The pet is experiencing a regurgitative spasm in the throat like gagging and/or vomiting. Retching is quite common in pets and can be best described as unproductive vomiting. While it is usually no cause for concern when it occurs in cats, it can be a sign of serious issues in dogs. The most common cause of retching in cats is hairballs and is a minor issue. On the other hand, retching in dogs can indicate bloat, which can be fatal. Other causes of retching include kennel cough and foreign material that is stuck in the throat.