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Why is My Cat Gurgling, Coughing, Gagging and When Should I See a Vet?


Dear VetBabble,

I have noticed that my cat is recently making a gurgling sound when she breathes. Furthermore, she coughs and acts like she’s gagging, but she does not produce anything. These symptoms have just started suddenly, and now she seems anxious. I would like to know what might be going on with her and how long I should wait before taking her to see a veterinarian?

Understanding Your Cat’s Breathing and Gagging Issues

Our feline friends can sometimes worry us with unfamiliar sounds and behaviors. In cases like these, it’s essential to know when it’s necessary to see a veterinarian and when your cat might just have a harmless condition. Gurgling sounds, coughing, and gagging can be alarming, but they might be due to something as simple as a hairball or a swallowed item. Alternatively, they could also indicate more serious medical issues, such as heart or lung problems. In this article, we will discuss some of the possible causes for these symptoms and when to seek veterinary care.

Potential Cause: Vomiting and Hairballs

A common reason for your cat’s gurgling, coughing, and gagging may be an attempt to expel a hairball or vomit. If your cat recently groomed herself excessively, there could be a buildup of hair that she is attempting to dislodge. Hairballs are quite common in cats, and you should know what to expect if your cat has one. For more information, you might want to check out Hairballs and Cats: What Should I Know?

Another related concern could be vomiting or a mild stomach upset. If your cat has ingested something she shouldn’t have, or if she has a sensitive stomach, it may manifest through the symptoms described. You can learn more about vomiting in cats and whether it is normal in this article: Why is My Cat Vomiting?

Potential Cause: Respiratory Issues or Flu

Your cat’s gurgling and coughing might be indicative of a respiratory issue or even the flu. It is possible for cats to get colds and respiratory infections just like humans. The symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, gagging, and even a runny nose. Discover more about when to worry about your cat’s congestion and how to identify a potential case of feline influenza in this helpful article: Does My cat have a flu?

When to Visit the Veterinarian

So how long should you wait before seeking veterinary care for your cat? If your cat is struggling to breathe and the symptoms have just appeared, it’s essential to take her to the vet immediately. There could be an item stuck in her throat or another urgent issue that requires immediate attention.

If the symptoms have been going on for a more extended period, such as hours or even days, you should also consider visiting the vet. They will be able to examine your cat, listen to her lung sounds, and potentially take X-rays to identify any underlying problems, such as heart or lung issues. Early detection and intervention can significantly improve your cat’s chances of recovery.

In conclusion, it’s essential to keep a watchful eye on your feline companion and monitor her symptoms. Consider the potential causes we’ve discussed, and don’t hesitate to visit your veterinarian if you are concerned. They are trained professionals who can assess your cat’s health and recommend appropriate treatment plans based on their findings.

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