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Why Won't My Cat Stop Coughing?

Why Won't My Cat Stop Coughing?

Does your cat cough instead of purr these days? When your cat coughs, it's a sign that there is something irritating their lungs, airway, or throat. Some causes of cat coughing or wheezing are relatively common and easy to treat, while others can be more serious. Here, our Greensboro vets share some common causes of cat coughs and what to do. 

Why Cats Cough

If your cat has started coughing, it will inevitably cause disruption to both you and your pet. It is common for cats to become agitated and apprehensive when they cough, and it might look very dramatic as if it's their last breath.

It's important to have your cat examined by a vet right away if your cat has an ongoing or severe cough. Your vet will be able to diagnose the cause of your cat's cough so that treatment can begin.

To determine the right treatment for your cat, the vet will need to determine what the actual cause is. The nature of your cat's cough along with other findings can help your vet to diagnose the cause of your cat's cough and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cat Coughing, Wheezing & Sneezing

There are a number of different reasons why your cat may be wheezing, coughing or sneezing. Below are a few of the most common: 


Asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder that our Greensboro veterinarians see. Cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors are more likely to develop asthma and may experience a cough as a symptom of the condition.


Cats can suffer from allergies the same way we do

Much like their people, cats often suffer from allergies that make them cough and sneeze or wheeze. 

Fungal Lung Infection

If your feline friend spends time outdoors they face an increased risk for a fungal infection. Fungal infections can result in coughing and other symptoms. When caught early fungal infections are typically easy to treat.


Heartworm disease is a deadly condition spread by mosquitos. Preventative medications are available from your vet that can help to protect your cat against this extremely serious disease.

Lung Cancer

Coughing can also be a sign of lung cancer in cats. Some lung tumors can be controlled with medication. If not, surgery may be an option for some cats.


Cat 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

Signs of congestive heart failure in cats include shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing. 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

A tight collar can put pressure on your kitty’s windpipe causing damage and leading 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.

Treatment for Cat Coughing

Your vet will determine what treatment is best for your cat's condition once they determine the cause of the illness. Do not attempt to treat your pet without seeking veterinary guidance. After your cat has been thoroughly examined, your vet will recommend appropriate treatment options. Your cat's treatment for coughing may include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids or other medications.

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.

If your cat is coughing, wheezing, or sneezing, contact our vets at Friendly Animal Clinic so we can diagnose their conditions and get them back to feeling healthy and living their life.

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