Why Does My Cat Sound Like a Duck? Meow or Quack

As a cat owner, you’re probably well-acquainted with the wide range of sounds that emanate from your furry friend. From the usual meows to the occasional purrs and hisses, cats have a knack for expressing themselves in peculiar ways. But have you ever found yourself asking, “Why does my cat sound like a duck?” It’s a question that’s left many cat owners bewildered.

The answer to this peculiar phenomenon is both simple and intriguing. In a nutshell, your cat might sound like a duck due to the diverse array of vocalizations in a cat’s repertoire. 

But there’s more to this quirky cat behavior than meets the ear. In this article, we’re going to delve deeper into the world of feline vocalizations. Whether it’s a matter of mimicry, behavioral quirks, or something else entirely, understanding your cat’s vocalizations can deepen your bond and ensure their well-being. So, let’s decode the mysteries of your cat’s duck-like sounds and gain a greater appreciation for our unique and talkative feline friends.

Why Does My Cat Sound Like a Duck

Top 5 Reasons, Symptoms, and Solutions for Duck Noises in Cats

Common explanations of why cats mimic waterfowl include:

Reason 1: Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) from viruses, bacteria, or fungi irritate a cat’s throat and nasal passages. The resulting inflammation obstructs airways and alters meow sounds to odd croaks or honks.


  • Duck sounds when breathing
  • Nasal/eye discharge,
  • Coughing,
  • Sneezing,
  • Wheezing,
  • Rapid breathing,
  • lack of appetite,
  • Lethargy


  • You can find a variety of antibiotics and remedies catering to various cat-related ailments on the market.
  • For mild symptoms in your cat, providing a restful environment at home can be an effective treatment.
  • Nevertheless, in cases of severe symptoms, it is advisable to seek professional veterinary care for a thorough diagnosis and appropriate treatment recommendations.

Reason 2: Asthma

Like humans, cats can develop asthmatic allergic reactions to irritants like dust, pollution, or fragrances. Constricted airways cause difficulty breathing and high-pitched wheezing.


  • Gasping,
  • Wheezing (Will Sound like a Duck),
  • Open-mouth breathing,
  • Respiratory distress,
  • Blue-tinged gums


  • You can address asthma symptoms in cats by utilizing various over-the-counter medications.
  • Additionally, minimizing allergens and aerosols in your home can create a healthier breathing environment for both your cats and yourself.
  • If symptoms worsen, it’s crucial to contact your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause and seek appropriate intervention.

Reason 3: Hairballs

Cats maintain their cleanliness by using their tongues to groom their entire coat, eliminating dirt and debris. During this process, they may inadvertently accumulate hair in their mouths, which can then progress through their digestive system. The accumulation of these hair strands can form a hairball, potentially leading to obstruction.

When cats have hairballs, their actions may include making sounds resembling a duck while gagging, breathing, or even meowing. If you observe these duck-like sounds and signs of gagging, your cat may be in the midst of attempting to cough up a hairball.


  • Making weird (duck) noise,
  • Gagging,
  • Coughing,
  • Constipation


  • Be patient and allow your cat’s digestive system to naturally resolve the issue.
  • Home remedies, such as using petroleum jelly, can aid in facilitating the passage of hairballs.
  • Apply a small amount to your cat’s paws, allowing them to ingest it through licking, which can help expedite the elimination of the hairball.
  • Ensure adequate hydration.

Reason 4: Oral/Throat Tumors

While cats can experience various health issues, cancer is a significant concern, and throat cancer or tumors are uncommon but notable contributors. Lymphoma, a prevalent tumor in the throat and larynx, is one such example.

The larynx, housing the vocal cords, is susceptible to tumor development, causing considerable pain for the cat.  As the tumor forms around the vocal cords, it can alter the cat’s voice, resulting in a raspy or duck-like sound when they attempt to meow or vocalize pain.


  • Voice changes,
  • trouble eating,
  • Groaning consuming solid food,
  • Discomfort with every swallow,
  • Reduced appetite,
  • Avoiding their regular food,


  • Surgery, chemo, or radiation treatments.
  • If your cat shows signs of reduced appetite or stops eating altogether, it is crucial to promptly seek veterinary attention to address potential issues like throat cancer or tumors.

Reason 5: Other Causes of Their Unique Sound

If you’ve noticed your cat sounds like a duck, it doesn’t always mean that your cat is sick. It’s often in response to specific stimuli:

Bird Watching: When your cat sees birds outside, they may become excited and produce duck-like sounds as they “talk” to the birds.

Frustration: If your cat can’t reach a bird or a toy, they might make these sounds to express their frustration.

Hunting Practice: Some experts believe that these sounds can serve as a form of vocalized hunting practice, honing their skills for future prey.

Playfulness: Cats often make duck-like sounds during play, indicating their enthusiasm.

When Should You Visit the Vet?

While quirky cat croaks may seem harmless at first, schedule prompt veterinary assessment if also exhibiting:

Abnormal Behavior: Hiding, restlessness, aggression, anti-social behavior or personality changes accompanying odd meows indicate sickness.

Changes in Bathroom Habits: Straining, frequent small trips, accidents outside the litter box, abnormal urine or stools point to the bladder, kidney, or metabolic issues requiring treatment.

Repeated Vomiting: Persistent vomiting suggests gastro-intestinal blockages, infections, toxin ingestion, and metabolic or kidney disorders. Determine the underlying cause.

Fatigue/Weakness: Excessive resting, moving slowly, and sleeping more than normal signals potential illness, injury, anemia, or pain needing diagnosis.

Appetite Changes: Previous eager eaters refusing food for over 24 hours could have oral disease, fungal issues, renal failure, or cancer requiring attention.


In the world of cat ownership, surprises are a part of the package, and the duck-like sounds your cat makes are just one of those delightful quirks. Understanding the diverse vocalizations of your feline companion can deepen your bond and provide insights into their instincts and behaviors. So, let your cat be their chatty, duck-sounding self, and relish the uniqueness of your relationship. If you have more questions or intriguing cat stories to share, don’t hesitate to drop them in the comments section below. Thanks for reading, and may your cat’s duck impressions continue to bring joy to your life!

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