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Why can't my cat stop coughing?

Have you noticed that your cat’s purr has become a cough? Something is likely irritating their airways, lungs or throat. While some causes are easy to treat, others are more complicated or serious. Today, our Murfreesboro vets list some possible causes. 

Why is my cat coughing?

Regardless of the cause, watching your cat cough or wheeze can be disturbing. Your kitty may become agitated and apprehensive, and each cough seems as though it will be the last.

If your cat has a severe, chronic or ongoing cough, it’s important to visit your veterinarian right away so they can properly diagnose and treat your pet.

The veterinarian will perform a physical examination and assess the nature of your cat’s coughing, wheezing or sneezing and other physical findings to diagnose the underlying cause.

Below, our Murfreesboro vets share some potential causes of your cat’s cough.

Common Causes of Cat Coughing


The most common feline respiratory disorder is most likely to afflict cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors. You may notice your cat wheezing or coughing if their lower airways are triggered by allergens and become inflamed. They may also have difficulty breathing.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure can cause coughing. Your veterinarian would be able to diagnose this condition with ultrasound or echocardiogram.

Fungal Lung Infection

Outdoor cats sometimes pick up a fungus from the soil. Coughing is a common symptom.


Spread by mosquitoes, heartworm disease often afflicts cats that live in areas with these bugs. Ask your vet for preventive medication.

Lung Cancer

Cat cough can also be caused by lung cancer. While some tumors can be controlled with medication, surgery may be an option if not.

Upper Respiratory Infection

If your cat is sneezing, the culprit may be an upper respiratory infection (known as cat flu). Many bacterial and viral infections can cause symptoms similar to the human cold, such as watery eyes, sneezing and congestion for kitties.

Tight Collars

Pressure on your cat’s windpipe can cause damage and lead to a cough.


Worms are common in felines. It’s one reason your pet gets regular blood and fecal tests at the vet.

Treatment for Cat Coughing

Treatment methods will vary depending on the cause of your cat’s cough. Do not attempt to treat your pet without speaking to your veterinarian.

Treatment options may include antibiotics, steroids, cough suppressants or other drugs, and potentially even surgery. Work with your vet to find the best option.

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.

Is your cat coughing? Contact our Murfreesboro vets right away to schedule an appointment. 

Caring for Pets in Murfreesboro

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