Why Is Your Cat Coughing?

Cat coughing may signal a simple throat irritation but may also be caused by a severe condition such as cancer or lung problems. Cats may cough occasionally, as this is a normal phenomenon, however, if the cough is chronic and productive or the cat coughs up blood, these are signs that the cat may be suffering from a health problem. Knowing how to identify the reason why your pet coughs is important. Some of the most common causes of coughing in felines include ingested foreign objects, throat irritation, respiratory infections, allergies, heart problems or lung cancer.

Blockage of Air Passages

Cats may swallow different small objects that can block the air passages and the cat will cough, trying to dislodge the object, to be able to breathe normally.

The object may be harmless, but may also cause trachea or larynx damage (i.e. a metallic paper clip), so you need to remove the object to help your pet breathe. Tweezers may help in removing the foreign object; if you fail to remove the object, you should get veterinary help; meanwhile you need to make sure that your cat can breathe.

Throat Irritation

The cat’s throat may get irritated due to factors such as the inhalation of irritants or the ingestion of hot food or other objects that are dry and irritate the throat. Giving the cat water will help relieving the cough.

However, the throat may also be irritated by a collar that is too tight. Try to adjust the collar, so that the cat is more comfortable.

Respiratory Infections

Feline respiratory infections may be fungal, bacterial or viral. The cat will have a dry or productive cough and there will also be symptoms such as fever, runny nose, watery eyes or respiratory problems.

The source of the infection must be detected and according to the results, medication should be administered; antibiotics if the infection is viral or bacterial or fungicides if the cat has a fungal respiratory infection.

It is important to detect the infection and prevent it from spreading to the lungs, as pneumonia may be a serious health issue, especially in kittens, senior cats or immunocompromised felines.


Allergies typically occur in more sensitive felines over the age of 2 or 3. The allergens include pollens, mold, dust or smoke. Look for additional symptoms that may point to an allergic reaction: itchiness, runny nose, watery eyes and dermatitis, which occur after the cat has been exposed to the culprit allergen.

Tests should be performed to find the culprit allergen, so the vet can recommend a suitable course of treatment.

Heart Problems

Cardiomyopathy is a heart problem that may cause coughing. The cough will occur after the cat has performed strenuous activities. The cough is caused by the enlargement of the heart, which presses against the lungs, causing dry coughing.

Tumors or Lung Cancer

Tumors that affect the respiratory system can cause coughing. In addition, if the cat has a cancer that has spread to the lungs, coughing will be frequent.