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Why is my cat coughing?

Has your cat’s purr turned into a cough? Coughing is a sign that something is irritating your kitty's lungs, airway, or throat. Today, our Mechanicsburg vets explain some of the reasons why your cat may be coughing, and what you can do to help.

Why Is my cat coughing?

Regardless of the cause,  watching your cat cough can be upsetting. Often when cats are coughing they become agitated and apprehensive, making it appear as if each cough will be their last.

If your cat has a persistent or severe cough, it is critical that you have your cat examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible so that they can diagnose and treat the cause of your cat's coughing. The nature of your cat's cough, as well as other findings, can assist your veterinarian in diagnosing the underlying cause and prescribing appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cat Coughing

There are several different reasons why your cat may be wheezing, coughing, or sneezing. Below are a few of the most common: 


  • Veterinarians observe asthma as the most prevalent feline respiratory disorder. Cats who spend at least a portion of their time outside are more likely to develop asthma and may exhibit coughing as a symptom.


  • Like people, cats can also suffer from allergies that make them cough and sneeze or wheeze. 

Fungal Lung Infection

  • Your cat could pick up a fungus from the soil if they spend time outdoors, and coughing is a common symptom. When detected early, fungal infections are most easily treated.


  • Heartworm disease is a fatal illness transmitted by mosquitoes. Your veterinarian can prescribe preventative medications to help safeguard your cat against this fatal disease.

Lung Cancer

  • Lung cancer is another potential cause of a cat cough. Some tumors can be controlled with medication. If not, surgery may be an option.


  • Cat coughing can be a sign of pneumonia. Pneumonia in cats can be diagnosed with X-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Congestive Heart Failure

  • Breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing are all indicators of congestive heart failure in cats. If your cat is struggling to breathe, you should consult a veterinarian. Ultrasound and electrocardiogram are diagnostic methods for heart failure.

Tight collars

  • If your cat's collar is too tight it can put pressure on your kitty’s windpipe causing damage and leading to a cough.


  • Worms are especially prevalent in felines. This is one reason why your cat should undergo regular blood and stool tests at the veterinarian. These tests can aid in the early detection of parasites, when they are most treatable.

Treating Your Cat's Cough

Cats' treatment for breathing difficulties and coughing will depend on the underlying cause. Do not attempt to treat your cat without guidance from your veterinarian.  Following a comprehensive examination, your veterinarian may prescribe cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, or other medications to treat your cat's ailment.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you think your cat's cough warrants a veterinary emergency? Contact our Mechanicsburg vets any time your cat needs urgent care.

Walk-in Patients Welcome

At Rossmoyne Animal Emergency Trauma Center you never need an appointment to access our full complement of emergency services. We treat both walk-in patients and referrals for urgent veterinary care.

Contact Us

Contact (717) 796-2334