Treating cat's vomit

Why is My Cat Retching

Max. D Gray
By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 16, 2017
Why is My Cat Retching

Cats are very peculiar beings, and they often make many guttural sounds that can worry us. When you hear your cat making retching sounds, it is logical to think that they have health problems. In general, hairballs and nausea are the cause behind these sounds. Hairballs do not cause significant risks if they can be expelled; however, vomiting itself may be related to inadequate food and other diseases or conditions.

If you're worried about your pet, read the following OneHowTo article to understand why is my cat retching.

You may also be interested in: Why is my Cat Fat?

Steps to follow:


Cats emit sounds very similar to retching frequently; they may consist only of a few gasps, and they may vary in severity, from a simple cough to a more serious case of choking.

Less intense retching occurs when a cat vomits a meal it has consumed, especially if it has eaten more than usual and the food has not sat well in its stomach, causing feelings of nausea and retching episodes.

When the retching lasts longer, it may be caused by hairballs. Sometimes they come up with food or liquids and occur after your cat's usual grooming. Hairballs are often expelled without any problem, but on occasion cats seem to retch as if they were choking on a foreign object.

Why is My Cat Retching - Step 1

Most cases of retching or guttural sounds from a cat are not serious. However, a cough may be a sign of asthma or an allergy, so take your cat to the vet for a thorough examination.

You should also know that the retching will not cause any damage to the respiratory system or the larynx. However, if your cat chokes very often or grooms its hair more often than usual, it may have a skin infection or rash. In that case, go to the vet for a full examination as they will be able to tell you what is wrong with your pet.

Why is My Cat Retching - Step 2

There are many misunderstandings regarding retching in cats. Hairballs are very common in cats and pose no health risk. Cats are very used to expel them - if your cat shows some difficulty, give it malt so that thick clumps of fur do not form.

Like humans, cats suffer from allergies, respiratory problems, lung issues, coughing and sometimes sneezes, but all within normal limits. If you want to know if your cat has serious problem related to retching, watch it as it sleeps. Look closely and compare when your cat is well and when it isn't in order to find the cause.

Why is My Cat Retching - Step 3

In any case, you should know how you attend your cat in case of emergency. If your cat starts gagging and choking as a result of a foreign object, you must carry out first aid immediately. A typical symptom of suffocation in cats is when they put their leg on their face when they try coughing up something and fail, or if they have noticeable great difficulties in breathing. Practicing the Heimlich maneuver will remove anything that is stuck in your cat's throat. If it does not spit out the object, you have to go immediately to the vet.

If your cat is very prone to hairballs, your veterinarian will recommend a remedy to reduce that likelihood and avoid choking. Brush your cat's fur to reduce the amount of hair it swallows. Another thing you can do to prevent choking is to remove all the little things that your cat may swallow.


These are some possible answers to why is my cat retching. If they do not seem to fit your cat's situation, do go to the vet. If your cat is retching as it normally does, just make sure you follow our advice by brushing it and watching it closely.

If you want to read similar articles to Why is My Cat Retching, we recommend you visit our Pets category.

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When my cat gags or retches, it is usually right after waking up. What I do is give her a tempting treat that I have broken up into small pieces. The worrisome condition immediately stops. This has not yet failed us. However, I worry about her when no one is at home.
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