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Why Is My Cat Coughing?

By January 30, 2020August 10th, 2022Cats

Coughing is a normal part of life for humans and cats alike. Coughing helps the body for the clearness of the respiratory tract. Cats cough when anything irritates their pharynx, larynx, trachea, and tiny airways (bronchi).

In healthy cats, a rare cough is nothing to worry about. Only chronic, severe, or painful coughs require special treatment. You should take your cat to the vet right away if he has a bad cough that won’t go away. Getting a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible is essential for a quick recovery.

Here are a few possible causes of your cat’s coughing, and what you can do about it.

What Causes Cats To Cough?

In cats, coughing is usually caused by an inflammatory disease in the lower respiratory tract, such as bronchitis. Infections, especially those caused by bacteria like Bordetella or viruses like feline viral rhinotracheitis, frequently are the cause of this inflammation.

Coughing and respiratory issues may occasionally be caused by parasitic worms, notably heartworms. Coughing can also be brought on by allergies of various kinds.

Other causes of coughing in cats include the presence of foreign objects (like inhaled grass) inside the airways or discomfort from inhaled liquids or gasses. Coughing can occasionally be brought on by chest tumors.

When Should I Worry About My Cat Coughing?

If your cat’s dry cough is mild and temporary, no treatment is necessary. Dry wheezing, however, may be a sign that your cat is allergic to something in or around your home. Asthma affects 1 to 5 % of cats globally. Unless the cat is having difficulty, coughing up hairballs can also be common in cats.

Nevertheless, you should still look for hairball solutions in order to limit the impacts and creation of hairballs. If the cough persists or lasts for more than 2 days, it should be taken seriously.

Typically, wet coughs are more worrisome than dry coughs. When accompanied by additional symptoms like vomiting or weight loss, a cat who is coughing up mucus or other things may be suffering from a more serious disease.

If your cat is coughing more than usual, it’s important that you should take them to a vet right away for an examination.

What Causes Cats To Cough?

Coughing in cats can ultimately be caused by a wide variety of factors, ranging from the presence of dust in their environment to serious illnesses.

On the other hand, there is no obvious reason for coughing sometimes. Some of the most common reasons for cats’ cough are:


Many cats have allergies, which can cause them to have a dry cough. Pneumonitis is an allergic reaction that affects the lungs and airways and can result in a persistent cough that may be dry or moist.

Cats who have allergies may also have weight loss, breathing problems, and wheezing. Allergies might sometimes cause their eyes to water.

Asthma and allergies share many of the same symptoms, and it’s possible that the two conditions can occur simultaneously. It’s crucial to take your cat to the doctor if you think they may have allergies or asthma so that they can be treated and kept from having coughing fits.


Pollen, mould, dust mites, smoke, and other allergens can inflame the cat’s airways, resulting in an attack of feline asthma. The most common symptom is the Cat cough, although it’s not always the only one.

The cat may have asthma if the indications of Wheezing, fast breathing, vomiting, and lethargic behavior are found. Although there is no known cure for feline asthma, there are numerous treatments, including inhalers, injections, and medicines.

Although they won’t cure the underlying problem, they can restore a cat’s ability to breathe normally. Testing for allergens is frequently advised as well.

Once you have identified the root cause in your cat’s environment that is causing asthma attacks in your cats, you can start reducing your pet’s exposure. This will minimize the number of allergy triggers.

Infectious Bronchitis

This is inflammation of the airways in the lungs, which is caused by an infection. It can occur due to two reasons:

It might happen because of bacteria like Bordetella bronchiseptica and Mycoplasma spp. Rarely found alone, these bacteria frequently spread viruses to the lungs and/or upper airways. Coughing frequently comes on unexpectedly and is followed by sneezing with nasal mucus, decreased appetite, and activity.

Lungworms are parasites (Aelurostrongylus abstrusus or Eucoleus aerophilous). These parasites induce inflammation and cause cats to cough as they sit inside the lungs’ air passages. These are more prevalent in kittens who live outside.This is an infection-related inflammation of the airways in the lungs.

Heartworm Disease

Another typical cat illness that can make cats cough is heartworm. Heartworm symptoms in cats include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Gagging

It might be challenging for pet owners to recognize when something is significantly wrong because these symptoms also match allergies, asthma, and other ailments. Even when cats are receiving treatment, a heartworm can still be lethal.

Heartworms infect cats when a mosquito carrying heartworm larvae from another animal bites them. The cat’s heart and other key organs are where the larvae then develop and mature.

Heartworm can be fatal for cats, especially if the disease is left untreated for an extended period of time.

Inhalation Of Objects

One reason for your cat’s coughing could be that your cat may have inhaled a little object while roaming and is coughing to release it. Even food can go into the incorrect spot, and in this circumstance, coughing comes naturally.

Even though cats usually do their best to expel foreign objects and food that has become stuck in their airways through sneezing and/or coughing, they can sometimes become lodged, so it is important to get in touch with your vet if your cat’s coughing doesn’t improve.

How Will The Cough Be Treated?

Your cat’s treatment will depend on the diagnosis and its medical condition. In mild cases, symptomatic therapy with decongestant medications may be useful. Antibiotics will probably result in a quick recovery if the diagnosis is infectious, whether it be a primary viral illness with secondary bacterial infection or primary bacterial infection.

Usually, doctors would recommend taking antibiotics for at least two weeks, if not longer. Once the cat appears to be getting better, it’s critical to continue the medication. Otherwise, the infection may reappear and be harder to cure.

The mucous membrane surfaces in the lungs may sustain permanent damage and be incapable of healing if the coughing is a more continuing issue and has persisted for one to two months. These circumstances could lead to persistent and recurrent respiratory infections.

Supplements that are specifically designed to enhance mucous membrane repair or function as immune boosters are really beneficial for such cats.

When there is an allergic basis for the inflammation and the allergen cannot be identified and eliminated from the cat’s environment, anti-inflammatory medications may be used to control the inflammation. Chemotherapy may be a possibility in the case of particular cancer types.