a hairball. Some gagging is expected in these situations. However, excessive gagging or frequent hairball vomiting warrants a vet consultation. The vet may recommend a special diet or treatment to help manage hairballs.

Food Intolerance

Some cats might have sensitive stomachs due to food intolerances or allergies. If your cat is moderately to severely intolerant or allergic, it may gag and even vomit after eating foods it doesn’t agree with. In these cases, stopping the problematic food can often prevent gagging. However, if your cat frequently has these reactions, struggles with eating, or requires a special diet, it’s important to consult a veterinarian. A vet can help ensure your cat’s diet is still nutritionally balanced despite restrictions.

Ingestion Of Foreign Object

Getting a small foreign object, such as bones or thread in the gastrointestinal tract, is among the serious causes of gagging in cats. This mistake can happen every time your cat and someone else’s pets are in the same place, and the person’s cats try to eat the treats and food close to your cats. These ingestible objects or items easily get stuck in your cat’s esophagus, stomach, or intestines. The rubbles may be unable to filter the foreign material, which may end up in the nasal passage, causing sneezing and airway obstruction, making breathing difficult.

Upset Stomach

There is a chance that cats will gag because their food makes their stomachs upset. Your cat can vomit and find breathing difficult if something in his stomach causes him to vomit or drool. Nausea can be a warning sign of an ongoing disease or illness. It could be that they have issues with their nausea. To be the pet of a particular cat, usually pay attention to what food they or she is prone to. Once the cat starts to be nauseated, they will experience rib pressure, which will cause gagging.

The cat might appear to be breathing without alarm but frequently experiencing gag reflexes. This might be because the cat has something stuck in their throat, stomach, or intestines. Besides, taking any of these by the mouth in a foreign object is an emergency and hence must be treated by a vet in due time.


Allergies may sometimes manifest in repeated gagging in cats. Severe enough post-nasal drip that irritates the throat to the extent that swallowing is not possible triggers gagging in cats. The cats may choke if they try to vomit due to common symptoms of allergies, such as stuffy noses or other symptoms.

If you have a moderate to severe allergy, visit a vet and discuss long-term maintenance of the allergy and the care of your pet. If your cat has trouble breathing accompanied by gagging, the fastest way is to go to an urgent care or emergency pet clinic.

why is my cat gagging


As humans, we have all experienced nausea as a result of anxiety. Cats also may have this experience. This is a form of anxiety that might cause choking and even puking in case of severe stress.

There are several things to consider if your cat has a gagging problem. Other anxiety symptoms may appear before you spot the problem, so it’s best to check the other signs to see if this is happening with your cat. When you make an appointment with your vet for this issue, discuss the most suitable treatment options and management for her anxiety well-being.

It might be a strong gagging followed by vomiting also means a more dangerous systemic illness. The underlying mechanisms of these disease processes may result in hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, diabetes, or liver disorders. If your cat frequently gags, after which it vomits, it should be evaluated for an internal and systemic-related disease.


However, it is possible, which is way less likely than the other items on this list, and is related to a tumor compressing the throat or neck area. Such tumors can make eating difficult or even gagging for your twisted furry cat with each bite.

If you fully understand whether your cat has a tumor, see your vet for the examination anyway. If they diagnose the site as a tumor, the vet may recommend a biopsy to determine the type of tumor. Based on the histopathological results, the veterinarian can help you with an appropriate pro wedge to cure or stop the condition.

Also Read:

Shedding in cats

Heart Disease

Sometimes, when cats struggle with heart disease, they will throw up. Cardiomyopathy is the most common cardiac disorder caused by metabolic diseases in cats. In cats, heart disease leads to gagging. undefined

  • Coughing
  • Lack of energy
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Fast breathing
  • Regularly elevated heart rate

If you believe that your cat has a heart disorder, take them to the vet as soon as possible. Certain illnesses can repeatedly lead to a cat retching, and heart disease is one of them.

Kidney or Liver Disease

Age-related kidney diseases are found in older cats often. Whether this is true or indirectly associated with cogitations like urinary infections will be assessed. These can be due to liver disease. There are some other symptoms of liver disease in cats: There are some other symptoms of liver disease in cats:

  • Lack of energy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Discoloration of the skin and eyes
  • Bloated abdomen

It should be emphasized that cats gagging isn’t always indicative of a life-threatening illness. If they are gagging and take these signs seriously, they are probably sick and need to seek veterinary within an emergency time frame.

Symptoms of Gagging in cats:

Here are the symptoms of gagging in cats, described:

  1. Sudden opening of the mouth.
  2. Loud gagging sounds.
  3. Stretching the neck out long.
  4. Frequent swallowing or licking lips.
  5. A lot of drooling.
  6. Foam around the mouth.

what makes cats gag

 What tests are required to diagnose Gagging in cats?

For diagnosing the cause of gagging in cats, veterinarians typically use a combination of tests. Here are some common diagnostic tests:

  1. Physical Examination: A thorough check-up to assess the overall health and to look for any signs of discomfort or illness.
  2. X-rays: Radiographs can help identify foreign objects, tumors, or structural abnormalities in the throat, neck, or chest.
  3. Blood Tests: These can determine if there’s an underlying infection, inflammation, or other medical conditions affecting the cat.
  4. Endoscopy: A small camera is inserted into the throat to inspect the esophagus, stomach visually, and upper airway for irritation, blockages, or disease.
  5. Ultrasound: This imaging test is used to better look at the cat’s internal organs and to check for masses or abnormalities that might not appear on an X-ray.
  6. Fecal Examination: To rule out parasites that could be causing irritation or disease leading to gagging symptoms.


To help prevent gagging in cats, consider these tips:

  1. Regular Grooming: Brush your cat frequently to reduce the amount of hair they ingest during self-grooming, which can help prevent hairballs that might cause gagging.
  2. Proper Diet: Feed your cat high-quality food for digestive health. Some cat foods are specifically formulated to reduce hairballs and digestive issues.
  3. Avoid Small Objects: Keep small items like toys, strings, and rubber bands out of reach to prevent your cat from swallowing them, which could lead to gagging.
  4. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Ensure your cat has routine check-ups to catch and treat any health issues early before they can cause gagging.
  5. Hydration: Encourage your cat to drink plenty of water. Hydration helps maintain digestive health and can prevent hairballs.
  6. Safe Environment: Maintain a safe and clean living environment for your cat by removing potential irritants like smoke, chemical fumes, and dusty areas.


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