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

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

Has your cat’s purr turned into a cough? Coughing is a sign that something is irritating your kitty's lungs, airway, or throat. Today, our Plains vets explain some of the reasons why your cat may be coughing, and what you can do to help.

Why Is My Cat Coughing?

Regardless of the cause,  watching your cat cough can be upsetting. Often when cats are coughing they become agitated and apprehensive, making it appear as if each cough will be their last.

If your kitty has an ongoing or severe cough, it's important to have your cat examined by a vet right away so they can diagnose and treat the cause of your cat's coughing. The nature of your cat's cough along with other findings can help your vet to diagnose the underlying cause and prescribe appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cat Coughing

There are several 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 vets 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.


  • Like people, cats can also suffer from allergies that make them cough and sneeze or wheeze. 

Fungal Lung Infection

  • If your kitty spends time outdoors they could pick up a fungus from the soil, and coughing is a common symptom. Fungal infections are most easily treated when caught early.


  • 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 very serious disease.

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.


  • 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

  • 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 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.

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 think your cat's cough warrants a veterinary emergency? Contact our Plains vets any time your cat needs urgent care.

From Happy Pet Owners

  • Northeast Veterinary Referral Hospital is a kind and caring environment. The Doctor is very knowledgeable and provided us with clear information that helped us make informed decisions.
    John W.

Contact (570) 208-8877