My cat is coughing: the 7 causes of cough in cats

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My cat is coughing: the 7 causes of cough in cats

Like any other animal or person, cats also cough, although they can do it for natural reasons with a sporadic cough or for specific reasons, such as when they are sick or trying to expel a hairball.

Knowing how to differentiate a cat’s cough makes the difference between having to worry and going to the vet urgently or treating our cat ourselves knowing that It will be fine.

We are going to explain what are the main reasons and causes why a cat has a cough, how to identify the type of cough, and what we should do about it. Some will need treatment while others will only need a few strokes and/or home remedies

Different types of coughs in cats

The first thing we must do is remain calm, we must not get nervous because we have heard our cat cough, even if it does it several times. The fundamental thing is to identify the type of cough that our cat has to know what is the origin of it.

There are many types of cough in cats, there is the dry and serious cough similar to that of a smoker, the soft and almost imperceptible cough, a cough with mucus, a cough accompanied by sneezing, and even a cough accompanied by strange noises similar to small beeps.

Paying a little attention we can quickly identify the type of cough that our cat has. We can even use a mobile application to record Itcough and analyze it over and over again, if necessary.

Knowing what our cat’s cough is like, we will be able to know what is happening to it and how to solve it. In some cases, it will be necessary to go to the vet while in most, it will simply be enough to solve the problem from the source.

My cat has a cough and mucus, with occasional sneezing

If our cat has a constant cough accompanied by sneezing and sometimes mucus or phlegm, it is more than likely that it is a viral or bacterial infection. Be careful, we should not be alarmed if It coughs a couple of times … but we should be more attentive to it in case the cough is chronic.

In these cases, the ideal is to visit the veterinarian to check your cat and diagnose it, it can be a simple cold or a cold that is too strong, which can lead to pneumonia.

It can also be a seasonal virus or bacterial disease, but only by performing certain veterinary tests can it be known exactly what is happening to it and therefore, give it appropriate medicinal treatment.

The main symptoms of a viral or bacterial infection in cats are:

  • Continuous cough
  • Possible sneezing.
  • The appearance of mucus or phlegm.
  • Watery eyes or appearance of greenish or dark rye.
  • Febrile states.

My cat has a dry and severe cough, like a smoker

When a cat has a constant harsh hacking cough, similar to that of a person who has smoked for many years, it is a problem with the bronchial tubes. Cats can also get bronchitis even if they don’t smoke, as there are several types of bronchitis, including viral.

A harsh cough in cats is a clear symptom of feline bronchitis, usually contracted by a virus or self-generated due to sudden changes in temperature or excessive air pollution.

The symptoms for this type of disease are very clear: 

  • Dry and harsh cough, constant.

The treatment for this type of cough is, however, very variable, depending on the state of irritation of the bronchi and the general condition of the cat, our veterinarian will prescribe a more or less intense, powerful medication. There is no home remedy to cure bronchitis in cats, it is mandatory to go to the vet.

Cat allergic cough

Besides tracheitis, a cat that coughs from an allergy can develop asthma. The cat then breathes with its mouth open and its neck outstretched. Its pupils are dilated and It lacks appetite. 

Asthma can be caused by an allergenic substance in the air called a pneumallergen. The most common are mites, dust, and pollens (birch, grasses). A cat victim of passive smoking may also develop asthma more easily.

You should not be alarmed, keeping calm you should call your veterinarian and explain what is happening. They will probably give you an urgent appointment to check the cat and make sure it is feline asthma.

Asthma in cats is much more common than people think, due to excess dust or environmental allergies, cats end up acquiring an increasingly persistent and strong chronic cough. Asthma is nothing more than an allergic derivation, so a cat with asthma can carry a normal visa as long as it is treated with the necessary medications.

My cat is coughing: the 7 causes of cough in cats

Genetic cough

Cough is also a symptom of esophageal hypomotility. It is a genetic disease that is found in particular in the Siamese. 

In this case, the cat regurgitates its food bolus, but without vomiting. It puts Its paws to Its mouth as if It’s trying to remove some inconvenient object. It also salivates a lot. As with a false path, this swallowing problem thus leads to coughing. 

