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Why Can't My Cat Stop Coughing?

If your cat’s purr has turned into a cough, it means something is irritating their throat, airways, or lungs. Some causes are easy to treat while others are more serious. Here, our Memphis emergency veterinarians explain some of the possible causes. 

Why is My Cat Coughing?

Watching a cat cough, regardless the cause, can be disturbing. The cat can become agitated, apprehensive and each cough looks as though it will be the last.

If your cat has an ongoing or severe cough, it is important to see your veterinarian right away so they make a proper diagnosis. 

The nature of the cough along with other physical findings by your vet may be helpful in diagnosing the underlying cause.

Below our Memphis vets share some of the possible causes of your cat's cough.

Dogs & Antifreeze

Common Causes of Cat Coughing


Asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder, and cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors are most likely to get it and may experience a cough.


Allergies may also be the cause of your cat's cough. 

Fungal Lung Infection

Your outdoor cat could pick up a fungus from the soil, and coughing is a common symptom.


Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos. If you live in an area with these bugs, your cat is more at risk. You can get preventative medicine from your vet.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer, could also be the cause of a cat cough. Some tumors can be controlled with medication. If not, surgery may be an option.


Coughing can be a sign of pneumonia, which can be diagnosed with x-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Congestive Heart Failure

Coughing may also be a sign of congestive heart failure, which be diagnosed by your vet with an ultrasound or electrocardiogram.

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 for you cat's cough will depend on what’s causing it. Don’t treat your pet without talking to a vet.

Options for treatment may include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids or other drugs, and even surgery, but you should work with your vet to find the best option.

If your cat is coughing, contact our Memphis emergency vets right away.

Animal Emergency Center in Memphis

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