Why Does My Cat Sound Like A Duck?

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We all have learned in our childhood that cats tend to meow and dogs tend to bark. But did you know your feline friend can produce a range of sounds depending on its emotions and any health conditions? A weird sound reported by many pet parents is a duck-like sound. But why does your cat produce this sound? Is it out of habit, stress, anger, or pain? There could be several reasons that are making your cat sound like a duck. However, only a vet visit can help narrow down the exact issue.

Let us learn about some reasons that could cause your cat to sound like a duck.

Reasons Cats Sound Like A Duck

1. Asthma:

The most common reason your cat is unable to produce its regular meow and sounds more like a duck is any possible difficulty in breathing. If your cat has ever been diagnosed with upper respiratory tract issues or asthma, it might show issues such as wheezing, difficulty in breathing, coughing, rapid breathing, or hacking.

As your cat is unable to breathe normally, the sound coming out might seem like a duck quacking. With time, this issue could worsen and would be followed by vomiting or open-mouthed breathing. These signs might vary in terms of intensity that range from chronic to acute respiratory issues.

Look out for signs such as:
  • Elevated respiration
  • Low-grade coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Struggling to breathe

It is important that you reach out to your vet as soon as possible to avoid any emergency situations. Asthma can be a life-threatening condition, and it is crucial that you act in time to save your pet. Apart from this, you can put in additional efforts to reduce the possibility of an asthma attack.

Make sure you prepare fragrance-free, low-dust cat litter. Do not use heavily scented perfumes or products when your cat is around you. You should also change the air filters in your HVAC system regularly to avoid dust or pathogens from entering the environment inside your house. Refrain from using sprays, aerosols, or any harsh chemical in the home and especially in the area where your cat roams frequently.

Clean the house on a regular basis, and most of all, refrain from smoking inside the house or around the cat.

2. Hair Balls:

Another known reason your cat might be sounding like a duck is the presence of hairballs in the throat area. Cats love to keep themselves clean. However, in the process, they accidentally ingest their loose hair. While some of these hairs make their way to the stomach and come out with poop, others might get stuck in the cat’s throat.

This can cause an itchy feeling in your cat’s throat, and they might try to induce self-vomiting to get rid of this hairball in the throat area. This effort taken to regurgitate the hairball might accidentally cause the production of duck-like sounds.

If the issue resolves itself within some time, you can relax that the cat has finally got rid of the hairball. You can also help your cat by introducing products that help eliminate hairballs, such as Dechra Cat Lax Hairball Formula. It is a palatable formula that helps prevent and eliminate hairballs.

In case this doesn’t stop and your cat continues producing this quacking sound, you should immediately reach out to your veterinarian and get an appointment for a quick checkup.

3. Cancer /Tumor in the Throat:

While your cat can suffer from a range of health issues, cancer could also be a major contributor to this list. Throat cancer or tumor tends to be very rare in felines regardless of their age. Among these, lymphoma is a common tumor that forms in the throat and larynx area.

The larynx is the part of your cat’s neck that houses its vocal cords. When tumors develop in this area, it could be extremely painful for the cat. Additionally, these tumors can deter your cat from eating solid food as it pains them every time they try to swallow something.

Given that this tumor develops around the cat’s vocal cords, it can cause the feline’s voice to change. So, you might hear a raspy and duck-like sound every time your cat tries to meow or call you out in pain. If your cat doesn’t eat its regular food, it could be a tell-tale that there could be an underlying condition such as throat cancer or a tumor.

Simply put, if your cat stops eating or has drastically reduced eating, make sure you rush to the veterinarian immediately.

4. Your Pet is Excited:

At times, the duck-like sound might not at all be associated with a health issue. Rather, it could be sign of your cat being super-happy or super-excited. Cats don’t show emotions as much as is seen with dogs. However, some cats show their emotions in ways that are very similar to dogs. If you have been out of the house for a long time and just returned, your cat might try to meow out of happiness, but the quivering excitement might make it sound like quacking.

Additionally, if your cat is a rescue that was abused or mistreated, they might show their emotions in a different way when you pet or love them. They might get over-emotional and start producing a duck-like sound.

5. Combined Sneezing and Coughing:

Remember the last time you had a bad cold, and you sneezed and coughed at the same time? The sound you produced would have been nothing less than monstrous. Well, the same thing happens with cats too. If your cat is suffering from cold and cough issues, they might sneeze and cough at the same time, during which they produce this weird sound that mimics a duck’s quacking closely.

If this is the case, make sure you check in with your veterinarian and get your pet treated with some antibiotics and other suitable medicines.

While we are on this topic, here are some more sounds produced by cats and the reasons behind them.

Cat Sound Reason  
Clickety Chirp Used to terrorize the birds flying around outside the house
Friendly Trill Cats produce this sound when they are about to get something they love, like toys or treats
Bark Cats produce this sound when there is a dog around and try to mimic
Bleat Mostly produced by kittens out of excitement or joy
Whine Cats whine due to hunger or pain  
Growling Cats tend to growl when they are angry
Scurrying Cats produce this sound when playing with their humans or other cats


It is important that you don’t ignore this sound as it could denote the presence of an underlying health issue. An occasional quack-like sound is fine, but if it happens for a long time, it is crucial that you get your pet treated at the earliest.

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