You could be concerned if your cat produces noises while breathing that you aren’t used to hearing.

While a cute feline sneeze or sniffle can be endearing, changes in respiratory noises can sometimes signal a problem.

So how can you tell as a pet owner if a cat’s gurgling is a one-time occurrence or something more serious like feline asthma?

Thankfully, you aren’t required to know everything. This is where we come into the picture.

Why Does My Cat Make A Gurgling Sound?

The gurgling sound heard from cats is usually associated with abnormal breathing conditions.

Short-nosed, flat-faced animals (brachycephalic airway syndrome) are usually characterized by any combination of the following symptoms: 

  • Narrowed nostrils;
  • Overly long soft palate; 
  • Inside-out turning of a portion of the voice box or larynx, reducing the space for air to pass through the larynx; and collapse of the voice box or larynx and fluid build-up of the voice box or larynx

Laryngeal paralysis (voice box or larynx paralysis) can be hereditary or acquired. They could also be benign or cancerous.

  • It causes the diameter of the windpipe’s lumen to narrow during breathing;
  • Narrowing of the bronchial tubes;
  • Tumors of the esophagus (trachea).
  • Objects get lodged in the trachea or other regions of the airway.
  • It produces excessive doses of growth hormone, which promotes expansion of bone and soft tissues throughout the body.
  • Dysfunction of the nervous system and/or muscles

Your cat might have certain anatomy (such as a long soft palate) that makes it more susceptible to anomalous, loud breathing noises, so you may need anesthesia or sedation.

  • Tumors or abnormalities of the soft palate (the soft portion of the roof of the mouth, between the hard palate and the throat)
  • Throat tissue that is too thick (redundant pharyngeal mucosal fold)
  • In the back of the throat, there might be a tumor (pharynx)
  • Inflammation of the mouth, throat (pharynx), and voice box because of fluid build-up (edema) (larynx) – because of coughing, vomiting, or regurgitation, turbulent airflow, an upper respiratory infection, or bleeding.
  • Discharges (such as pus, mucus, and blood) in the airway lumen – these can happen quickly (acutely) after surgery; a normal cognizant animal would cough them up or swallow them.

Respiratory Conditions Responsible For Gurgling Sound In Your Cat’s Throat

Cats sometimes have respiratory problems, and your cat’s symptoms can help you figure out what’s wrong.

Because some cats have a flat face and nose, they are more likely to suffer from respiratory problems. Respiratory disorders in cats manifest themselves in a variety of ways.

Panting For Cats

If you observe your cat panting, it’s because it’s hot and trying to get rid of it; unlike people, cats expel heat through their tongues and paws, not through their skin.

However, if your cat pants excessively, he could be suffering from a heat stroke, congestive heart failure, or be in agony.

To figure out what the problem is, look for more symptoms.

Pale gums (which can also be a sign of congestive heart failure), vomiting, convulsions, and rapid collapse can all be signs of a heat stroke.

Heatstroke and congestive heart failure both necessitate prompt medical attention. If your cat is in discomfort, investigate the source.

Gurgling Sound 

Various health issues in cats can be responsible for the gurgling noises, including laryngitis or pharyngitis, laryngeal collapse, and congestive heart failure.

In certain circumstances, the cat makes gurgling sounds without causing any health issues.

Monitor your cat’s breathing habits and contact your veterinarian if you notice any changes or if your cat exhibits frightening signs including panting, gasping, gurgling, or chronic coughing.


Coughing could indicate a respiratory infection, or a foreign object lodged in the nose or airways.

A feline cough could be caused by a lung disease or severe inhalant allergies.

Sneezing Feline allergies can cause sneezing; however, sneezing can also be a symptom of respiratory illnesses.

The cat may have a tumor or cyst in the nose if the sneezing is persistent and there is nasal bleeding.

A veterinarian can determine whether the tumor or cyst can be surgically removed.

Gasping Feline

It’s possible that your cat’s breathing tubes are obstructed if he’s gasping for air. Large bits of food or a swallowed foreign object can cause this.

If feasible, try to remove the object yourself; a veterinarian may do so as well, but the cat will most likely require an anesthetic.

Runny Nose Is A Symptom Of A Clogged Nose

A runny nose could also be a sign of a respiratory infection. It’s possible that this is accompanied by additional respiratory problems.

If the discharge is clear and comes from both nostrils, it’s possible that the cat is allergic to one or more elements in the surroundings.

If the nasal discharge is clear but only occurs from one nostril, it could be because of a tumor, polyps, or a foreign item lodged in one nostril.

