Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Reasons for Coughing in Cats

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 Poway 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 cat has a persistent or severe cough, you should have it examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible so that they can diagnose and treat the cause of the coughing. The nature of your cat's cough, as well as other findings, can help your veterinarian diagnose the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment.

Causes of Cat Coughing

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


  • According to veterinarians, asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder. Cats that spend at least some of their time outside are more likely to develop asthma, and coughing may be a symptom.


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

Fungal Lung Infection

  • Your cat could pick up a fungus from the soil if they spend time outdoors, and coughing is a common symptom. When detected early, fungal infections are most easily treated.


  • Heartworm disease is a fatal illness transmitted by mosquitoes. Your veterinarian can prescribe preventative medications to help safeguard your cat against this fatal 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

  • Breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing are all signs of congestive heart failure in cats. If your cat is having trouble breathing, you should consult a veterinarian. Ultrasounds and electrocardiograms are diagnostic tools for heart failure.

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 prevalent in felines. This is one reason why your cat should have regular blood and stool tests at the vet. These tests can help detect parasites at an early stage, when they are most treatable.

Treating Your Cat's Cough

The underlying cause of cats' breathing difficulties and coughing will determine the appropriate treatment. Do not attempt to treat your cat without consulting your veterinarian.  After conducting a thorough examination, your veterinarian may prescribe cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, or other medications to treat your cat's condition.

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.

Are you concerned about your cat's cough? Contact our Poway vets to schedule an appointment for your cat.

New Patients Welcome

Best Friends Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Poway companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Book Online (858) 679-7387