Breathing diseases

Why does my Cat Cough so much?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Why does my Cat Cough so much?

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There are several causes that can cause coughing spells in cats. In this AnimalWised article we will review the main reasons that will allow us to answer the question: why does my cat cough so much?. By "so much" we will understand several times a day, for several days, so much that it catches our attention, even if it does not alter the routine of the cat or manifests in any other symptoms. In any case, it is a reason for veterinary consultation, so read on to find out why your cat keeps coughing.

You may also be interested in: Why is My Dog Panting So Much?
  1. Cats coughing
  2. Feline asthma
  3. Rhinotracheitis in cats
  4. Stronglys
  5. Other reasons why your cat is coughing

Cats coughing

As we have said, a cough at a certain point in time should not be cause for alarm, it is when this situation is repeated that we should seek veterinary advice, as it can be due to different reasons. Generally, coughing is intended to expel some foreign substance or item from the body. If this is the case, we will check if the cat starts coughing suddenly and continuously. The cough will present different characteristics depending on its origin point, and may have its cause in the throat or lung level. Apart from the sudden coughing spells, let's review the reasons why our cat coughs so much.

Feline asthma

Your cat will produce a cough of very variable intensity and periodicity. In some cats it is associated with an allergic reaction related to the peeling of human skin. This reaction involves histamines and eosinophils (a type of white blood cell that is associated with allergic reactions and parasitic infections). Occasionally, episodes of apnea occur, accompanied by these coughs, in which the cat runs out of breath. There is usually no other symptomatology. The diagnosis may be based on x-rays, which will show a certain lung pattern. A blood test can also reveal the level of eosinophils. In cases where allergy is suspected, appropriate tests may be performed.

Treatment of feline asthma will depend on the degree of severeness. Some cats won't need it, while others will need inhalers. More severe cases may require oxygen therapy. As we can see, the answer to why our cat coughs a lot is, in this case, respiratory distress at a pulmonary level.

Rhinotracheitis in cats

Rhinotracheitis is a very common and contagious viral disease among cats, especially in kittens that have not yet developed their immune system, cats carrying the feline immunodeficiency virus, which subtracts defenses, and cats resident in communities due to the ease with which it spreads. It is caused by herpesvirus and, in addition to coughing, it usually causes sneezing, nasal and ocular secretion, fever, lethargy and anorexia, since mucus interferes with the sense of smell and this, together with pain, prevents them from eating normally. When coughing, they will stretch the neck in a characteristic posture.

There is no treatment for these viruses, so support measures can only be prescribed that will include antibiotics to combat opportunistic secondary infections, fluid therapy for cases where dehydration occurs, in addition to the complementary drugs considered necessary by the veterinarian. It is very important to treat from the moment the first symptoms appear, as this is a life-threatening disease. It is important to know that cats that recover will become carriers of the virus. This means that rhinotracheitis will be able to explain why the cat coughs even if it has already passed the disease.

Why does my Cat Cough so much? - Rhinotracheitis in cats


Strongyls are parasite worms that, in one phase of their life cycle, invade the lungs of cats, causing a reaction that explains why our cat coughs so much. In addition, coughing is usually the only symptom and reflects a moderate to severe infestation. This cough occurs at rest and during times of activity.

Cats usually contract these parasites by eating small animals. Most cases are asymptomatic and can be resolved without treatment through the body's own defense mechanisms. They can be diagnosed by direct microscopic observation of a stool sample taken with the thermometer. When coughing, cats swallow strongyls that end up in the digestive system and therefore in the stool. It is treated with an antiparasitic agent of our veterinarian's choice.

Why does my Cat Cough so much? - Stronglys

Other reasons why your cat is coughing

Apart from the aforementioned, which are the most common reasons why your cat coughs, there are also other explanations to this behavior that vary highly in severeness:

  • Fungal infections: There are certain fungi that could be picked up by your cat when walking on soil. Each country has different types so there are many fungi that can invade our cat's body.
  • Heartworm: Especially in warm places, this disease can be common in cats. It is spread through mosquito bites and the symptoms of this condition are similar to those of asthma, which is why it is highly important to take your cat to the vet so they can be properly diagnosed.
  • Cancer: If this is the case, then you will notice other common symptoms such as rapid breathing, low energy levels, loss of apetite, weight loss, coughing blood and fever in some patients.
  • Pneumonia: This disease can affect cats as well as humans. This bacterial disease will also give your cat fever, they will lose their appetite and will commonly be dehydrated.
  • Congestive heart failure: There are many reasons why this condition may occur in felines. If this is your cat's case, it will be accompanied by blueish or grey gums, they may collapse, limb paralysis and loss of appetite. This condition may cause sudden death, so faced with any of the symptoms mentioned you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
  • Their collar: Does your cat wear a collar? If you have just put one on your cat or have changed it, your cat may feel that it is too tight and it is causing too much pressure in their windpipe.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Why does my Cat Cough so much?, we recommend you visit our Breathing diseases category.

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Why does my Cat Cough so much?