The Pet Doctor

3 Common Causes Of Cats Coughing

People cough and clear their throats all the time whether or not they're sick, but what about cats? If you've noticed your cat hunkering down and coughing, it may be a bad sign. The good news is that the vast majority of cats don't cough for the same reasons as dogs, which means it's highly unlikely that your cat has a heart problem. However, that doesn't mean that they're necessarily completely healthy, either. Here are three of the most common causes behind cats coughing.


One of the most common reasons for this behavior is allergies. Believe it or not, even though cats typically wander through grass or weeds and climb trees, they're not necessarily immune to all of the pollen out there. Cats are capable of having an allergic reaction to seasonal pollen and other allergens. The former can become particularly problematic if it hasn't rained enough in your area, as less pollen is being washed away by the rain. If your cat seems to only cough at certain times of the year or when you've recently opened doors or windows, this may be the cause. However, in rare instances, other allergens like those responsible for food sensitivities can be at fault. So if your cat coughs year-round, regardless of the weather, this could be why.


Asthma is another potential problem that cats can develop. Usually, even with mild asthma, there will be additional symptoms beyond coughing. For example, your cat may become noticeably winded after playing or fighting for a little while, or they may cough more often after physical activity. Asthma is a life-long condition, but it can be treated and controlled to ensure that your cat has a healthy and enjoyable life.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Finally, an upper respiratory infection could be responsible for your cat's cough. Cats will often have this symptom, along with issues like wheezing, nasal or eye discharge, sneezing, and lethargy.

Cats can pick up upper respiratory infections from other animals or simply from bacteria or viruses in their environment. These conditions can usually be treated with antibiotics and other medications to control symptoms, but if you notice that your cat is coughing even after treatment, it may mean that their upper respiratory infection is resistant to treatment. In this case, get to an animal hospital for additional care.

All three of these conditions can be treated and either healed or improved. Take your cat to an animal hospital such as Apple Valley Animal Hospital if you have concerns about their cough.