My cat keeps dry heaving?!

ilovemyvoidboi

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About a week and a half ago my cat had started dry heaving, seemed like he was trying to bring up a hair ball but nothing ever came up. It happened again a few days later so I bought some hair ball gel and gave it to him for three days as instructed. Still no hair ball. I had to bring him to the vet after this for conjunctivitis (which is all clear now) while he was there, vet said his breathing was normal so she wasn’t concerned about the dry heaving, we both assumed it was hardball related. Well I’ve noticed that he is still doing this dry heave at least every other day. It lasts only about 20-30 seconds, nothing ever comes up. He is acting, eating, and going potty all normally. Is this just something cats do?! A tickle in his throat?! I’ve looked up everything and for everything it could be, he doesn’t have the other symptoms that comes with it. I’m at a loss. Should I bring him back to the vet just to be on the safe side? Thank you so much in advance!
 

Mr. Meow

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I have a cat who does this every day, sometimes twice a day. They are trying to get out a hairball but aren't able to. There's nothing to be concerned about unless kitty stops eating or using the litter box.
Most hair passes through the digestive tract and gets pooped out. Some stays in their tummy and can be thrown up as a hairball.
There are (as you're using already) treats or medicines that can help the hair pass through the cat a bit easier. You can find some of these things at pet stores, but be aware that like anything new, your cat may be allergic to it, or it might make them feel blah. There's also some indication that adding fish oils to kitty's food can help lubricate the throat and stomach, helping the hair to pass through easier.
One way to reduce hairballs is to brush kitty on a regular basis. The more hair you brush out, the less they can eat.
Hope this helps!
 

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Did your vet mention feline asthma? Sometimes it can look like dry heaving or coughing.
 

eva21315

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When he's dry heaving, is he sticking his neck out? If so, that might actually be coughing. I thought Millie was dry heaving or trying to get a hairball up, too (and I tried the hairball remedy, hairball treats etc too!) but it was actually a cough. It's daily/every other day for her. It turned into, or turned out to be, an URI and we're waiting to see if the cough resolves as the infection does, or if she might have feline asthma.
Either way, a little extra brushing can't hurt - could help prevent hairballs and it'll remove environmental irritants like dust from his coat! If it's dry and cold where you are, you could try running a humidifier, in case the dry air is the culprit.
 
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ilovemyvoidboi

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I have a cat who does this every day, sometimes twice a day. They are trying to get out a hairball but aren't able to. There's nothing to be concerned about unless kitty stops eating or using the litter box.
Most hair passes through the digestive tract and gets pooped out. Some stays in their tummy and can be thrown up as a hairball.
There are (as you're using already) treats or medicines that can help the hair pass through the cat a bit easier. You can find some of these things at pet stores, but be aware that like anything new, your cat may be allergic to it, or it might make them feel blah. There's also some indication that adding fish oils to kitty's food can help lubricate the throat and stomach, helping the hair to pass through easier.
One way to reduce hairballs is to brush kitty on a regular basis. The more hair you brush out, the less they can eat.
Hope this helps!
This does help a lot! Thank you so much! Since he is a silky short hair I haven’t been brushing him often but now I will start incorporating that into a daily routine! Thank you again
 

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Hi. Feeby does the same thing, but maybe not as frequently. Rarely throws up a hairball. So, I think she must be 'dislodging' the hairball with the heaving and then it passes on through her system. I try to brush her fairly often, but sometimes get remiss, but if she starts the heaving I will increase the brushings and that has seemed to help reduce it.

Try adding a couple of drops of olive oil to his food and see if that decreases or stops the heaving after a week or so. If not olive oil, you can also feed him a dab of butter/margarine from your finger or his paw for a couple of days after a heaving session, and then reduce it to a couple of times a week on a routine basis. There are some members who suggest using egg yolk or egg yolk lecithin powder. I would try any - or, maybe all - to see if you can get the heaving to stop. If it doesn't you might want to talk to your vet about the possibility of asthma.
 

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One of the times you bring your little one to the vet, if it continues, have a simple chest x-ray performed. It would show asthma or even a heart condition that may cause that heaving. They are inexpensive and if it shows nothing, it eliminates those two potential problems. If it is the heart, don't panic, I have had several cats manage very well, normally in fact, for many years on medications. my Burt was diagnosed at nine and lived to going on seventeen.
 
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ilovemyvoidboi

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When he's dry heaving, is he sticking his neck out? If so, that might actually be coughing. I thought Millie was dry heaving or trying to get a hairball up, too (and I tried the hairball remedy, hairball treats etc too!) but it was actually a cough. It's daily/every other day for her. It turned into, or turned out to be, an URI and we're waiting to see if the cough resolves as the infection does, or if she might have feline asthma.
Either way, a little extra brushing can't hurt - could help prevent hairballs and it'll remove environmental irritants like dust from his coat! If it's dry and cold where you are, you could try running a humidifier, in case the dry air is the culprit.
Yes he sticks his neck out, sometimes his tongue sticks out as well. I watched videos of cats coughing to try to compare & his is more of heaving versus a coughing sound, I do have a humidifier, I’ll start using that as it is pretty dry here
 
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ilovemyvoidboi

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Hi. Feeby does the same thing, but maybe not as frequently. Rarely throws up a hairball. So, I think she must be 'dislodging' the hairball with the heaving and then it passes on through her system. I try to brush her fairly often, but sometimes get remiss, but if she starts the heaving I will increase the brushings and that has seemed to help reduce it.

Try adding a couple of drops of olive oil to his food and see if that decreases or stops the heaving after a week or so. If not olive oil, you can also feed him a dab of butter/margarine from your finger or his paw for a couple of days after a heaving session, and then reduce it to a couple of times a week on a routine basis. There are some members who suggest using egg yolk or egg yolk lecithin powder. I would try any - or, maybe all - to see if you can get the heaving to stop. If it doesn't you might want to talk to your vet about the possibility of asthma.
I’ll give this a shot! Thank you!
 
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ilovemyvoidboi

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One of the times you bring your little one to the vet, if it continues, have a simple chest x-ray performed. It would show asthma or even a heart condition that may cause that heaving. They are inexpensive and if it shows nothing, it eliminates those two potential problems. If it is the heart, don't panic, I have had several cats manage very well, normally in fact, for many years on medications. my Burt was diagnosed at nine and lived to going on seventeen.
That’s definitely where I’m headed if this continues or gets worse, I assumed it would be very expensive though, so that’s good to know. I’m glad to hear about your Burt :)
 

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My guy has feline asthma, which we also thought was hairballs at first. His breathing at the vet was totally normal and lungs sounded (and sound) great according to vet - only symptom was he would have these coughing attacks. You can see a video of what that looks like in my post history.

Eventually we put him on pred for a few weeks as per vet instruction to see if it would remove the coughing and it did; the issues returned once we weaned him off. The vet then did an x-ray to confirm diagnosis. We now have him on inhaled medications using a puffer and he is doing great, no more coughing.

Basically, it may be hairballs, but it may also be asthma, even if his lungs sound fine. If the issue persists asthma is definitely worth looking in to as the culprit.
 
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