On a fairly regular basis, my cat will do this thing where it looks like she's going to throw up, but then she only gags and nothing happens. One way to describe the motion would be a person who gags / acts like they're going to throw up but then covers their mouth like you'd see in a sitcom. Obviously my cat doesn't cover her mouth, but everything else is basically the same.

I've mentioned in a previous question that my cat likes to eat non-edible things such as paper, plastic, etc. I've made a conscious effort to hide any and all plastic over the last year, and I am fairly confident that she has not eaten any plastic in the last 8-12 months. She does occasionally manage to bite and chew a small piece of paper, but that seems to happen pretty infrequently and typically with only a very small piece of paper.

Why could she be doing this? Is it because of her past eating habits? Is it because she's a long haired cat and licks herself basically all day (i.e. she swallows a lot of fur)? Is there anything I could do with her diet to potentially help?

  • Hairballs seems likely...
    – keshlam
    Commented Dec 1, 2016 at 6:50

1 Answer 1


This is common behaviour when a cat has hairballs, and hairballs are especially common with long-haired cats. You can purchase a hairball remedy at any pet store, or order one on-line. It's a sticky brown gel/paste. The easiest way to get the cat to take it is to put some on the cat's fur (the cat will immediately lick it off to get its fur clean). You'll probably want to apply it once a week as a preventative measure.

From your profile, I gather that you're in the U.S. One of the common brands of hairball remedies is called Petromalt, if I remember correctly.

  • There are also cat treats that include the substance and seem to work quite well.
    – jwenting
    Commented Dec 6, 2016 at 9:16

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