Why Is My Cat Gagging? How to Deal with It





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Robert Taylor

Is your cat gagging, and you’re wondering what’s causing it? You’re not alone. Many feline owners have been baffled by this seemingly odd behavior.

Our detailed article delves into common causes of cat gagging, such as hasty eating, foreign object ingestion, and more, while exploring when you should see it as an emergency.

Let’s discover how to keep our furry friends safe and happy!

Common Causes of Cat Gagging

Cat gagging can be caused by various factors, such as eating too quickly, accidental ingestion of foreign objects, exposure to toxic substances, nausea, and the formation of hairballs.

Common Causes of Cat Gagging
Common Causes of Cat Gagging

Eating Too Quickly

Rapid ingestion of food is a prevalent cause of cat gagging.

This hurried consumption does more harm than good as their bodies struggle to assimilate the swiftly ingested nourishment.

Feline eating behavior like this not only leads to discomfort but also brings on nausea, further aggravating the problem.

More often than not, gagging becomes a prominent symptom in such cases – an immediate telltale sign that they have been consuming food too speedily or excessively.

Regularly paced feeding could be vital in mitigating such instances of cat choking and ensuring healthier eating habits overall among our pet companions.

Accidental Swallowing of Foreign Objects

Cats may sometimes chew on non-food items out of curiosity, leading to accidentally swallowing foreign objects. This unusual behavior can risk causing gagging episodes in your furry friend.

A piece of string, tinsel from decorations, or a small toy are common culprits that cats tend to ingest. If ingested, these items can cause a partial obstruction within the throat, which often results in symptoms like hypersalivation and attempts at swallowing.

Swallowed foreign objects pose a real danger to cat health if not addressed promptly.

Once inside the body system, these unwanted intruders may lead to severe consequences such as internal injuries or blockages in the digestive tract — making an ordinary play session turn into an emergency veterinary visit quickly!

Ingesting Toxic Substances

Felines are naturally curious creatures, prone to ingesting harmful objects or materials around the house.

Ingesting toxins can trigger immediate retching and vomiting, one of many toxic ingestion symptoms in cats.

It’s paramount to note that depending on the toxicity level of the substance swallowed, it could lead to more severe health problems beyond gagging.


Nausea in cats is a common cause of gagging and can be a sign of an underlying illness or disease.

It often leads to symptoms like vomiting, drooling, and refusal to eat. Kidney disease is one such condition that can cause nausea in cats, especially in older felines.

If your cat is experiencing gagging along with lethargy and increased thirst, it could indicate kidney disease.

Regular check-ups and prompt medical attention are crucial for cats showing signs of gagging or other symptoms of illness.


When cats groom themselves, they ingest loose hair, which can accumulate in their stomachs over time. As the coat builds up, it becomes a clump or a hairball.

Cats often try to expel these hairballs by coughing or dry heaving, which can look like gagging.

While occasional hairballs are considered normal, excessive hairballs could indicate an underlying issue, such as food allergies or intestinal problems like inflammatory bowel disease.

Regular grooming and incorporating high-fiber diets can help prevent the formation of hairballs in cats with long and thick fur who are more prone to them.

The irritation caused by a hairball in their throat often triggers this reflex action from cats as they try to get rid of it.

Additionally, using wet wipes to remove excess fur from their coat can further prevent excessive hairball formation


Coughing in cats is often a sign of an inflammatory problem affecting the lower respiratory tract.

It can be caused by bronchitis, asthma, heart disease, or parasites. Common infectious causes include feline rhinotracheitis virus, Chlamydia infections, and feline calicivirus.

Unlike gagging, which comes from higher up in the throat (larynx), coughing originates deeper in the chest. Cats with chest tumors may also exhibit coughing.

What to Do if Your Cat is Gagging

Check the airways to see if anything obstructs your cat’s throat, and gently remove it if possible. Use a slow feeder to prevent your cat from eating too quickly, which can lead to gagging.

What to Do if Your Cat is Gagging
What to Do if Your Cat is Gagging

Watch for other signs of distress or illness, such as coughing or vomiting. Consider using hairball medications or feeding unique hairball food formulas to help alleviate any potential hairball issues.

If your cat’s gagging persists or worsens, take a video of its symptoms and seek veterinary care immediately for further evaluation and treatment options.

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If your cat is experiencing gagging episodes, taking a video of these incidents can be beneficial. Providing visual evidence to your veterinarian can help diagnose and treat.

By capturing a video, you can accurately show the frequency and intensity of the gagging episodes, helping your vet assess the severity of the situation.

In The Nutshell

In conclusion, if you’re wondering why your cat is gagging, there could be several reasons. It might be as simple as eating too quickly or as severe as an underlying health issue.

Pay attention to their behavior, monitor their symptoms, and don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care if needed. A happy and healthy kitty is worth it!


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Robert Taylor

I love cats, I have more than 10 years of experience in raising cats. I want to share with everyone useful knowledge about cats.

Robert Taylor