Cat coughing? Here’s What This May Mean

Cat coughing

A cat coughing may seem like a typical scenario, and it usually is. However, if your cat is doing it too often or even regularly, then you should get up on your feet and have your cat checked. That is because there might be another underlying reason for it.


Some of the reasons for cat coughing are Viral Respiratory Infection, Chronic Bronchitis, Pneumonia, and a foreign body in your cat’s throat.


Find out more about these underlying causes to give your cat the proper treatment and medication!


What Does Cat Cough Sound Like?

Cat coughing can be classified into a dry cough or wet cough, but there are other sounds cats make that can be mistaken as coughing, such as retching, cat sneezing (reverse sneezing), and vomiting.


We have outlined them below.


Dry Cough

It usually sounds like a “honk” or wheezing, and cats do not swallow afterward.


Wet Cough

Unlike a dry cough, a wet cough sounds like something is caught at the back of your cat’s throat. Usually, a cat swallows afterward, and an exaggerated movement can be seen in your cat’s throat.


Other sounds that can be mistaken for cat coughing are:



It typically occurs when something is caught at the back of your cat’s throat. Cats usually make sudden loud noises, and their mouths open briefly before shutting again.


Retching can occur after coughing, and sometimes, a small amount of food or fluid might come out of your cat’s mouth.


Cat Sneezing

Cat sneezing or reverse sneezing usually occurs in fits. An irritation causes it in your cat’s nasal cavity and throat.


Multiple sneezes might happen in three seconds (without pause) with your cat’s lips pulled back as he draws air inward (instead of outward, like what is seen on a cat coughing).



Vomiting happens when your cat’s body releases stomach contents out through its mouth, and food, fluid, or a furball might come out during the process.



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Causes of Coughing in Cats

cat wearing a face mask


Viral Respiratory Infection

Cat coughing may be caused by a viral respiratory infection (feline herpesvirus-1 or feline calicivirus). This virus is contagious and can be transferred from one cat to another, but it is common.


This virus affects a cat’s upper airways (like the nose and throat). Once a cat’s airway is inflamed or irritated, coughing may occur.


Chronic Bronchitis (commonly known as asthma)

This disease is related to the inflammation of a cat’s air passages and causes a chronic dry cough. Oriental and Siamese cats are predisposed to this health condition.



Generally, this refers to the inflammation of your cat’s lungs.


It can make your feline friend feel very sick, feverish, and even give them difficulty breathing.


Foreign Body in the Throat

A small object or even your cat’s furball can get caught in their throat and cause them to cough. Take note that the presence of a foreign body can create an inflammation, which may lead to mucus forming and, later on, your cat coughing.


Allergens in the Environment

Because of how polluted the world is now, there are many allergens that can be found. Allergens in the environment like dust, pollen, and smoke can contribute to coughing in cats. It is similar to how many people these days develop more allergies to dust and other particles in the air.


That is why you must make sure that their litter is always clean, your house is free from any pollutants that might trigger your cat’s coughing, and if you take them outside to play, make sure to take them out when there are fewer smoke-emitting vehicles outside.


How to Treat Coughing in Cats

A coughing cat should be treated by determining the cause of uncontrolled coughing, so they must get diagnosed by a licensed Veterinarian. Some of the treatments your coughing cat may receive are:


  • Anti-biotics
  • Antiparasitics
  • Steroids


Remember that these medicines would be bought only if there were prescribed by the Vet to your cat. Some cats have allergies to certain medications, so never, under any circumstance, put your cat’s life in danger by self-prescribing them with antibiotics, antiparasitic, or steroids.


What To Expect At The Vet’s Office

a cat and a stethoscope


When you bring your cat to the Vet’s office, you will be asked a couple of questions. It would be best if you have a video of your cat sneezing, retching, or coughing so that the Vet can determine your cat’s condition properly and the necessary medication needed.


Some of the questions your Vet may ask to include:

  • For how long is your cat coughing?
  • Is the cough wet or dry?
  • Are there any other symptoms besides coughing?
  • Does your cat go outside the house?
  • Is your cat receiving treatment to combat parasitic worms?


If you are unsure whether your cat’s coughing is regular or not, take them to the Vet to be sure. Do not think twice and risk putting your cat’s life in jeopardy. Consult an expert immediately.


Should I Worry About My Coughing Cat?

If you see your cat sneezing uncontrollably or coughing a lot and in distress, you should immediately take them to a veterinarian.


Some symptoms that indicate your cat needs immediate medical attention include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Decreased level of physical activity
  • Hiding from you or staying in places not easily accessible by anyone
  • Breathing rate increases (over 60 breaths per minute)


Can Cat Coughing Be Prevented?

Yes, it can. Although there is no guarantee that your furry friend will not have coughs for the rest of their life, at least you can lessen the chances that your feline friend will incur problems that may lead to uncontrolled coughing. Here are some tips you can follow:

  • Have your cat tested for parasites
  • Avoid using strong perfumes, air fresheners, carpet deodorizers, aerosol cleaner, and hairspray in their presence since this can irritate their lungs.
  • Opt for a cat litter that does not have an extra or added scent
  • Keep your pet physically active
  • Avoid stressing out your cat. Felines usually get stressed when their routine or surroundings change. Feed them every day at the same time, and keep their cleaning and play schedule the same
  • Avoid exposing your cat to any kinds of smoke (cigarette smoke, vehicle smoke, grill smoke, etc.)



If you hear your cat coughing, keep a close eye on them and monitor them often. If it goes away after a short time, it must have been just a temporary case. However, if your cat has been coughing for at least a week could have a chronic medical issue that needs immediate attention.


If you are thinking about whether to bring your cat to the Vet’s office or not, do not hesitate or do not think twice and take your feline friend to an expert immediately.


You can follow some of the abovementioned steps to help prevent coughing in your cat, but do take note that these are just preventive measures to help your cat avoid coughs caused by external factors like pollen, smoke, dust, and allergens, and there are still other internal factors at play like viruses, bacteria, and parasites.


It would help keep a healthy and clean environment, avoid stressing out your cat, have your cat checked regularly, and pay attention to its health.


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A pet owner who loves to share useful facts and information about a variety of animals.