Why does my cat have a cough?

selective focus photo of brown tabby cat

Why does my cat have a cough? This guide has all the info you need on why cats cough, what might be causing it, and how to treat it. Plus, we’ve got answers to common questions and tips on preventing coughs and keeping your cat healthy.

Why does my cat have a cough?
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Is coughing dangerous in cats?

It depends on why your cat is coughing. Some reasons are easy to fix, while others might be more serious.

Here are the not-so-serious reasons:

  1. Your cat has something in its mouth or stuck on the roof of its mouth.
  2. The breathing part inside your cat might be a little irritated.
  3. Your cat might have choked on food or water.

Now, let’s learn more about these not-so-serious reasons:

Coughing in Cats: Why It Happens and What to Know

Cats can cough for different reasons. Let’s find out about a few of them:

  1. Things in the Mouth: Sometimes, cats get a piece of grass stuck on the roof of their mouth. It’s usually not a big deal, and only rarely does a vet need to help. Other things like threads, cat hair, or dust can also get stuck, making the cat cough. But don’t worry; it usually doesn’t last long.
  2. Irritated Breathing: Things like smoke, scented candles, or dusty litter can bother a cat’s breathing and make them cough. The good news is you can stop this by getting rid of these things!
  3. Food or Water Trouble: If a cat chokes on its food or water, it can cause coughing. Even though it might sound serious, it often gets better once the irritation goes away.

Apart from these not-so-serious reasons, sometimes, coughing in cats can happen because of illnesses or injuries.

cat cought
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Understanding Cat Coughs: Why They Happen and What to Do

First, let’s find out why cats might cough, and then we’ll talk about how to help them.

  1. Sicknesses You Can Catch: Sometimes, cats cough because of sickness caused by tiny things like viruses and bacteria. Kittens are more likely to get sick. Things like cat colds, infections, and even a bug called Bordetella can make them cough and feel unwell.
  2. Trouble from Tiny Worms: Cats can accidentally eat tiny worms called lungworms. These worms can go into their lungs and make them cough. The tricky part is, if one cat gets it, they might spread it to others through their poop!
  3. Just so you know, coughs caused by worms are often dry and loud, and there’s not much stuff coming out.
  4. To keep cats safe, vets recommend giving them medicine to stop these worms. If the vet thinks there might be worms, they might check the cat’s poop and do a blood test.
  5. Breathing Issues: Some cats have a long-term breathing problem called feline asthma. It makes them cough a lot, and it’s tough to make it go away completely. But vets have ways to help lessen the coughing.
  6. Fun fact: Certain cats like Siamese and Oriental cats are more likely to have this issue.
  7. Other Reasons: Cats can cough for different reasons, like hurting their breathing tubes, heart issues, growths, infections, or even problems with their lungs or the area around them.

Enough about why cats cough. Now, let’s talk about how we can figure out why your cat is coughing and what we can do to help.

Helping Your Coughing Cat: What You Can Do

What do you do when your cat is coughing and you’re not sure why? Cats don’t always cough like people or dogs, so it can be tricky to notice.

Here’s what you can do:

  1. Record the Coughing: Cats often crouch low and stretch their necks before coughing, making it look like they’re choking. If your cat coughs or seems different in how it breathes or acts, take a video. You can show this video to the vet to help them understand what’s going on. Cats are sneaky about being sick and might not cough during a vet visit, so videos can be super helpful!
  2. Share All the Details: Tell the vet everything you know about your cat. The more info, the better! Before the vet visit, be ready with answers to questions like:
  • Is your cat breathing differently than usual?
  • Any stuff coming out of her nose?
  • Does she sneeze?
  • Does this happen at certain times of the year?
  • How long has this been happening?
  • Are there any other pets around?
  • Does your cat go outside?
  • Anything that makes her cough, like smells or using the litter box?
  • When was she last treated for worms?
  • When was the last vaccinated?

