Why Is My Cat Coughing So Much in Wicker Park, I?

Like humans, cats sometimes will cough. Most of the time this coughing is nothing that cat owners need to worry about. however, occasionally coughing in cats can be a sign of something a bit more serious.

In this article we will be explaining all of the reasons why cats cough and how you can tell which cause is affecting your cat. In addition to this, we will also be describing when you should take your cat to the vet for their coughing. 

cat coughing wicker park il

Common Causes of Cat Coughing 

There are a variety of reasons why your cat is coughing. The main ones are listed below: 

Something Is Irritating their Airway

Possibly the most common cause for coughing in cats is that they have inhaled something that is irritating their throat. Things like dust, pollen, and even specs of dirt can temporarily irritate the airway, causing the cat to cough. This cause is nothing that cat owners need to worry about, and this is usually the cause for the occasional cough.


Some cat lovers may be surprised to discover that cats can have asthma, and that this can make them have coughing fits when their airway becomes irritated. Things like dust, pollen, candle and cigarette smoke, and mold can cause these coughing fits in asthmatic cats. Considering that asthma attacks can be very severe in cats, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if they are showing any of the following signs of an asthma attack.

The signs of an asthma attack include:

  • Difficulties breathing (may be opening their mouth to breathe)
  • Wheezing, gurgling, or raspy breaths
  • Frothing at the mouth
  • Blue gums and lips
  • Lethargy

Upper Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are actually fairly common in cats, and they frequently cause coughing. Although there are a variety of different viral infections that can cause coughing in cats, there are some common symptoms that cat owners can look out for in addition to coughing such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
  • Reduced appetite
  • Drooling
  • Nasal and eye discharge (may be clear or colored)

Although upper respiratory conditions are not usually life threatening in cats, it is still a good idea to take your cat to the veterinarian if you suspect that they are sick. This way your cat can get properly diagnosed and receive some treatment that can help them fight the infection more quickly and reduce their symptoms.

Parasitic Infections

In some more rare cases, coughing can be caused by a parasitic infection. Parasites called lung worms can actually infect a cat’s lungs. These parasites are fairly uncommon, but they can sometimes be seen in cats that like to go outside. Frequent coughing is the most common sign of lung worms in cats, but it is very treatable when caught by a vet.


Allergies are a more common condition in cats than some may have previously believed. Like in people, allergies tend to cause a cat to cough and sneeze.

Listed below are some other symptoms of allergies in cats:

  • Itchy skin and ears (may form a rash, scabbing, and/or cause hair loss)
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Nasal discharge
  • Swelling around itchy areas
  • Vomiting and diarrhea 

Inhaling a Foreign Object

If your cat has inhaled something that they shouldn’t have and now it is lodged in their windpipe, this can cause coughing. A foreign object can be small like a blade of grass or larger like a ribbon. A cat with a foreign object in their windpipe may also appear to be struggling to breath and be pawing at their nose or mouth. Considering that foreign objects can be incredibly dangerous to cats, it is recommended that you take your cat to the emergency vet immediately if you believe that they have something stuck in their airway.

A Fungal Infection

In some cases coughing can be caused by a fungal lung infection in cats. This usually occurs when a cat is living in unsanitary conditions, and it is called fungal pneumonia. Coughing is the main symptom of this condition, and it is easily treated by a vet.


Edema is a buildup of fluid in the chest and abdomen. This is usually caused by congestive heart failure, but other considerations could potentially cause edema in cats as well. The main sign of edema is coughing, bloating, and having difficulty breathing. Although edema is a fairly rare condition in cats, it is very serious. As a result, you should always take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect that they have edema.


Heartworms are parasites that mainly infect a cat’s cardiovascular system, but they can affect the lungs as well. If not caught early on, heartworm can potentially be life threatening to cats. This is why vets strongly urge that you give cats heartworm prevention medicine. Nevertheless, you should still take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect that they have a heartworm infection.

Feline Leukemia

Feline leukemia is a type of cancer that is actually passed through a virus in cats. Coughing and lethargy are the two major signs of this disease in cats, and sometimes cats with feline leukemia show no symptoms at all. Although this condition is ultimately fatal in cats, it is preventable through a vaccine.

Lung Cancer

In some more rare cases, coughing in cats can be caused by lung cancer. Although this is an extremely serious condition in cats, there are treatment options available. Of course, it is always best to consult a veterinarian if you believe that your cat may have lung cancer.

Contact a Veterinarian if Your Cat is Coughing 

There a variety of different reasons why your cat may be coughing and as a pet owner, it is important to get your cat veterinary care if this continues. If you have any additional questions, contactCompanion Animal Hospital Wicker Park inWicker Park, IL by calling (312) 283-7333 or schedule an appointment online. Your pet’s health and happiness is very important to us and our veterinarians will provide the best care possible.

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