Jump to section

What is Coughing?

When it comes to coughing, there are various types that you should listen out for like whether it is dry or wet. Whether it has lasted over time as a chronic cough or has only suddenly occurred yet is causing your cat to have further complications, you may want to contact a professional to determine if there is some other underlying problem.

A cough is something that is common to other animals, but is rare in cats. When your cat does cough, there is either inflammation or irritants within their throat, airway, or lungs. It should not be confused with gagging; the sounds can be somewhat similar, but severe bouts of coughing can sometimes lead to retching. The cough itself though is not necessarily a disease or illness alone, but it may be the sign of one.

Coughing Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

Symptoms of Coughing in Cats

Coughing is an involuntary reflex of the body. It's your cat's way of expelling whatever is irritating the lungs, airways, or throat. If your cat has a cough, they may exhibit some of the signs listed below:

  • Moist/wet with mucous
  • Dry and hacking
  • Retching/vomiting
  • Signs of infection/illness (e.g. fever, running nose/eyes)
  • Difficulty breathing
arrow-up-icon

Top

Causes of Coughing in Cats

There are several different ailments that can bring about a cough. The causes can range from mild to severe. A few of the causes are listed below:

  • Tracheal irritation/collapse (due by excitement, tugging at collar, or drinking water)
  • Fluid accumulation (blood, water, or pus in the airways or lungs)
  • Upper/lower respiratory tract disease (e.g. Feline Bordetella)
  • Asthma
  • Hairballs
  • Allergies
  • Parasitic worms (e.g. heartworm, lungworm, roundworm)
  • Chest/lung tumors
  • Cold/flu
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps (benign growths from the mucous membranes in the nose)
  • Heart disease (rarely)
arrow-up-icon

Top

Diagnosis of Coughing in Cats

If your cat's cough is severe and an exact cause is undeterminable, your veterinarian may conduct an extensive workup to figure out the underlying problem. They will want a full medical history, which is where you can greatly assist in the diagnosis of the cough. You can keep track of whether there has been a change of environment for your cat, how often your cat has been coughing, whether or not it's dry or wet, and whether it occurs during specific hours of the day, such as at night. The vet will also take into consideration the indication of any other illnesses, and also your cat's age, as younger animals tend to develop coughs due to viral or bacterial infections.

Concerning tests, your vet may order a chest x-ray to examine the lungs for signs such as fluid or asthma. In the search for parasites, a stool sample will be taken. Further tests include blood work and a urinalysis. In order to check your cat's airways, your vet may utilize a bronchoscope or order transtracheal washing, which involves placing a tube down the windpipe to collect cells. To keep your cat calm, it may be sedated during the examination.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Treatment of Coughing in Cats

How your vet treats your cat's cough will be determined upon discovery of its cause.

Parasites

If the tests have yielded positive for parasites, then your cat will be treated based on the particular worm. For heartworms, your vet may want to assist your cat's breathing through the use of bronchodilators, and in severe cases, administer medication to kill the worms. The medication, however, poses risks and should only be a last resort consideration. Lungworms and roundworms are more easily treated with simple parasitic medication.

Antibiotics

Your vet may prescribe antibiotics in the event of infections. They are often given for at least two weeks or more, but even if your cat begins to show signs of improvement, it is recommended to carry on the treatment for as long as your vet prescribed, as symptoms may return otherwise.

Other Medications

In the case of asthma or allergies, anti-inflammatory drugs or antihistamines may be administered. Also, if the cough has lasted long enough to cause permanent damage to the mucous membrane, then your vet may want to give your cat supplements to repair it or even immune stimulants to help the body fight off any recurrent infections.

arrow-up-icon

Top

Recovery of Coughing in Cats

As coughing is rare in cats, it can be simple to get rid of it once the cause has been determined. If your cat has received treatment, you should still keep a watch in case the cough returns. For coughs caused by simple matters such as hairballs, then fixing your cat's diet should prevent any reoccurrences. As for asthma and allergies, try to keep an eye out in case any other symptoms develop or the coughs become worse. If possible, you may want to consider a change of environment.

In the more severe cases, following up with your veterinarian can only help prevent any worsening of your cat's position. For instance, in the case antibiotics have been prescribed, you should allow your vet to take a look at your cat to be certain the infection has been thoroughly treated.

arrow-up-icon

Top

*Wag! may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Items are sold by the retailer, not Wag!.

Coughing Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

arrow-up-icon

Top

Coughing Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

question-icon-cta

Ask a Vet

dog-name-icon

Jupitor

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Productive Cough
Wet Cough

I adopted a feral abused 4yr old male about 1yr ago from a shelter where he'd been caught and dropped off. He was pretty much "un-adoptable" as he is terrified of people, hide in his cage and wouldn't let anyone touch him. Its taken a year but he doesn't hide anymore isn't afraid of being near me but still becomes terrified if my hand goes near him...the reason Im telling you all this will be clear in a moment. He's developed a wet sounding cough in the last wk. I believe its productive you can hear the change in the cough but I think it's become more frequent today. My problem is how to get him to the vet plus knowing that he will not let the vet (or me) try to handle him once there...His name is Jupiter he's come so far in a year I don't know how to accomplish this with him.

