Cat Coughing - What are the possible causes and the different treatments?

The most common causes of cat coughing are allergic rhinitis, respiratory infection, and asthma.
Coughing is a common symptom in cats, and it can have a variety of causes. Some causes are minor and resolve on their own, while others can be more serious and require veterinary attention. Here are some possible causes of cat coughing:
  1. Hairballs: Hairballs are a common cause of coughing in cats, especially in long-haired breeds. Cats swallow hair while grooming, and if it accumulates in their digestive system, it can cause irritation and coughing.
  2. Respiratory infections: Upper respiratory infections (URIs) can cause coughing in cats. These infections are typically caused by viruses or bacteria, and they can be highly contagious. Symptoms of a URI may include coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and fever.
  3. Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that can cause coughing in cats. It occurs when the airways become inflamed and narrowed, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. Asthma can be triggered by allergens, stress, or exercise.
  4. Heart disease: Heart disease can cause coughing in cats, particularly when the cat is lying down. Heart disease can lead to fluid buildup in the lungs, which can cause coughing and difficulty breathing.
  5. Lung disease: Lung disease, such as pneumonia or bronchitis, can cause coughing in cats. These conditions are typically caused by bacterial or viral infections, and they can be serious if left untreated.
  6. Allergies: Cats can develop allergies to a variety of substances, including pollen, dust, and certain foods. Allergies can cause respiratory symptoms, including coughing.
  7. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP): FIP is a viral disease that can cause coughing in cats. It is a serious and often fatal disease that can affect multiple organs, including the respiratory system.
  8. Cancer: Lung cancer or cancer that has spread to the lungs can cause coughing in cats. Other symptoms may include difficulty breathing, weight loss, and lethargy.
  9. Foreign objects: Cats may cough if they have swallowed a foreign object, such as a toy or piece of string. The object can become lodged in the cat's throat, causing irritation and coughing.
  10. Dental disease: Dental disease can cause coughing in cats, particularly if the cat has an abscessed tooth or other oral infection. The infection can spread to the respiratory system, causing coughing and other symptoms.
  11. Parasites: Parasites such as lungworms can cause coughing in cats. These worms live in the respiratory system and can cause inflammation and coughing.
  12. Chemical irritants: Exposure to certain chemicals, such as household cleaners or pesticides, can cause coughing in cats. These chemicals can irritate the respiratory system and cause coughing, wheezing, and other symptoms.
  13. Trauma: Trauma to the chest, such as being hit by a car or falling from a high place, can cause coughing in cats. The trauma can cause damage to the respiratory system or the lungs, leading to coughing and other symptoms.
  14. Collapsing trachea: In some cases, the trachea (windpipe) can collapse, causing coughing in cats. This condition is more common in small breeds and can be exacerbated by obesity.
  15. Anxiety: Cats that are anxious or stressed may cough as a result of hyperventilation. This can cause the cat to take shallow breaths, leading to coughing and other symptoms.

What are different types of cat coughing treatments?

Treatment for cat coughing will depend on the underlying cause of the cough. Here are some common treatments for different types of cat coughing:

  1. Hairballs: For hairball-related coughing, prevention is key. Regular grooming can help prevent excessive hair ingestion, and feeding your cat a specialized hairball control diet can help reduce the formation of hairballs. If your cat is already experiencing hairball-related coughing, giving them a hairball remedy or laxative can help move the hair through their digestive system.
  2. Respiratory infections: Treatment for respiratory infections will depend on the cause of the infection. Viral infections are typically self-limiting, and treatment may involve supportive care, such as providing fluids, keeping the cat warm and comfortable, and using a humidifier to help ease breathing. Bacterial infections may require antibiotics.
  3. Asthma: Treatment for feline asthma typically involves medications that help open the airways and reduce inflammation. These may include bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and leukotriene inhibitors. In severe cases, hospitalization and oxygen therapy may be necessary.
  4. Heart disease: Treatment for heart disease may involve medications to help manage the condition, such as diuretics to reduce fluid buildup in the lungs, and ACE inhibitors to help improve heart function. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary.
  5. Lung disease: Treatment for lung disease will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Bacterial or viral infections may require antibiotics, while inflammation may be treated with corticosteroids.
  6. Allergies: Treatment for allergies may involve identifying and avoiding the allergen, as well as medications to help manage symptoms. These may include antihistamines, corticosteroids, and immunotherapy.
  7. Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP): Unfortunately, there is no cure for FIP. Treatment typically involves supportive care to manage symptoms, such as fluid therapy and medications to reduce inflammation.
  8. Cancer: Treatment for cancer will depend on the type and severity of the cancer. Treatment may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these treatments.
  9. Foreign objects: If your cat has swallowed a foreign object, treatment may involve removing the object through endoscopy or surgery.
  10. Dental disease: Treatment for dental disease will involve addressing the underlying dental issue, such as removing a damaged tooth or treating an abscess. Antibiotics may also be necessary to treat any secondary infections.
  11. Parasites: Treatment for parasitic infections will depend on the type of parasite. Lungworms may be treated with deworming medications, while other parasites may require more specialized treatment.
  12. Chemical irritants: Treatment for chemical exposure will depend on the severity of the exposure. If the exposure is minor, removing the cat from the environment and providing supportive care may be sufficient. In more severe cases, hospitalization and specialized treatment may be necessary.