Coughing Cats

Asthma is common in cats-but it’s not the only cause of coughing.



Hunter is my 6 year old kitty and she’s been coughing lately. I take really good care of her and she stays inside all of the time. She eats fine and plays. Could Hunter have asthma?


Dr. Nichol:

Yes she could, but it’s not the only possibility. I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but before you assume anything, get Hunter thoroughly checked out. Other causes could include pneumonia, F.I.P., heart failure, heartworm infection, or even foreign materiel in her airways or lungs. A clear diagnosis is needed.


I would start with a good exam. Of course the most important part of it is listening to Hunter’s chest. What kind of lung sounds does she have? Is there a nice quiet movement of air or harsh dry sounds, wet sounds, or noise on only one side? What about a heart murmur? Armed with these answers we will take chest x-rays next. Lung tissues can have many different appearances on x-ray. Asthma cases look pretty typical. With asthma we expect only slightly dry sounds with the chest x-rays confirming our suspicion.


Can we help Hunter feel better and stop coughing? Feline asthma usually responds well to treatment. There are a few medications that work well in individual kitties so we can do what we call therapeutic trials to see what will help. Many cats do best on prednisone, a corticosteroid. Not only is it reliable but cats handle it safely long term. Most important, NO SMOKING.