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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Pollen allergy & unexplained drooling
by: Anonymous

My cat does all of these things. A new vet told me she likely had a pollen allergy that was causing her to have asthma attacks (look it up on YouTube and see if thats what your cat looks like.) The vet also said she badly needed to get her teeth cleaned, so im wondering if thats whats causing her drooling

No end in sight
by: Anonymous

My female cat of 11+ years has had the gulping, sneezing wheezing thing going on for about a month or more. We took her to the vet and blood tests came back normal, he did adjust her thyroid medication methimazole up a little to get her thyroid numbers on track. He prescribed turbutaline to help if allergies or asthma were the case. Normally he would prescribe prednisone but not with a hyperthyroid cat. So a week or so later with symptoms worsening, we bring her in for X-rays of abdomen. Results showed nothing of concern except air in the intestines indicating she is swallowing air due to not getting enough air. ($800 later and no diagnosis) now she is prescribed clavomox (antibiotic) and apoquel for allergies. So she is taking 3 meds in the morning and 4 at night. Now she has diarrhea or loose stools probably due to antibiotics, still no change in gasp/cough/gulp. It seems worse when she starts purring so I can’t even pet her to console her. Next step is to do a trachea wash. It seems so similar to what other cats are experiencing. Anyone ever come to a conclusion on what is causing this or what the cure is?

gulping trying to purr
by: Janet farrar

My "older" cat (that I just adopted) did that for and I wondered if it could be a sore throat. I treated it with clavomox.....and her body responded to it nicely. The gulping disappeared for a day or so. When It came back, I decided that a vet ought to look at her. She found that her back teeth needed cleaning badly and she had developed a peridontal gum disease. She put her to sleep and cleaned the back teeth shinny. Now, the gulping has totally disappeared, she can purr endlessly. so I was on the right track with the fact that an infection was appearing and irritating the throat. Please realize that your cat cannot tell you what is wrong. It just takes a lot of looking and testing. Make sure the vet cleans the back teeth well. Your cat must be suffering and isn't able to tell you. My cats personallity has changed for the better, now that she is healthy again.

Catch in his throat
by: Anonymous

I have a tom cat that I rescued who also rescued me. He started this gulping or catchi g of the throat so I started researching. Has anyone ever heard of lungworms and have any of your cats been tested for them. M8ne has not, and maybe I am too much of a worrier but thinking it might be something that I should have him tested for.

hard swollow sneezing lethargy
by: Glenn

a lot of people wonder what's wrong , it is often a streptococcal infection that needs antibiotics , it causes swollen tonsils and then the hard swallow .baytril will give noticeable improvement in 24 hours .adhere strictly to dose no more than 5 mg per kg body weight in cats .

Still another cat with this issue
by: Anonymous

My female cat is 12 and lives in central Wisconsin. She was in good health when she lost her voice and then started swallowing a lot (while not eating). Took her to my wonderful vet and found a small pocket of infection on one side of throat, plus a few teeth which needed pulling after having them cleaned a little less than a year ago. She was given Convenia and her mouth healed nicely, but the swallowing never went away and she also hasn't got her voice back. She can make sounds if she tries hard enough or if she wants something. Swallowing seemed to get worse, and repeated visits to vet for follow up exams and a shot of Convenia every 10 days now plus now also a steroid shot every 30 days to try to get rid of whatever may be causing this. Nice, non-invasive approach, but she now rattles loudly when breathing and occasionally coughs (just once -not repeatedly). She's not getting better, but seems to be getting worse. Has anyone solved this yet?

Tooth decay & hairballs
by: Sylvia

I totally agree w/someone here who wrote about being put off by the high number of people feeding their cats a multitude of medications. I would go read about organic products which are specifically for cures for cat ailments & also go to Healthy Pets by Dr. Karen Becker she has videos discussing care of animals & via her site I've discovered which of my Vets was not worth going back to & wasting my money! You have to be careful & visit a doctor highly recommended by a neighbor or friend who you trust that you know truly care for their pets. The gulping which my cat was due to inflamed gums, some bad teeth (which is something older cats have quite a few teeth needing extraction). I only feed no grain dry & at dinner no grain soft, after 10 years of age, I feed food targeted at helping kidneys stay healthy (Hill's Science Diet Urinary/Hairball Formula). The better quality food, the less doctor's visits & we're all pretty happy here. Hope this helps someone solve their kitty health issue.

Obligate carnivores
by: Millitoo

In response to the comment from anonymous that the gulping problem is caused by relflux. Well, that is possible, but I take issue with the statement that the reflux is caused by high protein. Cats are obligate carnivores and should be fed high protein diets. Many of the the problems that cats face are due to a diet with not enough protein and too many carbs. Feline diabetes is epidemic and the reason is a diet high in carbs. Most dry cat food contains way too much carbohydrate, especially those purchased in the grocery store. Any canned food is better.

Gulping cat noise
by: Anonymous

I have two cats from same litter male and female. Very healthy forthe 11years both 16lbs, indoor out door. Only dry food high end mix and cat snacks daily also dry generic. She in the last year started gulping. Both get saame everything daily. This last year I switched to smartwater with electrolytes in it. Also tried steaming a viriatey of vegetables. Asparagus chopped in little bits is her new favorite. I try all veggies so I know what their eating. It helped her a littlebit. He dosent want any part. She is slower. I would guess like any vet would that she is having thyroid issues.. he's fine they both kills small wildlife and eat the kill. I wonder if this contributes to the problem? If it was possible. They would both be on a home cooked meat and veggie diet. It's a lot of work. Like all of you facing a huge vet bill for blood works is an option. But. Like my uncle a doctor always says , were still practicing...with that I spend the money on the best dry food and continue to make them healthy home cooked dinners with chicken ,tuna veggies and bread to mix in. Seems to have benefits.Like humans any shellfish is a big risk, I don't advise it.being an owner of almostevery pet not reptiles. Large, horse and all feathered ,cats dogs ect. I've tried everything. I do think cats after10 years develope problems like old human's.we get things. Who knows what's really going on. If their suffering and you try it all. Last respectful act of love for your baby is a older vet with experience.and recommendation. Pet insurance saved me big money. She also started snoring with her gulping. So maybe it's connected. I'm always willing to find out and laern something that works. Good for you to notice a change in your pets.the head shaking is neurologic for sure. I really believe it's the diet we have them on. Wet food is not a good thing. If you wouldn't eat it Don't give it to your pet. I taste all meds and feed on all my pets large and small. Horrible as it is. To understand the effects it has on them. I'm not saying eat their food. Look at the ingredients with a keen eye and know what's in it.sauces are easy to digest so I blend a lot to get absorbed better as an alternative with dry food quality ingredients. It's your babies DON'T BE CHEAPang good luck too. Pet lover.

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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