Cat dry heaving / lip-licking - morning and evening, but otherwise seems okay? What's going on?

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Cat dry heaving / lip-licking - morning and evening, but otherwise seems okay? What's going on?

Post by Ducky »

Pedro is c.3-4 years old and around 6kg. Good teeth, shiny coat. Not a fussy eater. Typically he's hard as nails. He is out and about most of the day and doesn't have a curfew.

When I got up Monday morning he was in his usual tree bed. I gave him some fuss and as I walked away I heard the sound of him being sick. When I turned back there was no evidence, but he was licking his lips intermittently - more than I thought normal - so I thought it was just the morning 'bile' thing that they sometimes get if they haven't eaten all night. Then he dry heaved like he was gagging on something. Nothing came up. He followed me to the kitchen and had a nibble on some breakfast (he has wet food from a pouch) and went off on his daily rounds. He was in and out all day and seemed fine. When I went to bed that night, he was back in his bed and I went over to fuss him for a bit and noticed that he was doing the lip-licking thing again. I know this to be a sign of nausea, but he had eaten two pouches that day and nibbled on dry food. I wondered if he was struggling with a hairball (although I've never known him to have a problem with them) so I fetched some malt paste but he didn't like it (this particular one is an acquired taste). I gave him some Whiskas hairball treats which he ate, albeit his swallowing seemed a bit more pronounced, and then he brought them all back up again. He followed me up to bed and slept on my pillow. He likes my pillow but it's rare to see him there at night. I fetched some different malt paste on Tuesday, one that he likes, and he had a decent helping of it.

I didn't notice anything again until yesterday (Wednesday) evening. He was sat on the shed roof and I saw him dry-heave again. He had some more malt paste.

Today he's come and go all day. Eating fine, chasing Dottie, stopping for fuss. Tonight, 11pm'ish, after I'd gone to bed, he came up to see me, which is rare. I saw him dry-heave again. He wouldn't jump up on the bed, and waited until I got up and followed him. Downstairs we went. He didn't want any paste, nor any fuss. He seems unsettled and has paced the room a bit, moving between under the sofa (don't think he's hiding per se, but it's a spot he likes to hide in) and the armchair. He doesn't seem to want me near him. He's showing signs of feeling uncomfortable, possibly nauseous. I've not seen him being sick. I don't know what his toilet behaviour is like because I don't see it; he's never used a tray here.

I've poured over the interwaffle for ideas. A hairball seems to be a big possibility - it's the weather for it... but I don't want to assume it's that and overlook something more serious. He's not trying to cough anything up either... no coughing, no hacking, no wheezing. Just the swallowing and gagging. He's relatively short-haired (although he has lots of it).

We're on top of flea treatments, although overdue worming... he was last wormed in December. I did read about worms making cats gag :( so this is something I might need to look at doing tomorrow. We have some Drontal tablets here which make him a bit poorly too, so I'm always a bit hesitant. He doesn't like the Panacur paste in his food. That said, I don't think he's a mouser. I've never seen him chase or catch anything. He's too lazy and too well-fed. His best friend used to be a squirrel! He isn't losing any weight or looking scruffy.

It also seems to be mainly morning and night that it happens (I keep a diary of any strange behaviours - with five in the house it can be hard to keep mental notes). I can't see how it can be the heat when morning and evening are the coolest times of the day.

I can't keep him inside; it would mean keeping them all in and being stood at the door for 16 hours a day.

Our vet is only doing emergency appointments at the moment and short-staffed, although I'm prepared to make a fuss to get him seen if necessary.

What do you think it could be and what would you do next? Would you give it another day or two and monitor the situation? Can you think of anything serious that it could be?

All advice gratefully received.
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Re: Cat dry heaving / lip-licking - morning and evening, but otherwise seems okay? What's going on?

Post by fjm »

I think I would call the vet and ask for a phone consultation. If you can video the gagging that would help. The vet can tell you what to watch for, and whether he needs to be seen in the surgery.
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