Writing down these answers helps the vet understand your cat better and helps your cat feel better sooner. Keep an eye on your cat at home and notice if her belly moves a lot when she coughs or breathes. Your care and information are essential!

close up photo of tabby cat
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Finding Out Why Your Cat is Coughing: Helpful Tests

To figure out why your cat is coughing, we do a few things to help:

  1. Share Information: Remember all the details you wrote down about your cat? That helps the vet a lot! Your notes, videos, and the vet’s check-up are the first steps.
  2. Tests to Look Closer: The vet might do a few tests, like:
  • Blood Tests: They check the blood to understand what might be causing the cough. It’s like a detective tool!
  • X-rays: These are like special pictures that show the vet what’s happening inside your cat’s body. They look at the lungs, heart, and more.
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage (BAL): A fancy name! This test uses a gentle wash inside your cat’s airways to see if there’s anything unusual. It needs the cat to be sleepy for a bit.
  • Infectious Disease Testing: This checks for certain bugs that could be causing the cough.
  • Heartworm Tests: Special tests to see if your cat has heartworms.
  • Fecal Examination: A poop check to make sure there are no tiny worms causing trouble.

These tests help the vet understand what’s going on and how to help your cat feel better. And don’t worry, the vet makes sure your cat is comfortable during these checks!

Treating Cough in Cats

Once we figure out why your cat is coughing, we start giving them the right treatment. This might include special medicines like dewormers, antibiotics, or other helpful stuff.

But there’s something super important to remember:

If your cat is panting a lot, breathing fast, or if their gums look pale or strange, you need to act fast! Go to the vet or an emergency clinic right away!

Here’s what to do:

  1. Go Quickly: If you see your cat having a hard time breathing or if something seems wrong, head to the vet or emergency clinic right away. Don’t wait!
  2. Call Ahead: Give the vet a quick call before you go. Tell them you’re on your way. This way, they can get ready to help your cat as soon as you arrive. They might need to prepare special things like emergency tools and oxygen.

Remember, your fast action can make a big difference in helping your cat feel better!

yawning brown tabby kitten
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Will My Cat Get Better from Coughing?

It’s like asking if your cat will feel better when they’re coughing. The answer depends on why they’re coughing in the first place.

Here’s what might happen:

  • Quick Fix: If it’s something simple, like a cat cold or tiny worms, and you catch it early, the vet can help your cat feel better easily.
  • Not So Quick Fix: But if it’s something that stays around like a breathing problem called feline asthma, it won’t go away completely. The vet can still help make it better, though.
  • Fast Recovery: Sometimes, it’s super quick. For example, if your cat has a piece of grass stuck, the cough goes away once it’s removed.
  • Deeper Issue: But if it’s something more serious, like heart problems, the vet needs to treat the main issue for the cough to stop.

Remember, the vet is the best person to figure out what’s going on and how to help your cat feel their best again!

selective focus photo of brown tabby cat
Photo by Borna Bevanda on Unsplash

Frequently asked questions & answers

Can you stop cats from coughing?

Not always, but you can help by:

  • Keeping their litter box clean
  • Avoiding sick animals
  • Getting them vaccinated
  • Regularly giving them medicine to prevent bugs
  • Visiting the vet often

Can you fix cat coughs at home?

It depends on why they’re coughing. Some coughs need vet help. Never try fixing it at home without asking the vet first.

Why does my cat have a cough?

  • Short coughs might be from swallowing something odd.
  • Long-lasting coughs could be from sickness, allergies, or even serious things like heart issues. Only the vet knows for sure.

How to make a cat stop coughing?

The vet decides based on why they’re coughing. Medicine like dewormers, antibiotics, or other special things might be needed.

Can a cat cough from a heart problem?

Yes, it’s possible. If your cat has a known heart issue and coughs, go to the vet to check if the heart is causing it.

What if a cat chokes?

If it’s just for a moment, they might have swallowed something. But if it doesn’t stop, call the vet quickly to make sure it’s not an emergency.

What if a cat wheezes?

If it happens once, no worries. But if it keeps going, and your cat looks weird, call the vet ASAP. It could be serious.

What if antibiotics don’t help a cat’s cough?

Different reasons might be there. If antibiotics don’t work, the vet might need to try something else. Knowing the real cause helps treat it right.

What does a cat cough sound like?

Cats cough differently. They crouch and stretch before coughing, and it might sound like choking or vomiting.

Why do cats cough sometimes?

Dust or dry air might tickle their throat. If it happens rarely, check for these things. But if it keeps going, ask the vet. They know what to do!

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