cat making gulping or hard swallowing sounds

by Twoie's Mommy

My 10 year old Russian Blue mix male cat (neutered)has begun making gulping or hard swallowing sounds when he is grooming, purring and eating. He also sneezes from time to time and had a coughing spell almost every morning. He is an indoor/outdoor cat and weighs 15 pounds.

Other than the above symptoms, he appears normal and undistressed.


This could be hairballs

If the symptoms continue for more than a few days or more or if you notice any other symptoms then it may be an idea to have them checked by a vet in case there is something else which is stuck in his throat.

However hairballs are quick common and can be a bit uncomfortable for the cat until they can get rid of them.


Comments for cat making gulping or hard swallowing sounds

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it's Acid Refux
by: Anonymous

I'm shocked that nobody has mentioned acid reflux or GERD. My cat does this and it's acid reflux. Vet is aware. Has prescribed 1/4 of 10mg pepcid. It breaks my heart when she's having an episode, but the pepcid does help when given before a meal. Tried to change food to help and will continue. High fat and high protein will cause the problem. Also large meals. Google acid reflux in cats and you'll find other causes due to improper fasting before sedation. Discuss with vet before giving pepcid. Also, just learned there is a gel you can put in their ear so they don't have to take a pill. Will be getting that.

Older cat gulping and not eating.
by: Glenda

It has been about 10 days since my 15 year old cat has eaten. She is also purring loudly and gulping. The vet ran $250 of tests and found that her white count was very low and we will further check that. But, that didn't explain the gulping. She will lick hairball med off my finger but that is it. I'm afraid she is going to die. She still walks around but is really slowing down. I wish we could figure out what this gulping is all about. Just seems it's something in their throat but no sign of anything.

Gulping and coughing in hyperthyroid cat
by: Anonymous

I have a 10-year-old cat with severe hyperthyroidism. He is treated with methimazole. This past week he has been coughing and gulping with fatigue and more rapid breathing. I suspect he has heart problems from his hyperthyroidism. But as precaution vet gave him shot of antibiotic called Convenia in case of respiratory infection. Tonight the cough seems better but he continues to gulp. I hope this is all due to sore throat/respiratory infection rather than his heart ❤️

Hard gulping
by: Anonymous

I just rescued a cat 2 days ago and she is gulping hard whenever she tries to eat dry food, and sometimes when she purrs too much or when she is cleaning herself. It seems to be preventing her from eating more than a few pieces of her dry food at a time. I took her to the vet today and told them about it but they just looked in her mouth and said she seems fine.

I see a theme here
by: Anonymous

My cat gulps when purring but I don't worry too much about it. She's healthy and clearly not in any discomfort.

I'm shocked at the amount of medicines and prescriptions people seem to be throwing at this.

Medicines of any sort should be avoided unless absolutely necessary and never used for something like this which is not causing any other problems.

Cat gulping
by: Stevie

My cat has been doing this for the last 2 years gulping when he's purring he's a 10 year old ginger tom took him to the vet who couldn't find anything wrong, apart from that he's fine can't understand why no vet seems to know what this is .

My cat gulping too
by: Anonymous

My cat has has 'gulping epsiodes' in the past, and they usually clear up in few days. He eats and drinks his milk (watered down) and has both wet and dry foods, plus plenty of water. He seems ok apart from that. But I always think that as pet owners it is a little worrying in case your cat is in pain. My boy just acts perfectly normal so i'm worndering if it is hairballs. He gets combed through regularly to remove loose hair. He sometimes coughs like he want to bring something up which I think could be hairball, so regular combing of the fur is good to help prevent this getting worse. I hope he will get back to normal in day or so.

yet another gulping cat
by: Debbi

Two different vets agreed that my cat gulps hard during purring most likely b/c of cranial nerve damage. She also shakes her head a lot when purring, digs at her ears and cries after purring (and her ears are fine) and shakes her head after eating. They thought she might have polyps in her throat but scoped her and she didn't have anything. So, cranial nerve damage was the consensus. No treatment ideas, just keep her happy, feed her canned food, and wait and see. She was a shelter dump, and was around 6 years old when I got her. It's been a year and a half, and she is definitely getting worse :-(

My cat recently started doing this while purring :(
by: Anonymous

My cat (almost 17 years old) has recently started doing this same thing when he is purring. He normally purrs a lot of the time but now once he starts his trachea seems to be sticking out, he shakes his head and starts gulping. He will walk off into a corner until it stops. I fear that the vet will do a ton of work ups which will end up costing hundred and still not give me a for sure answer or resolve the issue. If it continues I will end up bringing him in, will update the post if I do.

Go to vet
by: Jess

It's feline herpes virus. controllable, contagious among cats(usually get it as a kitten) physical or mental stress causes flair ups. See vet for feline anti-inflammatory and test to discover possible stress triggers. Feed soft pate food to help sooth throats. Fresh cool water also helps.

Maybe it's stress-induced?
by: Big Mama Cat

My elderly cat started gulping (when not eating) about a year ago, but she doesn't do it all the time. She seems to go through short spells of doing it followed by months and months of not doing it. I've noticed that she does it during high-stress times, such as when there has been a change in the household that she's not pleased with. As things cool down for her, the gulping goes away. So you might look into cheering up a depressed kitty and/or trying to make life easier for him/her, as it might be a stress-induced tick.

My cat is going through a gulping phase right now, because I have rescued kittens in the house. She is also having coughing /sneezing fits maybe twice a day. My vet said to ride it out and has never had anything of note to say about the gulping.

by: Anonymous

Could it be tapeworm?

Cat gulping
by: Anonymous

My cat I adopted from the shelter is also doing the same thing. Gulping when heavy purring. I have gone to the vet several times and the first one says a brochitis infection treated with steriods which made HIm worse. Then they said asthma. The third vet says cardio. Which is it??? I am going through money trying to make my cat feel better and no one can tell me how to treat this!!! I have put him on Lysine 500mg to build up an ammunity to what ever. I have had some results but he is not 100%. Can someone out there help???

Gulping noises
by: Anonymous

My cat has been making gulping noises everytime he's content and purring it's loud but other than that he seems ok. He's on pepsid cause he was vomiting a lot and that stopped but still gulping when purring or content can't figure out what's wrong!

Is this a new condition?
by: Dee

My cat has started gulping now too. Not as vocal as usual, somewhat listless, not so interested in food, sometimes non-productive wreching. Seems to roam around the house rather restlessly. Four year old healthy spayed female. Took her to the vet who agreed no sign of pain or discomfort in her throat, no sign of sore throat or blockage. Did have some tooth tartar that he scraped off and swabbed her ears. No temperature or other signs of illness.

So I wonder too - what is the concensus as to why this is happening? What is this gulping (hard swallowing with head jerking forward) even when not eating or drinking? A new condition? A neurological problem? Needing blood tests or X-rays or what? Any real answers out there?

hard swallowing in cats
by: adele

I have two cats that do this gulping sound when swallowing even when they are NOT eating. It started with one, then spread to the other. It started with the one cat catching a mouse. Everytime he is around mice it gets worse. I have been to two vets. One said tonsillitis, the other said a cold like symptom and gave antibiotics. It got better temporarily, then came right back. A lot of people on line have this same problem and yet with all the vets out there, NO ONE KNOWS whats causing this???????????

Cat Asthma
by: Anonymous

It's probably asthma/bronchitis. My cat has the same issue. The vet did an exam and xray, and put her on the Aerocat inhaler. Pepcid (half of a 5mg tablet) might help too, if it's acid reflux. Best to check with your vet.

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