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Cat Can't Stop Coughing: Why is My Cat Coughing?

Cat Can't Stop Coughing: Why is My Cat Coughing?

If your cat's low, comforting purr has turned into a cough, this is a sign that something is irritating your four-legged companion's airway, throat, or lungs. In this post, our Turlock vets list some of the reasons your cat may be coughing, and what you can do to help.

Why is my cat coughing?

Regardless of what's causing your cat to cough, seeing them in such discomfort can be upsetting. Cats often become apprehensive and agitated when they are coughing, making it appear as if each cough might be their last. 

If your cat's cough is ongoing or severe, this qualifies as a veterinary emergency. It's important to bring them to a vet right away so the cause of the coughing can be diagnosed and treated. The nature of your cat's cough, along with other results from diagnostic tests, can help your vet to pinpoint the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate treatment. 

Causes of Cat Coughing 

Your cat may be coughing, wheezing, and/or sneezing for numerous potential reasons. Here are a few of the most common: 


This is the most common feline respiratory disorder diagnosed in cats. Asthma is more likely to develop in kitties who spend at least part of their time outdoors. Your cat may experience a cough as a common symptom.


Similar to people, cats can also suffer from allergies that cause them to sneeze, wheeze, or cough. 

Fungal Lung Infection 

This is another illness that your cat is at risk for by spending time outdoors. If a cat picks up a fungus from soil, they may develop a cough as a symptom of the fungal infection. These infections are most easily treated when detected early. 


Spread by mosquitos, heartworm disease is a very serious, potentially deadly illness. Fortunately, preventive medications are available from your vet and can help protect your cat. 

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is another potential cause of a cat cough. Some tumors can be controlled with medication. If not, surgery may be an option.


coughing can be a sign of pneumonia. Pneumonia in cats can be diagnosed with X-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing can all be signs of congestive heart failure in cats. If your cat is struggling to breathe it's time to see your vet. Heart failure can be diagnosed using ultrasound or electrocardiogram.

Tight collars

If your cat's collar is too tight, it can put pressure on your kitty’s windpipe. This can cause damage and lead to a cough.


Worms are particularly common in felines. It’s one reason your kitty should have regular blood and fecal tests at the vet. These tests can help to detect parasites early when they are most easily treated.

Treating Your Cat's Cough

Treatment for breathing problems and coughing in cats will depend upon the underlying cause. Do not try to treat your cat without the guidance of your vet.  Following a thorough examination, your vet may prescribe cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, or other drugs to treat your cat's health issue.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your cat's cough is a veterinary emergency? Contact our Turlock emergency vets to get your pet immediate care.

New Patients Welcome

Taylor Veterinary Emergency is accepting new patients! Our experienced Turlock vets are passionate about the health of cats and dogs. Get in touch today to book your first appointment.

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