Why Is My Cat Coughing

Why Is My Cat Coughing?

Coughing in cats can be a cause for concern for pet owners. Just like humans, cats can develop coughs for a variety of reasons. While occasional coughing may not be alarming, persistent or severe coughing may indicate an underlying health issue. Understanding the common causes of coughing in cats can help you determine whether veterinary attention is necessary.

1. Hairballs: One of the most common reasons for cats to cough is the presence of hairballs. Cats groom themselves by licking their fur, and this can lead to the accumulation of hair in their stomachs. When the hair cannot be expelled through normal digestion, it can irritate the throat, resulting in coughing.

2. Respiratory infections: Cats can develop respiratory infections, such as feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus, which can cause coughing. Other symptoms may include sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever.

3. Asthma: Feline asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can cause coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing. Certain triggers, such as allergens or stress, can exacerbate asthma symptoms in cats.

4. Heartworm disease: Although commonly associated with dogs, cats can also be affected by heartworm disease. Coughing can be a sign of heartworms affecting the lungs. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing, lethargy, and weight loss.

5. Allergies: Cats can be allergic to various substances, including pollen, dust mites, or certain foods. Allergies can cause coughing, sneezing, itching, and skin problems.

6. Foreign objects: Cats are known for their curious nature, and it’s not uncommon for them to accidentally inhale or swallow small objects. If a foreign object is lodged in their airways, it can cause coughing.

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7. Respiratory tumors: While less common, tumors in the respiratory system can cause coughing in cats. If your cat’s coughing is persistent, accompanied by weight loss or difficulty breathing, it’s important to have them evaluated by a veterinarian.


1. When should I be concerned about my cat’s coughing?
If your cat’s coughing is persistent, severe, or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Additionally, if your cat is a kitten, senior, or has pre-existing health conditions, it’s important to seek veterinary attention sooner.

2. Can I treat my cat’s cough at home?
Home remedies like steam therapy or providing a humidifier in your cat’s environment may help ease mild coughing. However, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian to identify the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

3. How is feline asthma diagnosed?
Feline asthma is typically diagnosed through a combination of physical examination, medical history, and diagnostic tests such as x-rays, blood tests, and bronchoscopy.

4. Can cats get COVID-19 and cough?
While rare, cats can get infected with COVID-19 and experience respiratory symptoms, including coughing. If you suspect your cat has been exposed to COVID-19, contact your veterinarian for guidance.

5. How can I prevent hairballs in my cat?
Regular grooming and brushing your cat’s fur can help reduce the amount of hair they ingest. Additionally, providing a high-fiber diet or using hairball prevention products recommended by your veterinarian can help prevent hairballs.

6. Can allergies be treated in cats?
Yes, allergies in cats can be managed through various methods such as avoiding allergens, using medications to relieve symptoms, or immunotherapy (allergy shots) in severe cases.

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7. Can heartworm disease be prevented in cats?
Yes, there are preventive medications available for cats to protect them from heartworm disease. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best prevention protocol for your cat.

In conclusion, coughing in cats can be caused by various factors ranging from hairballs to more serious health issues. If your cat is experiencing persistent or severe coughing, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.