An upper respiratory infection caused by viruses or bacteria is indicated by yellowish, thick nasal secretions.

A fungal infection is indicated by a pink, thick nasal discharge.

 Other Breathing Conditions

When it comes to reasons, your cat’s breathing sounds different from usual. There are many options.

Some issues are more prevalent than others, and many of them can appear to be the same without more research.

Changes in breathing in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Cardiovascular Issues

Fluids in the lungs can be caused by a congenital heart problem or one that develops over time, such as hypertrophic.

This might cause stifled or laborious breathing, as well as coughing and retching.


Infectious diseases, trauma, and even tumors can irritate the back of the throat, causing breathing problems.

Lung Ailment

Heavy, noisy breathing can be caused by a disease in the lungs, such as pneumonia.

Asthma In Cats

When triggered by allergens, the lower airways of some cats can become inflamed, resulting in wheezing and trouble breathing.


Greater weight can contribute to increased respiratory noise and possibly apnea, especially in brachycephalic breeds like Persians, which may already have restricted airways.


Unwanted parasite infections, such as feline lungworms and heartworms, can wreak havoc on the lungs, thereby causing breathing problems.

Infection Of The Upper Respiratory Tract

Many bacterial and viral diseases can produce upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes in cats, which is perhaps the most common reason we see them.

Polyps In The Nasopharynx

Increased respiratory sounds can be caused by any tumor growing in the back of the throat. These are most usually benign nasopharyngeal polyps in cats.

When Should You Be Concerned About The Gurgling Sound In Your Cat’s Throat?

It’s difficult to know whether or not a small wheeze or sneeze in your cat warrants a trip to the veterinarian.

While a gurgling sound is common, see your veterinarian if:

  • The bubbling sound lasts for several hours.
  • The bubbling noise is unusual.
  • It’s accompanied by a discharge from the eyes or nose.
  • The respiration of your cat is laborious.
  • Your cat pants as if he’s a dog.
  • Abnormal behaviors such as hiding, not eating, or decreased activity are associated with the symptoms.
  • Coughing from your cat
  • Gums and/or tongue are blue or gray.
  • Your pet seems to be in pain.
  • You may also monitor your pet’s resting respiratory rate from the comfort of your own home. This is a crucial factor to consider.

You may also monitor your pet’s resting respiratory rate from the comfort of your own home.

This might be a helpful tool in determining whether or not your pet needs emergency attention and in narrowing down a diagnosis.

Although a gurgling sound in a cat can be natural, it is always advisable to err on the side of caution.

Even more serious conditions, such as feline asthma, can be managed with the proper diagnosis.

Don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian if your cat sniffles, sneezes, or coughs. The sooner your cat’s condition is diagnosed, the sooner he or she can return to normal.

Treatments For Conditions Causing Gurgling Sound In Your Cat’s Throat

Trust your veterinarian to recommend the best treatment for your cat. Isolation, rest, IV fluids, medicine, and nutritional support are all alternatives that could be considered.

If your cat has a bacterial infection, including viral infection, antibiotics may be required.

You may make your cat feel better while it recovers by doing the following measures at home:

  • Make a comfortable, private resting spot for it.
  • Encourage it to eat by providing it with food. You may need to attract your cat with an odoriferous treat, such as fish, because a cat with an upper respiratory infection loses some of its sense of smell.
  • With a soft towel, wipe any discharge from its eyes and nose.
  • If your cat has trouble breathing, your vet may suggest putting him in a hot bathroom.
  • Follow the veterinarian’s instructions for using any medications he or she provides you.

Some upper respiratory infections can progress to pneumonia or cause other significant complications, such as blindness or chronic breathing issues if left untreated.

To keep these disorders at bay, keep your cat indoors to limit the risk of infection from infectious animals;

Isolate ill cats adequately to protect other pets in the neighborhood;

Vaccinate your cat according to your veterinarian’s instructions.

Vaccines for upper respiratory infections in cats do not prevent illness, but they can help to reduce the severity of infection.

Preventive care and frequent veterinary checks can aid in the early detection and treatment of problems.

A cat’s best defense against upper respiratory infection is a strong immune system.


Vet info: Diagnosing Respiratory Problems in Cats

Just Answer: Cat Making Gurgling Sound

West Park Animal Hospital: 

Feline Asthma and other Cat Breathing Noises

WebMD: Upper Respiratory Infections In Cats

WebMD: Noisy Breathing In Cats