You may never give a second thought to your cat's eating habits, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't. If your poor kitty's swallowing ever seems rather painstaking or exaggerated in nature, it could point to anything from a classic case of nausea to a medical condition such as dysphagia.
Dysphagia and Swallowing
Dysphagia is a medical condition characterized by problems with swallowing. Many different overarching ailments can contribute to the problematic swallowing, including tonsillitis, cancer, abscess and oral injury. Since dysphagia can have so many potentially diverse causes, some of which are extremely serious, it is crucial to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any overexaggerated swallowing actions. Whether a cat is dealing with oral inflammation or cranial nerve dysfunction -- there is just no guessing.
Symptoms of Dysphagia
If you want to be sure you're not just imagining your kitty's pronounced swallowing, look closely at her for any other telling indications of dysphagia. Some other symptoms of the condition are appetite swings, gagging, unpleasant odor emanating from the mouth area, excessive salivation, presence of blood within the saliva, coughing, hacking, loss of weight, fruitless swallowing efforts, runny nose, regurgitation and leaning of the head during mealtimes. If your cat is displaying even just one of these symptoms, seek out veterinary attention -- stat.
Nausea and Overexaggerated Swallowing
Overexaggerated swallowing may not always signify dysphagia. In some cases, this type of swallowing can mean something as simple as nausea. Right before your cat throws up, you may notice her displaying some "precursor" symptoms -- think lip licking and severe drooling. Whether your cat is about to throw up due to a sudden change in her diet or due to a condition such as pancreatitis, exaggerated swallowing may precede it.
A veterinarian will be able to determine the cause of your cat's difficulty in swallowing. Your cat may need to undergo some diagnostic testing, however, including blood work, X-rays and urinalysis. Once the vet is capable of pinpointing the exact root cause for the pesky swallowing dilemma, you and your cat can finally get on track to managing or eliminating it.