My cat is coughing because of an improper diet

When a cat vomits very often and has a hoarse cough, it could be a hairball. The hairball in Its digestive tract called a trichobezoar paralyzes digestion. It can also become anorexic or constipated, especially when there is intestinal obstruction. 

The problem stems in this case from a lack of Omega 3 and 6 in the diet. The hair, too dry, is fixed in the stomach and the intestine. While a feline in the wild will find these Omega 3 and 6 in the fat of its prey, a cat with an unsuitable diet, such as light kibbles, will experience essential fatty acid deficiencies.

Finally, dilated cardiomyopathy is a final cause of cough in cats. It is caused by the general deterioration of the condition of Its heart and lungs. 

The dilated cardiomyopathy typically occurs in cats at a deficiency in L-carnitine and taurine in their diet. These nutrients present in offal and fresh meat are essential to the health of the carnivore.

This is why we observe a prevalence of this pathology in cats having a diet devoid of fresh meat. L-Carnitine and taurine cannot withstand cooking above 384.8°F (196 ° C): they are in fact absent from animal meals. Likewise, these nutrients are only naturally present in foods of animal origin. A cat on a vegan diet will not find them in Its food.

My cat has a cough and vomits

This is another of the most common situations in cats, the typical cough accompanied by vomiting or an attempt to vomit. It is a very characteristic cough since the cat, in addition to coughing, adopts a very specific posture, similar to how if it were stretching its neck horizontally.

The most normal thing is that it’s a ball of hair that is trying to expel itself causing vomiting. We all know what cats are licking and swallowing hair all day… it’s only a matter of time before they get a hairball in their throat or stomach and they try to expel it.

Most likely, after a few attempts, It will vomit a little hair with some bile, you should not worry if this is the case as the problem will have been solved. But if you see that it persists over and over again and cannot vomit the hairball … in some cases, it is necessary to go to the vet.

And it is not always about hairs, sometimes the most mischievous cats try to swallow poorly digestible objects, causing them to suffer from stomach pain or even get stuck halfway in the throat.

That is why we insist that if after several attempts It does not manage to vomit and It ends up with a strange cough, you must go to a veterinarian just to make sure that it is nothing serious.

My cat is coughing: the 7 causes of cough in cats

My cat has a cough and is very weak

When weakness accompanies a cough, nothing good is happening to our poor kitten. Sometimes you can confuse the type of cough with another more or less similar and think that it is nothing serious, however, when the cough is accompanied by weakness or weight loss, you must take it very seriously.

The main reason for this type of cough accompanied by weakness are internal parasites, which absorb all the nutrients from the food that the cat eats causing a very considerable lack of energy . That is why it is so important to always keep our cat well dewormed, to avoid such problems.

Another common reason is fungi, many of them will irritate our cat’s throat and weaken its immune system, making it appear sick and down. Whether they are parasites or fungi, a veterinarian will be the only one who can solve the problem with adequate medication.

Home remedies to cure a cough in cats

Do not be so naive thinking that with a little of this and that you can cure your cat if it is sick. While it is true that there are some basic recommendations for treating a cat’s cough, it is also true that there are no magic home remedies that prevent a visit to the vet.

If your cat is sick and you fool around with home remedies that you have read here and there and that claim to work … it is most likely that Its disease will get worse and then it will be much more difficult to cure it. You must be more careful if it is a kitten since small / baby cats have a very weak immune system.

Having a cat is a great responsibility, and that responsibility means having to go to a vet when It’s sick. If we do not have the financial means, we can go to an animal shelter and explain the problem.

Basic tips for treating a cat’s cough, recommendations: 

  • Always put fresh and clean water at your cat’s disposal.
  • Avoid that your cat breathes dust or smoke, do not clean the house in front of It or smoke.
  • Avoid sudden changes in temperature, especially outside the house, it is very cold or hot and inside the opposite.
  • Brush your cat daily to prevent it from swallowing excess hair when licking itself, do not buy toys that it can swallow.
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About Jessica Vanclap

Passionate about animals, but also about health, I did not hesitate for long in choosing my studies. Veterinary assistant by training, I worked in a veterinary clinic for several years. I then made the choice to share my knowledge and experiences by joining the training team of a school of Veterinary Assistant and Grooming.

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