What To Do If Your Cat’s Purr Sounds Gurgly

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Is your feline friend’s purr taking on a new and unusual gurgly tone?

If you’ve noticed your cat making strange sounds during your purring sessions, it’s time to pay attention!

You may know that the soothing hum of a cat’s purr is often associated with contentment. Yet, sudden changes in its purring behavior could be an indicator of an underlying issue.

In this article, we’ll explore the potential causes behind those gurgling noises. We’ll share valuable insights to ensure your cat’s well-being as well.

Gurgly Purring Sounds in Cats – Should You Worry?

We all know that cats often purr when they’re feeling comfortable, safe, and at ease. But do you know they also purr when they’re under stress, to grab attention, or to communicate with other cats?

Cat purring is a fascinating behavior that holds various meanings, and understanding it is essential to maintain your cat’s well-being. If the purring isn’t accompanied by any weird noises or odd behavior, then there’s no reason to worry.

However, the minute your cat starts gurgling while purring, you know something’s wrong. Let’s explore how.

Top 5 Causes of Gurgly Purring Sound in Cats

Here are five causes of the strange noises your cat might make:

1. Fluid Build-Up in the Lungs

At times, a gurgly and bubbly sound may hint at a more complex issue, such as pulmonary edema.

This condition involves the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the lungs and airways. It may also happen along with congestive heart failure, allergies, or even head trauma.

The presence of fluid interferes with the exchange of oxygen, leading to labored breathing and these unusual sounds. Sadly, the effects can be distressing for your feline companion.

If you suspect your cat might be experiencing pulmonary edema, consult your veterinarian promptly.


  • Labored and noisy breathing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Wheezing and crackling sounds in the chest


To treat pulmonary edema, your vet will provide oxygen supplementation as a short-term way to alleviate the symptoms.

Additionally, they’ll likely administer diuretics to remove excessive fluid from the lungs.

Must Check: Why Is My Cat Making Weird Mouth Movements?

2. Tracheal Collapse

Tracheal collapse is another potential cause of a gurgling sound during purring sessions.

This condition occurs when the windpipe narrows, impeding smooth airflow. As a result, the cat makes peculiar noises. 

Simply put, your cat’s windpipe collapses, and this disrupts smooth breathing.

Although tracheal collapse is relatively rare among cats, it can affect felines of any age or gender. It typically happens if your cat is obese or if there’s an airway obstruction.

Obese cats have increased pressure on the trachea. Their extra weight worsens the condition and contributes to the gurgling sounds.

Moreover, heat and excitement can aggravate tracheal collapse, making the symptoms more prominent.


  • Dry and honking cough
  • Retching and attempts to vomit
  • Abnormally noisy breathing
  • Rapid breathing rate
  • Loss of consciousness


In severe cases, your cat may need hospitalization and oxygen therapy. Your veterinarian may also administer sedatives to ease discomfort.

Appropriate medications may be necessary to manage the condition as well.

Remember to keep physical activity to a minimum while treatment is ongoing, and avoid stressing your cat out.

3. Respiratory Infection

Feline Upper Respiratory Infection, or URI, is similar to a bad head cold. Though it’s an unlikely cause, it can bring about a gurgly sound in your cat’s purring.

If a cat is constantly in contact with other cats, such as in shelters, it can increase the likelihood of URI.

URI is caused by a variety of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Among these, the feline herpesvirus and calicivirus are commonly responsible for the disease in cats.

Veterinarian examining a cat's mouth

These infections lead to inflammation of the respiratory tract, causing symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and gurgling sounds. Plus, the body’s immune response to the infection contributes to these noises as the airways become inflamed.

The good news is URIs are typically not life-threatening. At most, they can lead to discomfort, but the issue should be resolved within one to three weeks.


  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Fever and lethargy
  • Loud breathing sounds and strange noises
  • Lack of appetite


To treat respiratory infections in cats, they’ll need to undergo supportive care. In case of secondary infections, the cat may need antibiotics, but that’s for the vet to decide.

Since sick cats only drink a little bit of water, they may need fluid supplementation, depending on the severity of dehydration.

