Why is My Cat Coughing in Charleston, SC?

If you have noticed that your cat is coughing, you might not be sure if you should be worried or not. As with any other animal and with people, coughing can be caused by a variety of different conditions. Some of these conditions are quite serious, while others are much less worrisome and can be treated with simple care solutions. The trick is knowing the difference between these different kinds of coughing, which often requires that you visit the vet.

Coughing in cats is often a sign of inflammatory problems which need to be tracked down to a root cause. This might be allergies, or it could be something as serious as cancer. This is why having a vet help you with the diagnosis can be critical to getting a good diagnosis.

If you are interested in learning some more about why your cat is coughing, you need to keep reading.

cat coughing in charleston, sc

Parasitic Worms

Worms like heartworm can lead to coughing in cats. This is one of the more common reasons for coughing if your cat is an outdoor cat, but even indoor cats can be exposed to worms and end up with a high enough parasite load to show symptoms. Heartworm and other parasitic conditions can be treated with various medications, but your cat might have to stay at the veterinarian during treatment if their parasite load is very high. There are risks associated with killing a large quantity of worms all at once, so your vet might need to be on hand in case the situation becomes serious.


Cats with food or environmental allergies can also cough. This might be more episodic, and usually, the coughing is accompanied by sneezing and maybe even scratching at the skin. You will want to start eliminating possible reasons for the coughing by changing your cat’s diet and their environmental exposures slowly to see if you can track down the thing that is causing the cough. Your vet can also help calm the coughing with some medications.


Cats can get colds, and if your cat is an outdoor cat, they are much more likely to get this kind of illness. You can take your cat with a cold to the vet for some antibiotics or other supportive medications that will help them to feel better as they are fighting off the illness. Cats can be brought inside to stay warm as they heal and then allowed to go back outdoors once they are well again. Viruses that are not causing a high fever can be allowed to run their course with limited intervention, but a high fever can require more aggressive care.


In cases where your cat has become sick, and the illness has turned into a secondary infection, your cat might have pneumonia. This can be very serious in cats, and it is usually accompanied by a very high fever and lethargy. Your cat might sound like they can barely breathe, and they might have a persistent, wet cough. Getting your cat to the vet right away is important when pneumonia is the reason for their cough.

Foreign Body

If your cat has ingested something that has gotten stuck in their throat, they might be coughing and gagging as they try to get the item out. This will often be accompanied by drooling, and your cat might even seem like they have a hairball but are never able to bring anything up. This is more common in outdoor cats, but indoor cats can also ingest things that cannot pass through their throat and into their stomach. Your vet can help your cat by removing the item that is trapped in the throat and then by providing some medications to help with their inflamed throat.

In some cases, blades of grass might be trapped in the nasal passages, or other plant debris can get into the nose when cats are outdoors hunting. These items can also cause coughing, and your vet will need to examine your cat to find the item and remove it. This is more common in dogs, but cats can also have this problem if they have accidentally breathed in something that they cannot sneeze back out.


Cats can get asthma just like humans, which can lead to persistent, dry coughing. This is a condition that can be treated with an inhaler, and most cats tolerate these treatments at home quite well. Your vet will verify that there are no other reasons for the cough before they diagnose your pet with asthma and prescribe the right medications to help with easier breathing on a daily basis for your pet. This condition can eventually lead to more serious complications, so you will need to ask your vet what to be on the lookout for if the condition is advancing.

Coughing in Cats Can be Caused by Many Things

Cats can cough for many different reasons. It can be hard to diagnose this condition on your own at home, so working with your West Ashley Veterinary Clinic vet is best to try and track down the reason for your cat’s cough. Many of the reasons for cat coughing can be easy to address, and you should not panic if your cat is coughing. Finding out more about the root cause of this behavior can help to ensure that your cat gets the treatment that they need so they can feel better as soon as possible.

Cats are not always easy to treat, but most of the things that cause coughing in cats do not necessitate complex treatment solutions. Knowing what is going on will help you to prepare for at-home care for your pet, and you should not worry about taking your cat to the vet to get a proper diagnosis for this problem. Even if your cat is only coughing due to allergies, you will be glad that you have verified with the vet that something more serious is not going on.

Call (843) 571-7095 or use the online form to book an appointment with your West Ashley Veterinary Clinic vet about your cat’s coughing!

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West Ashley Veterinary Clinic in Charleston, SC offers a full range of veterinary services to keep your pets happy and healthy through all stages of life!