Sept. 25, 2018

Jupitor's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Chief

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My 2 year old male orange tabby has coughed twice since we moved into a new apartment. It’s been 2 months and he’s coughe once a month. The first time I thought it was the dust because there was a lot of dust in the apartment but now I’m wondering if it is something worse or just allergies from a new environment. The coughing is dry and lasts less than a minute. Nothing is expelled during the coughing. He doesn’t seem to have a fever or any other symptoms

Sept. 1, 2018

Chief's Owner

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Gigi

dog-breed-icon

DMH

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

thumbs-up-icon

1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Throws Up

I have a fixed 3 year old female cat. About every month maybe once or twice she will throw up a small amount of clear liquid. She regularly eats dry cat food and doesn't go outside that much. She doesn't seem sick but I was wondering if you had any idea as to what can cause her to vomit clear liquid? Its mostly clear and doesn't seem to have any bugs/worms just clear with some air bubbles almost like foamy. She eats regularly, plays daily and has normal stool. She is the only one out of my cats that thowsup consistently every month.

Aug. 5, 2018

Gigi's Owner

answer-icon

Dr. Michele K. DVM

recommendation-ribbon

1611 Recommendations

There are many causes for that type of problem in cats, and if Gigi is otherwise healthy, you may be able to monitor her to make sure that the vomiting doesn't worsen. If she has longer hair, she may have problems with hairballs, and that can cause chronic irritation. Giving her a small amount of hairball laxative (you can buy this in pet stores or from a veterinarian) may help to keep that from happening. If it starts happening more frequently, she may need to see a veterinarian to be examined.

Aug. 5, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Wendell

dog-breed-icon

Orange tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Cat was gone for 6 months. We live in the country. He was afraid of a renters dog who just wanted to play. I think he was close by. He was ravenous the first few days. Then developed a hack, without hairballs or anything coming out, which was bad enough that he has accidents out the other end. Wondering if he has something from eating rodents for six months or perhaps the food does not agree with him. Costco green bag food which he was eating before his disappearance. He came to our daughter over a year ago and didn’t come back till the day she returned and she just tried to call him and he called back to her! We thought a coyote got him. We searched often for the six months he was gone.

July 30, 2018

Wendell's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

You should ensure that a new food bag is opened in case the other one spoiled over the past six months being open. Without examining Wendell I cannot narrow in on a specific cause and we don’t know what he has been eating, if he as a foreign object or what he may have picked up. Given his long absence I would recommend taking him into a Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 30, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Blondie

dog-breed-icon

American Short Hair

dog-age-icon

8 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My cat has a consistant cough, there are days when she doesn't cough at all then she starts again. I have had her to the Vet and she has been treated for toxo twice, given predisone and lasics also a throat exam, we just can't seem to pinpoint whats wrong. Is there anything we are missing?

July 29, 2018

Blondie's Owner

answer-icon

recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

It can be difficult to narrow in on a cause for constant coughing since there are many possible causes which may include infections, parasites, allergies, chemical irritation, heart disease, nausea among many other causes. Further examination is required to narrow in on a specific underlying cause. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 30, 2018

Was this experience helpful?

dog-name-icon

Punk

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

4 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Cough

My cat has a non-productive cough that lasts up to a minute and stops, sometimes it sounds like he is trying to cough up a hairball because he makes a gulping motion. No mucus, no watery eyes or nose. It is more wet than dry sounding. Sometimes when he is leaning over his cat tree he triggers a similar cough, but sometimes it starts when he is doing nothing. I am worried it is heartworm because he goes outside occaisionally, although I try to stay up to date with the preventive medication. This has been going on for at the very least over a year. Sometimes it is more frequent sometimes I forget about it because I do not see him do it for weeks or a month.

dog-name-icon

Spooky

dog-breed-icon

DOMESTIC BLACK

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

Watching my cat cough and seem to try and get something out of her throat , is frightening to watch. It’s like she’s possessed And after her last cough ; not only does her tongue extend out pretty far but also looks like her last breath of air. I’m very helpless watching her

dog-name-icon

Kitts

dog-breed-icon

dsh

dog-age-icon

10 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Coughing

My cat would have a coughing fit when she was startled! Don't laugh, but one of my others took pleasure in jumping out from behind corners to get this reaction. She would also cough when it was dry, or when she had exerted herself. For almost three years I did everything the vet said, treating it as a hairball, even though I firmly believed it was asthma. When I found a vet qualified to read a chest xray, I discovered I was right. Two weeks on prednisone and the coughing stopped. She's on a maintenance dose of 2.5 mg a week, and we're stretching it to every 10 days. If you know in your gut that what you're being asked to do isn't working for your pet, question it, and if you have to, find a new doctor!

dog-name-icon

Gilly

dog-breed-icon

tabby

dog-age-icon

16 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Cough
Long Fits Of Coughing

I got a cat from the local shelter and had him for a few months now. He’s older so I know he will probably pass soon but he seems to be in good health besides this. He has these coughing fits that go on for a minute of more usually but he never throws up afterwards. It sounds dry to me, almost like a broken squeaky toy. I’m worried that he’s in a lot of pain and that I may have to put him down but I don’t have money to take him to the vet. Please help me if you can at all

dog-name-icon

Harlyn

dog-breed-icon

Tabby Cat

dog-age-icon

2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

thumbs-up-icon

0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Hacking Cough

My cat has recently started dry coughing (sounds like a hair ball but nothing comes up) no vomiting just cough. We recently moved and had a lot of dust and trash that we went through in the moving process please help need to know if I should take her to the vet or not. She has done it for about 3 days now. No worms noted in her poop or anything just the cough. I did have to take her during the winter for allergies she was pulling her hair out and making places all over her self.

Coughing Average Cost

From 519 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$850

How can we help your pet?