Audience: Executive Leadership, Foster Caregivers, Public, Shelter/Rescue Staff & Volunteers, Veterinary Team
An occasional cough can be normal for a cat, actually helping clear the airway. If your cat's coughing is mild and there are no other symptoms such as nasal discharge or lethargy, monitoring him/her for the next couple of days may be all that is needed.
Signs that Your Cat Needs to See a Veterinarian
- Cough persists for more than just a few days
- Frequency and/or severity of the cough worsens
- Coughing that produces phlegm, especially if it is discolored or contains blood
- Coughing that is accompanied by other signs of illness (e.g., sneezing/nasal discharge, yellow or green eye discharge, vomiting, lethargy, not eating)
What You Can Do in the Meantime
- Keep the living area clean and free of dust particles and foreign matter that can be inhaled. This will protect the cat's respiratory tract from further aggravation.
- Make sure that your cat has a clear airway. Check for objects stuck in the back of the throat.
Common Causes of Coughing
- Respiratory tract infections (viral, bacterial, and parasitic)
- Foreign bodies in the respiratory tract
Treatment of Coughing
- Treatment of any underlying infectious cause. This may include broad spectrum antibiotics or anti-parasitic medications.
- Removal of any foreign bodies obstructing the respiratory tract.
- Medications to suppress coughing may be given.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs may be used, particularly if your cat has asthma.
- In severe cases where your cat is having difficult or labored breathing, treatment may involve hospitalization for supplemental oxygen.