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Cat Coughs

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Cat Cough (Feline Coughs)

Signs and Symptoms

While coughing may not be as common amongst cats as it is with some other animals, felines do exhibit this behavior. There are a multitude of different reasons why a cat may cough, and cat cough medicine will often be helpful with respect to treating this symptom. A cough can occur in a variety of forms, including dry, hacking, moist, and wheezing. It can also occur in isolated bouts, flare up intermittently, or be a more constant problem. Furthermore, cat coughs may be more likely occur at certain times than others. For example, sometimes a cat will cough more frequently after meals, after exercise, or at night.

Coughing is not actually an illness; rather, it's a symptom or response. Whether or not cat cough medicine will be appropriate for treating your pet will depend upon the cause of the cough. Often, a cat will cough for a trivial and non-serious reason. Sometimes, however, coughing can be a warning sign of an underlying illness or medical condition. If the latter case is true, the underlying condition will need to be identified and treated in order to protect your pet's health and well being. As a result, it's helpful to know what warning signs to look for when trying to determine the seriousness of your cat's cough.

If you notice that your cat is suffering from a cough, it's important to make note of the type of cough, when it occurs, and any other symptoms that your pet may be displaying. For example, a moist cough accompanied by mucus discharge from the nose, fever, and lethargy could indicate that your cat is suffering from an upper respiratory infection. On the other hand, a cough coinciding with breathing difficulties and bluish gums is suggestive of heart disease. A hacking cough that brings up blood and phlegm could be indicative of the presence of a lung tumor or pulmonary disease.

Thus, coughing can simply be a response to the presence of an irritant, or it can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. When a cat is coughing because of an illness, there will often be other signs and symptoms displayed as well. If your cat's cough is persistent, particularly distressing, or accompanied by any other symptoms or unusual behaviors, be sure to consult with a veterinarian immediately. The medical practitioner will be able to identify the cause of your pet's cough and inform you as to whether or not cat cough medicine will be an appropriate form of treatment, either on its own or in conjunction with other treatment methods.


If your cat is suffering from a concerning cough, the first thing a veterinarian will do is go over your pet's medical history and conduct a physical examination. At this stage, the practitioner will look for any signs and symptoms that could indicate potential causes of the cough. In addition, the doctor will speak to you, as the pet owner, about the observations you have made at home. For instance, you may be asked about the type of cough, when it typically occurs, and any other unusual behaviors or warning signs that your cat has been exhibiting. Also, the veterinarian will want to know how long the cough has been occurring. Most cases of persistent feline coughs are related to upper respiratory infections, which can be diagnosed relatively easily. However, in situations where further investigation is required in order to reach a diagnosis, there are a number of different tests and methods that can be employed.

Some of the different tests that may be necessary include blood tests, laboratory cultures, x-rays, and ultrasound. Blood tests allow a veterinarian to check for signs of infection or other illnesses. Measuring the levels of certain substances in a feline patient's blood sample provides a practitioner with a better picture of what may be happening in a cat's system to cause its cough and other symptoms. Laboratory cultures can also be used to identify particular infections. For example, culturing the bacteria obtained through an oropharyngeal swab can confirm the presence of Bordetella, which can cause primary and secondary upper respiratory infections in cats.

X-rays may also be employed. These radiographs allow veterinarians to examine a cat's internal structures and organs, such as the lungs. X-rays can reveal abnormalities, such as tumors or structural defects, which could be at the root of your cat's problem. Thoracic ultrasound can be used for a similar purpose, although it also allows for the inspection of soft tissues, which x-rays do not. Ultrasound is a particularly useful tool when examining the heart and looking for any possible cardiac problems. When trying to determine the cause of a cat's cough, one or more of the above diagnostic procedures will likely be used. Once the underlying condition or causative agent has been identified, an appropriate treatment plant can then be developed and implemented.


A cough is a sudden and noisy act of expiration that expels air from the lungs. A defense mechanism and natural reflex, coughing serves to expel foreign matter or accumulated secretions from the airways. In many cases, this reflex occurs in response to an irritation or inflammation of the mucus lining of the trachea or lungs. Sometimes a bout of coughing can lead to retching and even vomiting. As explained earlier, coughing is most typically a response to a non-serious trigger or irritant. However, at times, it can be a sign of a more serious disease or illness.


Potential causes and triggers of coughing in cats are numerous and varied. Some causes will diminish and go away without treatment, others respond well to simple home treatments, and still others require veterinary care. A cat's cough may be triggered by something as simple as ingesting too much water or drinking too fast, or by hairballs. Long-haired cats are particularly prone to fur balls and often cough, retch, and even vomit up matted hair. Allergies, foreign materials, and toxins can also make a cat cough. For example, inhaling a piece of grass, chemical fumes, or cigarette smoke can trigger coughing.

A variety of illnesses and medical conditions can also cause a cat to cough. Upper respiratory infections are frequently behind a feline's persistent cough, and can be caused by viruses or bacteria. One such infection that can affect cats is infectious tracheobronchitis, caused by the bacterium Bordetella Bronchiseptica. This is the feline version of "kennel cough" and more frequently occurs in environments where there are several cats sharing space, such as in a shelter or a multi-cat household. Parasitic infections, such as an infestation of roundworms or hookworms, can also cause this symptom. At times, a serious disease such as cancer can cause coughing, especially in the case of lung tumors. Although more common with dogs, heart disease can also give rise to a cat's cough. Therefore, there are many different potential causes and triggers for coughs in cats, some trivial and others more harmful.


The treatment required, if any, for your cat's cough will depend upon the causative agent or underlying condition that is giving rise to the symptom. Once a veterinarian has identified the cause, a treatment plan geared towards targeting the specific trigger or illness can then be implemented. For example, if your cat's problem is the result of a bacterial infection or infestation of worms, antibiotics or deworming medications may well be necessary. On the other hand, if allergies or hairballs are the cause, reduced exposure to the triggering irritant or regular grooming and high-fiber foods may be helpful.

In many cases, cat cough medicine will be a very beneficial treatment option, whether used alone or in conjunction with other treatment methods. If this is the case, you may wish to use a homeopathic respiratory aid for your pet. Such products consist of natural ingredients with a variety of different favorable properties that can have a very positive effect upon a cat suffering from a cough. For instance, licorice, plantain, and mullein all act as expectorants, loosening and aiding in the expelling of phlegm and secretions from the airway. Furthermore, marshmallow and colt's foot have anti-inflammatory properties and help to soothe irritated tissues. Homeopathic remedies use a combination of such natural ingredients in order to provide relief for cats suffering from troublesome coughs.

Suggested Products

Respiratory Aid for Cat Coughs

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