Causes and Treatments for Your Cat’s Coughing

Do you have a cat? Is she coughing a lot recently? Coughing in cats is not a normal behavior, and it can often signify a larger underlying problem. It’s important to try to figure out the potential cause of your cat’s coughing so you can determine the right treatment, too.

In the article below, we’ll explain some of the most likely causes of coughing in your cat, as well as some of the more serious and rarer ones. We’ll also let you know what the treatments are for these problems so you can know what to expect with your pet.

Causes For Cat’s Coughing Include:



Hairballs may cause acute coughing in cats. If you see your cat hunkered down and coughing while moving her head back and forth, she is most likely trying to spit up a hairball. If this coughing is soon followed by what appears to be vomiting with clumps of hair inside, then you know a hairball was the cause.

Coughing with hairballs is perfectly normal, and you don’t have to do anything for your cat if this happens. However, you may choose to feed your cat a little bit of over the counter hairball laxative to help the process go more smoothly next time.


Many cats suffer from different types of allergies. Cats may be allergic to specific contaminants in the environment, to pollen or other seasonal plant life, or to food. Any of these types of allergies can cause coughing, although seasonal allergies are the most likely.

If your cat has mild to moderate allergies, you may be able to help treat the problem at home. Use a humidifier to provide air that is more breathable for your cat, and make sure to keep her away from open windows or porches if her allergies are seasonal.

cat allergies


Respiratory Infection

Respiratory infections are one of the more common causes of coughing in cats. Cats are prone to developing respiratory infections, and many cats suffer from this type of illness at least once in their lives. If you think your cat could have a respiratory infection, take her to the vet, as she will likely need medication to feel better.

Respiratory infections should not be treated at home, as they may worsen suddenly. Instead, work with your vet to figure out if the problem is bacterial or viral. If it’s bacterial, an antibiotic should help.

Inhalation of Foreign Object

Coughing along with signs of immediate distress usually means your cat has inhaled or tried to swallow a foreign object. In this situation, you should react quickly and take your pet to the emergency vet right away, as she may be unable to breathe properly.

If you can see the object in your cat’s throat, you may try to gently remove it. However, if it is lodged too far in the throat or if the item is a long piece of string, you will need a vet’s help to remove it. Take your pet to the emergency vet immediately and let them know the issue needs attention right away.


Some types of cancer may contribute to coughing in cats. Lung cancer is the most likely type of cancer that might cause your cat to cough, but she may also develop a cough if she has cancers of the throat, nose, or mouth as well. Even liver or kidney cancer can sometimes lead to coughing in certain instances.

Cancer will make your cat appear sick in other ways as well. If you think your cat could be sick with cancer, talk to your vet for a full diagnosis. Your vet can then help you choose the right method of treatment or management.

Heart Disease

Some cats may develop a chronic cough as a result of heart disease. If your cat is older or has any predispositions to heart disease, this may mean she is more likely to have this issue. Heart disease comes with other symptoms aside from just coughing, and you can usually tell your cat is sick if she has this problem.

If you suspect your cat may have heart disease, talk to your vet for more information. Your vet may be able to help you manage your cat’s condition.

Cat Sick


When to Visit Your Veterinarian?

There are many potential causes of coughing in cats. It’s a good idea to observe your cat’s behavior and maybe even write it down for a few days so you can try to figure out which cause may be the most likely for your pet.

Of course, if you think your pet is in immediate distress or if you believe she may have one of the more severe problems on this list, don’t wait. Go to the vet or the emergency vet right away. The faster you respond to your cat’s crisis, the more likely she will be to recover fully.