Why Is My Cat Gulping While Purring?

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If you’ve noticed your cat gulping while purring, you’re probably wondering what’s wrong. 

There are a few possible explanations, some of which are more serious than others. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common causes of gulping in cats, as well as what you can do if your cat is experiencing this.

Before we get to it cat owners, note that if your cat is gulping a lot while purring, it’s always best to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health problems. Even if, in some cases, the gulping may be caused by something more benign, such as a hairball or a food allergy.

Why Is My Cat Gulping While Purring?

So, your cat is gulping while purring. There are a few reasons why this might be happening.

Orange cat on a sofa with woman stroking it gently

1- Swallowing Air 

When cats purr, they create vibrations in their vocal cords. This can cause them to inhale more air than usual, which can lead to gulping. This is more likely to happen if the cat has been purring for a long time or rather intensely.

2- Streptococcal Infection 

A bacterial infection in the throat can cause inflammation and discomfort, which can make it difficult for your cat to swallow.

This can lead to gulping. If your cat has a streptococcal infection, they may also have other symptoms, such as a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and difficulty breathing.


If your cat does develop a streptococcal infection, it’s important to seek veterinary care right away. The veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. Your cat may also need supportive care, such as fluids and pain medication.


  • Excellent hygiene: Keep your cat’s environment clean and free of bacteria. This includes cleaning their litter box regularly, washing their food and water bowls, and vacuuming and dusting their living space.
  • Good nutrition: A healthy diet will help keep your cat’s immune system strong, which can help fight off infections.
  • Stress reduction: Stress can weaken the immune system, making cats more susceptible to infection. Help your cat stay calm and relaxed by providing them with a safe and comfortable environment.

3- Thyroid Problems

Hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone, can cause a number of changes in the way the cat’s body functions, including swallowing. This can lead to gulping.

Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism in cats include weight loss, increased appetite, and increased thirst.


  • Medication: If your cat is diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, they’ll likely need to take medication for the rest of their life. This medication will help to control their thyroid levels and prevent symptoms from developing.
  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be an option for treating hyperthyroidism. This surgery involves removing the thyroid gland.


  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity is a major risk factor for hyperthyroidism. Keeping your cat at a healthy weight can help reduce their risk of developing this condition.
  • Avoid feeding your cat foods that are high in iodine: Iodine is essential for thyroid function, but too much iodine can also lead to problems. So steer clear from iodine-rich food, such as seaweed snacks.

Recommended: My cat’s purr sounds gurgly, should I worry?

4- Dental Issues

A dental disease, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or oral injuries, can make it painful or difficult for your cat to swallow. This can lead to gulping. 

If your cat has dental problems, they may also have other symptoms, such as bad breath, difficulty eating, loss of appetite, and bleeding gums.


  • Dental cleaning: Your veterinarian can remove plaque and tartar buildup during a dental cleaning.
  • Extractions: If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be extracted.
  • Medication: Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat any infection.


  • Daily brushing: Brushing your cat’s teeth daily is the best way to prevent dental problems. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet toothpaste designed for cats.
  • Regular dental checkups: Your veterinarian can remove plaque and tartar buildup during regular dental checkups.
  • Treats and toys: There are a variety of treats and toys that can help to keep your cat’s teeth clean. Look for treats that are designed to help remove plaque and tartar buildup.

5- Hairballs 

Pet and cat fur hair on a brown carpet

A hairball issue is common with cats. They can form when cats groom themselves and ingest too much fur. Hairballs can get stuck in the throat and make it difficult for your cat to swallow, which can lead to gulping. 

6- Asthma

Feline asthma is a respiratory condition that can make it difficult for cats to breathe. This can lead to gulping sounds if your cat is struggling to get enough air. Common symptoms of asthma in cats include coughing, wheezing, and rapid breathing.


  • Medication: There are a variety of medications that can be used to treat asthma in cats. These medications work by relaxing the airways and reducing inflammation.
  • Lifestyle changes: A few lifestyle changes that you can make to help your cat with asthma include avoiding smoking, keeping your cat’s weight down, and providing them with regular exercise.


  • Identify and avoid triggers: The first step to preventing asthma in cats is to identify the triggers that cause it. Common triggers include any foreign body, like dust, pollen, smoke, and dander. 
  • Keep your cat’s environment clean: A clean environment is important for overall health, including asthma. Keep your cat’s litter box clean, vacuum and dust regularly, and avoid using harsh chemicals.

Related: Here are our favorite cordless vacuum cleaners for pet hair under $200 on the market now.

7- Dysphagia 

Dysphagia is a respiratory infection where there’s difficulty swallowing. This can be caused by a number of things, including neurological problems, muscle weakness, and structural abnormalities. 

There are many types, including pharyngeal dysphagia and oral dysphagia. Regardless, if your cat has dysphagia, they may gulp or choke when they try to swallow.


  • Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be an option for treating dysphagia. This surgery involves removing the part of the throat that’s causing the problem.
  • Feeding tube: If your cat is unable to swallow, they may need to be fed through a stomach tube. This tube is inserted into the cat’s tummy and allows it to receive food and fluids without having to swallow.


  • Feed your cat a soft diet: A soft diet can be easier for cats with dysphagia to swallow. You can also try feeding your cat wet food or canned food.
  • Avoid feeding your cat large meals: Large meals can put more pressure on the throat and make it difficult to swallow. Feed your cat smaller meals more often.
  • Make sure your cat is hydrated: Staying hydrated can help keep the throat moist and make it easier to swallow. So, make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times.
Veterinarian doctor checking cat at vet clinic

How to Stop My Cat From Gulping While Purring?

If your cat is gulping while purring, there are a few things you can do to stop it.

  • Take your cat for a vet visit. The vet can rule out any underlying health issues that may be causing the gulping. If your cat does have a medical condition, the vet can recommend the best course of treatment.
  • Offer your cat plenty of water. This will help to keep their throat moist and make it easier to swallow.
  • Avoid feeding your cat foods that are likely to cause hairballs. This includes dry food, fatty foods, and foods that are high in fiber.
  • If your cat is purring excessively, try to distract them. This could involve playing with them, petting them, or giving them a treat.

How to Prevent Your Cat From Gulping While Purring in the Future

As cat owners, it does us a world of good to take the necessary precautions that will prevent our feline pets from feeling uncomfortable.

Here’s a short and helpful list of tips that should keep your furry companion happy:

  • Use a slow feeder bowl to help your cat eat more slowly.
  • Give your cat a dental chew to help remove plaque and tartar from their teeth.
  • If your cat has a hairball, try to help them cough it up by rubbing their belly or back.
  • In case your cat has asthma, make sure their environment is free of triggers, such as dust, pollen, and smoke.

With patience and understanding, you should be able to help your cat stop gulping while purring.

Also Check: Why is my cat purring with an open mouth

Should I Be Concerned if My Cat Keeps Gulping While Purring?

It’s totally normal for cats to gulp a little bit of air while purring, but if it’s happening a lot, it could be a sign of something more serious.

So if you’ve only caught your cat doing this once or twice, it’s likely they’re fine and healthier than ever. 

If it’s happened more than a few times, however, then it is a health concern. In that case, we advise that you take your fluffy feline to a vet so a professional could rule out any underlying health issues. 

Wrapping Up: Why Is My Cat Gulping While Purring?

There are a few reasons why your cat might be gulping while purring. It could be something as simple as air swallowing while purring, or it could be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition. 

If you’re concerned about your cat’s gulping, it’s always best to take them to the vet to get a diagnosis.