Kidney Or Liver Disease
If your cat experiences gagging along with vomiting, lethargy, itching, and increased thirst, he may be suffering from kidney disease. This is common in older cats, but it can occur at any time in a cats life and may or may not be related to an underlying condition such as urinary tract infections.
Cats with a bloated abdomen, lethargy, discoloration of the skin and eyes, and excessive thirst that goes along with gagging and vomiting may have liver disease. This can be caused by ingesting a toxin, but it is most commonly a disease of old age in cats.
Another potential cause for cat gagging can be Thyroid disease. Hyperthyroidism is very common and can lead to chronic and persistent gagging and vomiting.
Hack Gag Cough: Tips To Control Cat Hairballs
Though famous felines from Garfield to Puss in Boots get them, hairballs are no joke. Commonly a problem for cats, rabbits and even cattle, hairballs may be a symptom of more significant illnesses or cause issues themselves. National Hairball Awareness Day, on April 29, aims to educate pet parents on how to prevent hairballs and ensure their animals health and happiness.
A hairball is a collection of hair or fur that gathers in the stomach, often in a cylinder shape. The definition seems simple enough, but hairballs can get a lot more complicated. In light of the annual awareness initiative, , a Primary Care clinician and clinical instructor at UW Veterinary Care, answered some questions to clear up misconceptions.
Hairball Treatment For Cats
When your cat has hairballs, its common to wonder what treatments are available. There are lots of home remedies online, especially for oils and lubricants. However, we dont advise trying these.
You can buy a specialist cat hairball treatment paste that contains a laxative and lubricant to help them pass through the digestive system. But this is not generally needed. If you do use it, follow the instructions to the letter.
One particularly effective treatment is hairball cat food. These kibble-based products contain lots of fibre to help take excess fur through the digestive system. They also contain vitamins and minerals to keep your cats fur in good condition and reduce hair loss.
Finally, vets can prescribe treatments for hairballs in severe cases.
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Online Vet & Pet Emergency Fund
When it comes to pet behaviors such as cat gagging, online veterinary services offer a lot of benefits for both pets and pet parents. Take Petcubes Online Vet service for instance.
The 24/7 access to certified veterinarians allows pet parents to ask about anything regarding their pet from food recommendations to help prevent hairballs to what to do in case of an emergency where their pet is continuously gagging and in distress.
With the support of certified vets anytime and anywhere, pet parents get to have peace of mind regarding their pets health.
Apart from online vet services, pet emergency funds are also a smart and worry-free way to secure your pets health. For example, with Petcubes Pet Emergency Fund, you get access to an emergency fund for all of your pets at a fraction of the cost compared to pet insurance.
At the same time, the service also includes access to the same companys Online Vet service where you can talk to certified vets anytime and anywhere. With Online Vet and Pet Emergency Fund, you are assured of your pets well-being.
What Should You Do If You Find Your Pet Is Exhibiting Signs Of Having A Hairball
First, pet parents should be sure that their cat is truly experiencing a hairball. Cats who are hacking without producing any material may mistakenly be thought to have hairballs, but could actually have a cough and underlying respiratory disease, like feline asthma.
Families should seek veterinary care if their cat is experiencing unproductive hacking. If possible, try to obtain a video of your cats hacking to bring with you to your visit. This can help us to understand the behavior you are seeing at home.
Concerning signs to watch for are frequent hairballs, or a change in frequency of hairballs, low appetite, lethargy, diarrhea, bald spots or red skin. These can signal that your cat is experiencing gastrointestinal illness or dermatologic disease and needs additional veterinary diagnostics and treatment. If your cat is otherwise well and hairballs are rare, you may wish to try some over-the-counter remedies and monitor them at home.
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How Do You Prevent Your Cat From Choking
Ideally, you want to keep choking hazards out of your cat’s environment. Cats are drawn to chewing on tinsel, string, yarn, and hair ties. Make sure your cat doesn’t have access to string-like objects and toys that are small enough to be swallowed.
When it comes to feeding, Simpson recommends using a food puzzle or a slow-feed bowl for dry food. This will slow down cats who tend to quickly gulp food. Also, never give bones to your cat, since slivers of bone can get stuck in their airway.
Administering medication can also create a choking hazard, Simpson says. “Be sure to follow a pill with a syringe of water to prevent it from getting stuck in the esophagus. If your cat is struggling, stop trying to give medication because this could accidentally cause the cat to cough and inhale the pill.”
Whether your cat is choking or coughing, both require veterinary attention. But choking is an emergency. When in doubt, head to or contact your veterinarian immediately. Better to assume that it’s an emergency than to wait until it’s too late.
Cat Sneezing With Other Symptoms
Cat sneezing in conjunction with other signs is common but doesnt always help us narrow down the cause.
