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Why can't my cat stop coughing?

Has your cat's purr transformed into a cough? This is because something is irritating their lungs, airways or throat. While some causes are easy to treat, others are more serious. Here, our Windsor emergency veterinarians list potential causes. 

Why is my cat coughing?

Watching a cat cough, regardless of 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, this is considered a veterinary medical emergency. It's 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 Windsor vets share some of the possible causes of your cat's cough.

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 preventive 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.

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 emergency vets at New England Veterinary Center & Cancer Care right away, if your primary care veterinarian is not available. We also take referrals for emergencies. 

Looking for a vet in Windsor? We're accepting new patients!

Contact (860) 688-8400