Cat Gagging: Understanding the Causes and How to Help

Video cat gagging at food

Have you ever witnessed your feline friend gagging? Are you curious about what might be causing this behavior and how you can assist them? You’re not alone. Many cat owners have pondered the same questions.

In this article, we’ll delve into the most common causes of cat gagging and provide you with helpful solutions. By exploring this information, you can gain a better understanding of this perplexing cat behavior.

Causes of Cat Gagging

Eating Too Quickly

If your cat frequently gags after meals, it could be due to eating too much or too fast. Some cats become anxious around food and tend to devour it in a hurry, which can lead to gagging.

Accidentally Swallowing a Foreign Object

Cats sometimes ingest objects they shouldn’t. String is one of the most common culprits, and cats are notorious for eating string and similar materials found on the floor. It’s important to note that you should never attempt to remove a foreign object from your cat’s throat or rectum, as this could cause intestinal damage.

Ingestion of Toxic Substances

Gagging can occur if your cat ingests toxic substances like household cleaners or certain types of houseplants. In some cases, this may be the extent of the reaction. However, it could also be the beginning of a more serious adverse reaction, warranting a trip to the emergency vet.


Although cats don’t gag from nausea as frequently as humans do, it is still possible. If your cat frequently gags and vomits, they may be experiencing bouts of nausea. Nausea can be triggered by certain medications, flea treatments, or underlying illnesses.

See also  The Ultimate Guide to Feeding Your Cat


Hairballs are the most common cause of gagging in cats. Typically, this type of gagging is accompanied by your cat expelling a hairball. It may take a few attempts before they are able to fully cough it up. While hairballs are not the same as vomit, they can sometimes be hidden within vomit. Frequent hairballs could indicate food allergies, intestinal issues, hormonal imbalances, or other underlying illnesses.


Coughing in cats is often mistaken for gagging. If your cat appears to be unsuccessfully trying to expel a hairball, it might actually be coughing. Coughing in cats can be a symptom of asthma or other respiratory conditions.

What to Do if Your Cat is Gagging

Check the Airways

If your cat is gagging without expelling hairballs, it’s important to check their airways for foreign objects. If you do spot something, refrain from attempting to remove it yourself and contact the emergency vet. Trying to remove an ingested foreign object could potentially cause more harm than good.

Use a Slow Feeder

A slow feeder, such as a food dish with raised sections that create a maze-like shape, can help cats slow down and eat their food more carefully, discouraging rapid consumption.

Watch for Other Signs

If you suspect that your cat has ingested something toxic or is unwell, keep a close eye out for additional symptoms. If you’re concerned about their well-being, consult your vet. They will be able to provide guidance and determine if further medical attention is necessary.

Use Hairball Medications

For cats with frequent hairballs, hairball medications can be beneficial. These medicines, available at pet stores, usually come in gel-like textures similar to Vaseline. Cats typically find them palatable due to their strong flavors.

See also  Hyperadrenocorticism: Understanding Cushing's Disease in Cats

Feed Hairball Food Formulas

You can explore various hairball remedy or preventative food formulas to find one that suits your cat’s taste. Keep in mind that some cats may be pickier than others, so it may take time to discover the right formula. Introduce new options gradually to avoid disrupting your cat’s sensitive digestive system.

Take a Video

If you’re unsure about your cat’s behavior and they aren’t in distress, consider recording a video. This visual aid can assist both you and your vet in making accurate diagnoses or determining the next steps for treatment.

Visit the Vet

When your cat’s gagging becomes more frequent, it’s crucial to schedule a visit to the vet. The vet will thoroughly examine your cat and identify any underlying causes of the problem. If you suspect your cat has ingested something toxic, has a foreign object lodged in their throat, or is in distress, it is best to seek immediate attention from an emergency vet.

VEG is Here if Your Cat Keeps Gagging

By familiarizing yourself with the information provided, you’ll be better equipped to identify the root cause of your cat’s gagging. Discuss your concerns with your vet to gain a deeper understanding of potential causes and suitable treatments. Together, you and your vet can find the right solution for your furry companion.

Remember, occasional gagging in cats is usually not a cause for major concern. However, if it occurs frequently or your cat seems distressed during these episodes, it may indicate a more serious issue requiring emergency care. For personalized advice tailored to your cat’s specific needs, consult your vet or an emergency vet.

For more cat care tips and information, visit Katten TrimSalon.