Why is my cat coughing and gagging?

Original Question: My cat has been gagging for two and a half days. She's not being herself and clearly doesn't feel good but she is still eating. Should I wait a bit longer to see if she coughs it up or see a vet ASAP? - Cass

Why is my cat coughing and gagging? Jan 28, 2019

Hi Cass,

Thanks for your question.

I want to start off by saying that gagging is not a normal thing for a cat to do and it could definitely represent a problem with the back of the mouth, throat, or the upper intestinal tract and in and around the upper esophagus. Coughing and gagging in cats could be due to something that was swallowed and is now stabbing at the back of the mouth such as a stick or grass seed. It could also be due to ulceration, injury, severe dental disease, and nerve problems so there a lot of possible causes.

It’s definitely better to get her checked out sooner rather than later by your vet because problems in this area can become life-threatening and much harder to treat if left for some time.

Even though your cat is still eating, cats will often continue to eat despite being in extreme pain or have a disease. Something I often say to my clients is that a cat doesn’t know that if they stop eating, their owner’s are going to take them to the vet and get their problem sorted out. They simply know that they need to eat to survive. So just think then how bad or how painful the disease has to be before they feel like they can’t eat anymore and stop eating. We don’t want to leave it to that point and that goes for any disease. Treating this sooner rather than later increases the probability that treatment is simpler, less involved and cheaper. Most importantly, your cat’s not going to be in pain or feeling unwell for a prolonged period of time.

Please have your cat seen by a veterinarian for a physical examination and diagnostics so the appropriate treatment can be initiated.

Good luck.

Dr. Alex Avery

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Why is my cat coughing and gagging?
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Why is my cat coughing and gagging?
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Coughing and gagging in cats could be due to something that was swallowed and is now stabbing at the back of the mouth such as a stick or grass seed. It could also be due to ulceration, injury, severe dental disease, and nerve problems so there a lot of possible causes.
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Healthcare for Pets
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