Some of the Common Causes of Coughing in Cats

Coughing in cats is a symptom that could indicate various conditions, from less to more serious, depending on whether it's dry, repetitive, chronic ...
Some of the Common Causes of Coughing in Cats

Last update: 27 March, 2021

The problem of coughing in cats doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. In contrast, some people get really scared when their furry friend coughs, especially if the cough doesn’t go away. Indeed, it can be a sign of different diseases, and so the best course of action is to consult a veterinarian.

What are the causes of coughing though? Well, it’s a reflex caused by the irritation of the respiratory tract. Common causes are a bacterial or viral infection, ingestion of a foreign object, an allergic reaction, feline asthma, and even pressure from the collar.

The sounds coughing cats make are different from humans; for this reason, the problem is easily identifiable.

Causes of coughing in cats


Some viruses seriously affect the respiratory system of domestic felines. In addition to coughing, the symptoms include greenish nasal secretions, lack of appetite, watery eyes, fever, etc.


There are times when the cause is right there at home. It can be due to bacterial or viral agents, or even things like tobacco smoke or a strong perfume could be to blame.

The solution is simple in these cases, just keep your cat away from such irritants.

Heart failure could lead to coughing in cats

There may be a more serious cause, even though it may seem like a typical cough where there’s neither fever nor nasal secretions. A cat with heart failure will cough continuously.

It’s very important to consult the veterinarian in these cases as only they can diagnose and prescribe the appropriate treatment. In fact, it isn’t only a matter of relieving the cough, but of addressing the underlying problem – heart failure.

Presence of foreign elements

Animals are quite curious about things they find in the garden, in the park, etc. They may eat them and it’ll lead to a reaction in their body as they try to expel them. The energy exerted trying to eject it can manifest as coughing.

The collar is too tight

It may be due to absent-mindedness or a bad habit but some owners tie their cat’s collar too tight. The pressure can easily lead to a dry cough.

A cat yawning.

As you can see, it’s very important to make sure there’s room for two fingers between the collar and the animal’s neck when attaching the collar. There could be serious risks for the cat’s health otherwise.

Parasites and bacteria

Some parasites may settle in the cat’s lung wall and cause coughing at some point in your cat’s life. Among other things, this symptom will appear as difficulty breathing.

Some bacteria love cats, and kittens are their favorite. In addition, they may cause coughing, eye discharge, sneezing, fever, etc.


An animal will have difficulty breathing when they have asthma, and there may also be coughing, a general decline, and exhaustion.


Certain medications, insect bites, and even food can cause allergies in your cats. Along with coughing, there’ll be an inflammation of the respiratory tract, skin, and red watery eyes.

Is coughing in cats serious?

As you can see, coughing isn’t such a big deal when it happens once in a while. However, you must consult your vet immediately if it’s persistent.

A cat sitting looking pretty.

Which types of cough are severe?

  • A dry cough, which occurs at the same time as the cat extending its neck may be the symptom of chronic bronchitis in the animal.
  • When there’s cough as well as red eyes, greenish secretions, and sneezing, then the cause is most likely a bacterium or a virus and you must consult a doctor as soon as possible.
  • A dry cough, with breathing difficulties and wheezing or whistling when breathing may be indicative of feline asthma.
  • Coughing after exercise may be a sign of acute bronchitis in cats.
  • An animal who coughs when at rest or asleep could soon suffer from heart failure.

Coughing in cats – treatment

There are many treatments, depending on the severity of the cough and the agent that originates it. One of them could be an injected or oral solution. Don’t ever medicate your pet on your own; always consult a veterinarian who can prescribe an appropriate treatment.

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