Causes and Treatments for Your Cat’s Coughing in Greenville, MI

Hearing our cats cough is not the most uncommon occurrence for cat owners, especially if their cat has frequent hairballs. However, there are more causes for coughing in cats than just hairballs. Most of these causes are fairly mild and treatable. However, others will require an immediate trip to the veterinarian.

The most common causes for cats coughing include hairballs, throat irritation, and allergies. However, more serious cases like the inhalation of objects, injuries, and asthma could also occur and cause a cat to cough.

cat coughing in greenville, mi

Reasons and Treatment for Cat Coughing

In this article we will be listing all of the common reasons why cats cough. We will also be providing you with the most common treatment plans from vets for these conditions. Let’s get right into it!


Allergies in cats are actually fairly common, and they are treated pretty easily as well. Usually allergies that cause a cat to cough are caused by airborne molecules that a cat is allergic to such as pollen. In addition to coughing, your cat may:

  • Be itchy
  • Sneeze or wheeze
  • Have discharge coming from the nose or eyes


There are several different available treatments for allergies in cats, and you will need to consult with your vet to discover the right treatment for your pet. The available treatments for allergies in cats include:

  • Oral allergy medications (antihistamines or immunosuppressive drug therapy)
  • Injected allergy shots
  • Steroids (both oral and topical depending on the situation)


Your cat could also be coughing as a result of catching a respiratory illness. Of course, you can prevent your cat from contracting these kinds of illnesses by getting them fully vaccinated. If you suspect that your cat is sick then you should take them to the vet as soon as possible and quarantine them from other cats to limit the spread of the infection, especially if you have multiple cats living in your home. Although there are many different types of feline respiratory diseases, many can share similar symptoms. Some symptoms that are commonly associated with respiratory diseases in cats include but may not be limited to:

  • coughing, wheezing, and sneezing
  • Discharge coming from the nose and eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Reduced appetite
  • Fever
  • Mouth sores
  • Eye ulcers
  • The development of pneumonia or other secondary infections


There is unfortunately no treatment available for viral infections themselves, and the only thing that you can do for a cat with a virus is provide them with supportive care. This includes cleaning the face of discharge, putting a prescribed cream around your cat’s eyes if they have eye ulcers, and providing them with a warm comfortable place to rest. In addition, it is important that you make sure that your cat is still eating and drinking plenty of water. Secondary infections can be treated by antibiotics.

Acute Bronchitis

This condition is an inflammation of the bronchi in the lungs. Although it can appear to be fairly similar to asthma in cats, acute bronchitis is usually caused by a specific agent such as a virus or irritant. Some common signs of this condition in cats include coughing, wheezing, stress, and sometimes even a fever. Luckily, when this agent causing the acute bronchitis is gone it then usually clears up on its own. The vet usually diagnoses acute bronchitis through a chest x-ray.


As we have mentioned, acute bronchitis usually clears up on its own once the irritant is removed. As a result, supportive care to manage your cat’s symptoms is all that is usually necessary along with the removal of the irritant.


Usually cats let out hairballs after coughing and gagging for a little while. Although this is a normal occurrence in cats, excessive hairballs can be pretty gross to cat owners and uncomfortable for the cats themselves. Luckily, there are some simple ways that you can reduce hairballs in your cat.


Grooming your cat regularly can help to prevent hairballs in your cat, especially if they have long hair. This will reduce the amount of hair that your cat swallows when he is grooming himself. You may also benefit from a deshedder cat brush if your cat has a double coat.

If daily grooming is not reducing the amount of hairballs from your cat then there are some other things that can help. For example, there are both prescription and over the counter hairball controlling diets that have formulas that are specifically designed to reduce your cat’s hairball frequency.


Asthma is another somewhat common cause for coughing in cats. This condition often causes a cat to cough, wheeze, and potentially have breathing difficulties on a regular basis.


If you have a cat with asthma then keeping them at a healthy weight and eliminating any allergens and irritants when at all possible can help you to manage the disease. However, oral medications including anti-inflammatories and Bronchodilator therapy can also help when needed.


Sometimes injuries can cause a cat to cough when their respiratory tract or lungs are affected. This can range in severity depending on how badly hurt your cat is, and it is usually caused by falls, animal fights, or being stepped on. In addition to coughing, your cat may be in pain and have difficulty breathing. Of course, you should take your cat to the emergency vet immediately if he has any type of injury.


If an injury to the respiratory tract is severe they will likely need to be hospitalized. Here vets will ensure that your cat’s body is getting enough oxygen and fluids, and they may need to make repairs to your cat’s respiratory tract as well.

Inhalation of Objects

Sometimes cats can inhale liquids or very small objects, and this can lead to coughing and wheezing. Due the extremely wide range of severity of this condition, it is always recommended to call your vet for advice on what actions to take.


In most mild cases there are just a few steps that you should take at home with a vet’s guidance over the phone. However, severe cases require immediate veterinary attention, and surgery may be required to remove objects from the respiratory tract.

Greenville Animal Hospital Can Help

If your cat is continuously coughing or you are concerned call Greenville Animal Hospital at (616) 7549633 to talk with a veterinarian. The team can help answer any questions to make sure your cat’s coughing is controlled.

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About Greenville Animal Hospital

At Greenville Animal Hospital, our veterinarians and team believe that change is good, and we continually work to embrace change by treating every patient like the individual they are. What’s more, we are dedicated to efficient, modern veterinary medicine. We offer text and email reminders for clients, as well as a comprehensive hospital App that you can access anytime, anywhere to view all your pet’s vaccine records, message the hospital, request a refill or appointment. Embracing change also means advancing our practice with the latest veterinary techniques and equipment, so your pet always receives the best possible care.