Dry Heaving Cats

Dry heaving could be an indication that your cat has a large hairball in their stomach. Take your cat to the veterinarian if they have hairballs all the time or are unable to remove them. Your vet will recommend that you switch to cat food designed to digest hairballs.

Dry Heaving Cats

Cats can suffer from upset stomachs just like humans. Your cat may experience dry heaving or vomiting due to parasites, viruses or other serious conditions, such as cancer or organ problems. It’s a good idea for your cat to visit Tracy vet if they are dry-heaving or vomiting frequently, or every few months.

Why cats dry their heaves

Cat dry heaving can be unpleasant but it is often due to a simple need to remove a hairball. Here are the most common causes for dry heaving in cats. However, there may also be more serious causes.

What is Dry Heaving?

Dry heaving, or retching in cats, can sound like a mild cough or a severe episode of stomach cramps and gagging. Sometimes it is a minor problem such as a tickle or hairball in the throat. In other cases it can be more serious like an intestinal blockage, or even a major episode of gagging and stomach contractions. The brain might continue sending signals to empty your stomach, even though it is empty. Retching in these situations can be very bothersome and unpleasant. It may not provide the relief you normally feel after vomiting.

It could indicate a health problem if your cat is dry-heaving repeatedly.

  • Hairballs
  • Nausea
  • Gastroenteritis
  • Foreign body in the throat or stomach
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • Systemic diseases

What should I do if my cat is dry heaving?

Although it can be quite distressing to see a cat dry-heaving, you might feel relieved to know that dry heaving is common in cats. Dry heaving can be a sign of serious health issues. Our Bartlett vets explain why dry heaving may occur to your cat.

Furballs / Hairballs

Dry heaving is most commonly caused by a furball, or hairball in healthy cats. It can occur in kittens as well as adult cats.

Your cat’s tongue has tiny hook-like structures that catch hair and debris as it grooms itself. Most of the hair goes straight through the digestive system without any problems. Hair that remains in the stomach can form a hairball which your cat will vomit. If your cat is experiencing the following symptoms, or if he has dry heaves often, contact your veterinarian immediately.

* A loss of appetite

* Insufficient energy

* Constipation

* Diarrhea

Fast eating

Cats love to eat their food! Sometimes cats can vomit if they eat too quickly. This is a simple problem that can be fixed with some management adjustments. How to fix it: Use a slow feed bowl to speed up your cat’s ability to eat. Splitting their food into smaller pieces can help them eat more throughout the day.


Cats can sometimes feel nauseated, just like humans. This could be due to eating too much acid or spoiled food. If it’s accompanied by vomiting, lethargy, or appetite loss, this can be very serious and should be taken seriously.

Feline Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is common in elderly cats and can cause dry heaving, nausea, and vomiting. Kidney disease in cats can also cause dry heaving, nausea, and vomiting.

* Itchiness

* Depression

* An increase in thirst

* Increased urination

* Weakness

* Pale gums

Acute kidney disease can be a serious veterinary emergency. It is often caused by the accidental ingestion of toxic substances. For urgent care, call your veterinarian if your cat displays any of these symptoms.


Gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach, intestine, or both, can cause vomiting in cats and dogs. Sometimes, your cat may be unable to swallow due to vomiting. You may notice dry heaving and gagging after a meal if your cat has gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis can occur in cats due to bacteria, viruses and parasites. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, new food, or a reaction to medications.

* Bacterial and fungal infections

* Tumors and cancers of the GI tract

* Foreign material lodged in the intestines

* Toxicology or poisoning

* Endocrine disorders such as diabetes and hyperthyroidism

* Vomiting yellow, foamy Bile

Foreign body in the stomach or throat

Sometimes cats will eat things they shouldn’t be eating, such as strings, plastic, bugs, and foam. Cats can act just like toddlers and put everything in their mouths to find out what it is. This can sometimes lead to a blockage of the esophagus or intestinal tract. You should immediately take your cat to a veterinary clinic if he is experiencing sudden vomiting, dry heaving, abdominal pain, swelling, or refusing to eat or drink.

These objects can get stuck in the cat’s body. The foreign body can become stuck in your cat’s mouth if it is making strange movements. It is usually located near the gums so it is easy to get rid of. If it gets into the GI tract, it can block the throat and intestines. In some cases, however, no amount of gagging or heaving can dislodge foreign material. These situations are dangerous. You should immediately take your cat to the vet if they are experiencing dry heaving, reduced appetite, or abdominal pain and swelling. The vet will have to remove the blockage before it blocks the entire GI tract. This can lead to serious complications.

Heart Disease

Congenital (by birth or acquired) heart disease can be quite common in cats.

Contact your veterinarian if your cat displays any of these symptoms.

Liver Disease

The liver is essential for the body’s functions. It is responsible for filtering toxins and storing vitamins as well as digesting nutrients. The liver has many functions and is therefore more vulnerable to disease and damage. Other than dry heaving, other symptoms include weight loss, appetite loss and head pressing.

What to do if your cat is dry heaving

You can treat or prevent hairballs in cats by giving them hairball treatment. To ensure that your cat is safe, it is important to consult your veterinarian. Simple nausea can usually be resolved in a few hours. You should contact your veterinarian if the nausea persists beyond 24 hours, or is accompanied with fever or other symptoms. Your veterinarian can perform diagnostic and laboratory tests, as well as a physical exam to determine if you have gastroenteritis.


These are the main four ways to do it:

  • Brushing to get rid of excess hair and fleas
  • Flea and worming treatment
  • Improving diet
  • Boredom reduction

Dry heaving can be caused by many things, so it is important to consult your vet about the best way to solve the problem.

In conclusion

Dry heaving can be caused by many things. Most often, the cause of dry heaving is not serious and should be ignored. Sometimes, however, the cause can be serious and require medical or surgical intervention in order to keep your cat healthy. If your cat’s dry heaving is a sign of illness, it is important to keep an eye out for any other signs.

A vet checkup can help to make sure your cat doesn’t suffer from dry heaves. Dry heaving can be caused by many conditions, which can often be treated or prevented early.

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