Make sure to provide fresh water and plenty of wet food to your fur baby.

If you want to avoid URI, make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up-to-date!

4. Upset Stomach

Borborygmus is the gurgling sound that occurs in cats’ stomachs. If your cat has borborygmus, you may notice bubbly and gassy noises from its digestive tract, rather than from its mouth.

Gas in the gastrointestinal tract is normal because of the digestive process. However, persistent gurgling could indicate an upset stomach.

Unfortunately, borborygmus occasionally causes worry among pet owners. A common cause of this condition is when a cat eats a foreign object that’s hard to digest. This often leads to gas accumulation and gurgling sounds.


  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gurgling in the digestive tract
  • Lethargy
  • Abnormal stool


To treat borborygmus, changing your cat’s food is the number one solution! You may want to consider adjusting the portion sizes and stop your furbaby from overeating.

If your cat is swallowing food too fast, you should buy a food bowl with limited portions. Try to ease your cat’s digestive process over the next couple of months.

On top of that, it’s a good idea to decrease your cat’s fiber and soy intake.

Moreover, you can ask your vet for corticosteroids, which have anti-inflammatory effects. 

Generally, if you notice a lack of appetite, it’s better to seek vet help immediately.

5. Blockage in the Respiratory Tract

Another cause behind those gurgling sounds may be nasopharyngeal polyps. These are benign growths inside the nose.

Masses caused by nasopharyngeal polyps can obstruct the airways and lead to unusual breathing noises in cats. Don’t worry. These growths are non-cancerous.

If your cat has this condition, you may notice a pinkish-white mass at the back of its throat. Inflammation from bacterial infection in this area can also make the tissue thicker.

The mass can cause partial blockage, so it’s better to take your cat to the vet before there’s a complete blockage.


  • Snorting sounds and other odd noises
  • Nasal discharge with or without blood
  • Noisy breathing
  • Sneezing


Your vet can use various methods to remove nasopharyngeal polyps. The most common treatment is through minimally invasive surgical techniques.

The mass has to get taken out completely because if any gets left behind, it could regrow. In fact, there’s a 15 to 50% chance of this happening in cats.

Fortunately, topical steroids for a month can lessen the growth. Some cats may need antibiotic therapy as well.

Is Cat Gurgling Dangerous?

A nurse trying to give a pill for a sick cat, closeup

The causes we’ve discussed cover a range of possibilities for your cat’s gurgling purr. Yet, it’s essential to remember that each cat is unique.

Factors such as age, breed, overall health, and lifestyle can all contribute to how your cat responds to these conditions.

Cats with preexisting health issues might be more susceptible to certain causes. On the other hand, others might show remarkable resilience. 

In all cases, the gurgling sound itself isn’t dangerous, but it may be a sign of a risky underlying condition. It’s up to the vet to diagnose.

Related: I Can See My Cat’s Heart Beating, should I worry?

What to Do If Your Cat’s Purr Sounds Gurgly

What should you do if you hear gurgly noises whenever your cat’s purring?

Before you panic, observe your cat’s condition for any changes first.

Check for symptoms like lethargy, reduced appetite, or other unusual behaviors. These signs might point to underlying health issues and need professional assessment!

It’s essential to consider how changes in their environment might be influencing their well-being.

Sometimes, stress or anxiety can manifest as changes in purring patterns. This means it might be worth examining their day-to-day life for potential stressors.

Creating a calm environment can greatly contribute to your cat’s overall happiness and health.

Finally, if the cat’s gurgling purr is persistent, it’s crucial to consult a veterinarian promptly. Regular veterinary check-ups can prevent the condition from getting worse.


A cat’s purr is a unique form of communication, offering insight into its emotions and needs. If your cat’s purr sounds gurgly, it’s a signal you shouldn’t ignore. More often than not, the cause is benign and easy to treat, but you don’t want to take any chances.

Recognizing the symptoms of a disease early on will help you ensure your cat’s well-being.

By understanding the potential causes behind these unusual sounds, you can provide the care your beloved cat deserves.