Cat sneezing along with wheezing can suggest concurrent lower respiratory disease.
If a cat is coughing and sneezing, it typically means that its primarily an upper respiratory process with postnasal drip irritating the throat.
If you see nasal discharge, especially with blood or pus-colored mucus, make a note or take a picture before cleaning your cats face, as this can help narrow down the causes. Be sure to clean your cats face, as it causes discomfort for your cat.
Chronic nosebleeds raise the concern for cancer, especially in older cats, but this association is not definitive.
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What If My Cat Keeps Sneezing
It depends on the cause. If it is an isolated episode of cat sneezing, the issue is likely to go away and not return.
If your cat starts sneezing suddenly and it lasts several days, there is a possibility that the issue will resolve, but treatment will likely be needed.
If your cat suffers from chronic sneezing, however, they will likely be sneezing intermittently for the rest of their life. Persistence of sneezing to a chronic state substantially raises the odds that an underlying disease process is at play.
How To Help A Cat With Hairballs
Many cat owners are concerned when a cat has hairballs because it seems like they are choking or struggling. Whats the best way for owners to help a cat throw up a hairball?
Although its difficult to watch your cat struggling and gagging, the best thing you can do to help them with hairballs is to give them plenty of space. Its perfectly normal for your cat to gag several times to be able to vomit the hairball.
The key is not to get too distressed and just keep an eye on your cat to ensure they bring up the hairball and then stop gagging.
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What Is Gagging In Cats
Gagging is an action which is a result of a reflex motion, meaning it is not usually a voluntary action. When muscles contract at the back of the cat’s throat, they gag as a reaction. Known as the pharyngeal reflex or gag reflex, it helps prevent choking in cats since the reflex can expel objects which might otherwise be stuck in their esophagus. We can see this when a cat eats too fast as the reflex acts when too much food is trying to pass the back of the throat.
Although retching might prevent objects going down the back of the throat , it can also cause them to be expelled outward. This often occurs when the respiratory system is in jeopardy. If food or other objects are likely to go into the respiratory system, the gag reflex may be triggered and the objects expelled.
While the gag reflex usually enacts because of stimulation of the nerves in the pharynx area, it may also happen when nothing appears to be there. This can be the case if the cat is sick as bacterial proliferation might trigger the gag reflex. For more information on why a cat keeps gagging, which show you the common cause below.
Ingestion Of Foreign Object
Cats are often prone to chewing on and swallowing items they should not. Because of this, they may sometimes ingest foreign objects such as pieces of string, fabric, plastic, and other items. In some cases, these pass normally in the cats stool, but in others, they may cause an obstruction that can lead to gagging.
If an item is stuck in your cats throat, he may gag without ever vomiting. If there is a blockage in his digestive system, he may gag and vomit frequently and may have a swollen abdomen as well. Take him to the vet immediately if this occurs.
Ingesting a foreign object also has the potential to cause a partial obstruction, or a linear foreign body, which can do extensive harm to your cat over time. When this happens, your cat may still be eating and drinking, but vomit or gag over time.
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What Can I Do
Sometimes a cat choking incident is caused by a hairball that she can’t expel, but accidents are more often the result of an object lodged in her throat. If you see your cat choking, try to remain as calm as possible while you determine whether or not her airway is really blocked. If it’s simply a hairball, she will have it out in a few seconds. If there is an obstruction, you will need to follow two steps.
How Do You Prevent Hairballs
Hairballs usually occur either because cats are ingesting an excessive amount of hair or because their gastrointestinal tract is not moving hair through the body normally. For some cats, this means that we need to treat an underlying condition that is causing overgrooming, such as itchy skin, or causing gastrointestinal symptoms, for example, inflammatory bowel disease.
Helping cats groom with regular brushing or routine visits to a professional groomer can decrease hairballs for otherwise healthy cats. Long-haired cats may especially benefit from this. Some cats will also respond well to over-the-counter diets marketed for hairball prevention or petroleum-based supplements designed to help hair move through the GI tract more readily.
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My Cat Is Coughing And Gagging
See files for Cats
Although they present as similar symptoms, coughing and gagging in cats are not the same. Coughing is a sharp sudden expulsion of air form the lungs, whereas gagging is more of a choking sound. However, when the two present at the same time, it can help us to better determine the underlying cause. Some of these are short acute problems which will pass promptly. Others are symptoms of a pathology which may require a prolonged treatment.
At AnimalWised, we look at the possible reasons why my cat is coughing and gagging. We discover the most common causes and see what treatment options are available. Since some of these causes can be severe, we must stress the importance of going to a veterinarian for diagnosis.
