Why does my cat have a cough? Coughing is a protective instinct to clear the respiratory tract of corpuscles, mucus, and microbes. Therefore, it is not a disease but rather a symptom, and it is a symptom that often affects cats as well. There can be many causes that trigger it: a little tickle in the throat, a slight irritation, a little pain, and there it is, the first cough.
If you are dealing with sporadic episodes, don’t worry. It may be that your cat has gone through a piece of food or that an external corpuscle has entered his throat; if instead the cough becomes chronic, then it is necessary to investigate better.
First of all, it is good to clear up a misconception that often occurs with cats: when they expel hairballs, they are not coughing but vomiting.
Why does my cat have a cough?
Coughing is a respiratory system function and occurs when there is irritation or pathology of the throat, airways, or lungs. Therefore, when the cat tries to expel the hairballs it has swallowed, it can start from a cough, but the problem originates from the gastrointestinal tract and not from the respiratory one.
Indeed in cats, it can be difficult to distinguish between coughing and vomiting, but the simplest way to clear up the doubt is to observe what comes out of the mouth. If she expels food, hairballs, or bile, the cat is vomiting; if only a small amount of mucus or frothy clear liquid comes out, the cat is coughing.
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If you continue to have some doubts, the best thing you can do is record a video with your smartphone and show it to the vet: he will be able to tell you exactly what it is. It also monitors when coughing episodes occur: at night or during the day after the cat has eaten or after running; all of this information will help determine the cause of the cough.
The causes of feline cough
The causes that lead to cough are many; here are some:
- Asthma: is one of the most common respiratory diseases in cats. When something irritates the cat’s airways, they become inflamed and narrowed. He, therefore, has difficulty breathing, and this leads to a chronic and constant cough. Asthma can be made worse by pollen, mold, litter dust, perfume, obesity, and stress.
- Allergies: Symptoms are similar to those of asthma, but only the vet can determine what is bothering the cat.
- The pulmonary fungal Sezione: some fungi can cause infections of the lungs, which then lead to coughing.
- Diseases of the cardiovascular or respiratory system: pneumonia or heart failure also have a cough like symptoms. An X-ray, MRI, or EKG will help confirm or rule out this hypothesis at the discretion of your veterinarian.
- Lung cancer: some can be treated with medication, others require surgery
- Worms: often present in cat feces, they can bring discomfort and symptoms, including coughing.
How is cough in cats treated?
Treating cough in cats depends a lot on what triggered it. Options include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, other medications, and even surgery in more complex cases. If the cough is caused by asthma, there is no cure to defeat it, only to control it. What not to do is to administer medicines or start treatments without first consulting your veterinarian.
How to prevent a cough in cats?
- Do tests to rule out infections or parasites.
- Do not use room fragrances, hairspray, or sprays that can irritate the cat’s lungs.
- Check that the litter does not produce dust or that it has no particular scents.
- Have your cat lead a healthy lifestyle so that she doesn’t gain weight and make sure she moves enough (especially if she’s young) and doesn’t stay in her kennel all day.
- Eliminate sources of stress, such as sudden changes in routines related to meals or games: every activity should have the same time every day.
- Use a room humidifier, especially in the winter.
- Do not expose your cat to smoke, especially if he has asthma.