Cats that make hacking, retching, gagging and coughing noises

Should you be worried if your cat is making hacking gagging retching or coughing noises, but not bringing up a hairball?

QUESTION

Hi Dr Larry, I hope you are well. I wanted to ask you if it would be concerning if a cat constantly attempted to bring up a hairball but nothing ever comes up? My two cats are always 'choking' but I have never seen any evidence of hairballs. Should I be worried? Thanks, Tamaryn

ANSWER

If you kitty is making hacking, gagging, retching or coughing noises, it could be dangerous to that the cause is hairball.  Constant or excessive heaving or retching sounds may be as a result of many different medical conditions, some of them of extremely dangerous.

If hairball is the cause of these noises, then the offending hairball usually is vomited or regurgitated up within a few minutes. Occasionaly your kitty may need a few attempts to accomplish this .

Sometimes your cat may be unable to get rid of the hairball.  This may lead to intestinal obstruction, a rare but dangerous complication of hairball.

Some signs to look out for are:

  • reduced appetite,
  • listlessness,
  • constipation,
  • unkempt haircoat,
  • reduced activity and
  • irritability or depression. 

If your cat shows any of these symptoms, you should take her to your vet immediately. Gasterointestinal obstruction is a life threatening emergency

Coughing and gagging may be caused by many other conditions besides hairball.  Some of these condions include asthma, allergies, worms, respiratory infection, foreign bodies in the respiratory or gasterointestinal tract, and other gasterointestinal or respiratory problems.

       

It always advisable to have your cat checked up to for these conditions if they are exhibiting these signs. Remember early diagnosis and treatment increases the chances of your precious cat's condition being cured or controlled.

Dr Larry
Bruma Lake Veterinary Clinic


 

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