Is My Cat Coughing Or Gagging
This is an excellent question. Not only do pet parents struggle to decipher a cough vs a gag vs a retch, so do many vets. It is not always immediately obvious.
Coughs are actually not that common in felines. They are a sudden expulsion of air. Coughs are generally associated with asthma or other lower airways disease. A cough should not usually cause drooling or nausea.
It is a great idea to take a video of your cat when they are making the noise, so you can show it to your vet. Many vets will be able to assess these videos via email remotely for all those cats who hate coming to the vet!
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The Water Tastes Strange
Cats, like most animals, are pretty sensitive to temperatures, tastes, and smells. You might notice your cats a bit picky about their food or water. Exposure to certain flavors and textures of food early in life can shape your cats dietary preferences later on. The material of a cats bowl can also affect the taste of their water, so if you notice your cat isnt drinking enough, you might want to offer them a few different dishes to see what they like best.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
Upper respiratory tract infections in cats are relatively common. The term refers to a group of infections which can affect the upper respiratory system, either completely or in part. Thanks to the development and utilization of vaccination programs, their incidence is decreasing. The causative agents of these infections are usually viral, bacterial or fungal. They cause various symptoms, but coughing and gagging are common.
Some of the most common causes of coughing and gagging cats are due to feline rhinotracheitis virus, feline calicivirus and Chlamydia infections. URIs in cats are commonly highly contagious and are transmitted between cats via secretions. Often this is in the form of mucus or purulent discharge. When such secretions are expelled they can cause gagging or agitation leading to coughing. Since cats groom each other, bacteria and viruses can spread easily.
Young kittens are more likely to develop a URI, as are those with feline leukemia virus or any reason for immunodeficiency. Cats going through stressful situations can have lower defences against infections and upper respiratory tract infections can spread easily through animal shelters or places where cats live in large groups. Infections from various causative agents can affect a cat at the same time, such as when a viral infection leads to a secondary bacterial infection.
Along with coughing and gaging, upper respiratory tract infections in cats can lead to the following symptoms:
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Are Cat Hairballs Normal
Many cat owners find it very difficult and distressing to hear their cats gagging and retching, and they start to wonder if there is anything they should be worrying about. This self-grooming is completely normal and cats should be doing it to keep their fur in good condition.
Most individual hairs will pass through the cats digestive system as normal, but sometimes they can form clumps which begin to accumulate in the stomach. Cats try and vomit them up to prevent them going into the intestine and causing a blockage. Dont be worried if you see your cat stretch their neck, dry retch and expel a hairball before calmly walking away. It can be distressing to watch this, but dont worry its normal.
How Can I Tell If My Feline Is Coughing Or Gagging
Coughing and gagging may seem very similar, although they are two different actions. Coughing is a strong and abrupt ejection of air from the lungs, but gagging presents as a choking sound. When a cat coughs, it is a symptom of a disease or medical issue.
It may require immediate treatment, or it could be something simple that can be managed with treatment or a slight change in your cats food or routine. Coughing is an action that is employed to eliminate fluids, foreign objects, or little particles from the airways. Coughing is a protrusion of air that helps to dislodge unwelcome substances.
However, if your cat is gagging, it will often sound like choking or retching. It may be a symptom of another problem, and it usually necessitates urgent care. If something is touching the back of your cats throat, it typically means that something is blocking the airway rather than simply irritating it.
Obstruction is a dangerous situation that requires a trip to the emergency vet. Therefore, you need to understand the difference between coughing and gagging.
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Questions To Ask Yourself If Your Cat Is Gagging
You might be wondering how you are supposed to figure out what is causing your cat to gag if there wasn’t an explicit situation that could’ve caused the problem. That is a great question, and it can be very hard to know where to start. The best way to figure out what the cause of your cat’s gagging is to think back to the moments before the gagging started, and go from there.
Here are a few questions about various scenarios that might be relevant to your situationâ¦
- Does your cat spend a lot of time outdoors?
- If so, is it at all possible that your cat swallowed a spider, insect, or something else that could be potentially dangerous?
- Are your personal garbage cans accessible to your cat?
- What are the chances your cat got into the trash bags and ate something he or she should not have eaten?
- Has your cat ingested any household cleaning supplies?
- Is it possible that your kitten brushed up against something while outside and ended up swallowing it when grooming?
- Is a certain food that you feed your cat causing the gagging issues?
- Is your kitty cat trying to eat too much food in each bite?
- Did something fall into the dry food dish or the water bowl, causing your cat to be negatively affected?
- Could the gagging be a result of your cat having a cold?
- Did your cat get wet and not dry off completely?
- Does your cat have any bite marks, potentially from a wild animal?
- Was your feline friend roaming around in places where mold and mildew might be present?