Cat coughing every once in a while. What could be wrong with him?


I'm planning to get to the vet for an x-ray very soon, but I'm hoping I can get some peace of mind before that.

I have a 7 year-old Birman cat, male, neutered. He is my best friend and I'd be devastated if something serious was wrong with him. He hasn't had any health problems until now and he is a strictly indoor cat.

About a month ago he developed a cough that would come and go. He would cough today and then he wouldn't cough again until three days later. At the time it was pretty hot outside and we used the air conditioning quite a lot, so I thought it was either a sensitivity to that or a hairball stuck somewhere.

For a while he stopped and we thought he was ok. He started coughing again about a week ago, so I called the vet. Since he has always been a very aggressive cat with outsiders and taking him to the vet is a true nightmare, they said a first step would be a strong dewormer and we'd take it from there.

I gave him the dewormer on Saturday morning and I haven't heard him cough until the next Friday, which is today. During the week I thought he was ok and the cause had indeed been worms.

Now I don't know what could be wrong with him. He is fine otherwise, energetic, playful, he is eating and drinking right, using the litterbox as usual. Nothing wrong with his eyes or nose either. He coughs and then he gets up and goes on with his business as if nothing happened.

To describe the cough, I'd say it's a semi-wet one. He extends his neck and moves his head around while coughing. He coughs more than once and the sound gets "wetter" at the end, when he also appears to swallow something and licks his lips. He hasn't actually eliminated anything I could see.

Could you please help me with some ideas about what it could be? Thank you very much.

Asked by Member 1130779 on Sep 14th 2012 in Health & Wellness
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Izadore (Izzie)

You are wise for planning to take him to the vet. Anything we could tell you here would simply be a "best guess" and there is no need to detail everything it could be. That would only serve to needlessly scare you even more. But, having said that, don't panic. It could be that he has allergies. My Delilah will spend a few days a month around this time of year sneezing but has no other symptoms. Her vet diagnosed an allergy. A cat who is not feeling well will hide, sleep all the time, stop eating and using his box. Your cat is showing none of these signs, and that's a good thing. I do wonder about arbitrarily prescribing a "strong wormer" though. Did the vet test the cat's feces? A parasitic infestation usually presents with vomiting, diarrhea and other signs as well as coughing and chances are you would have seen the parasites in his stool. Don't panic. But, do take him in for an exam. And let us know how he does! Purrs!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 9/14/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Linus (Dreamboat #72a)

Yes, definitely take him in to get checked out by your vet. I've had coughing cats before and it could be anything from allergies, heartworm, lungworm, asthma, hairballs, or bronchitis. I'd be suspicious of asthma though. I've deal with asthma before... Here is a video of a cat having an asthma attack.
If it is asthma, he will need lifelong treatment.

Linus (Dreamboat #72a) answered on 9/14/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Timmy Tomcat DB #122a

If it does not resolve he may need a good check up. That you are willing to have him x-rayed shows you are a caring pet parent.

First though. Anything new in the home like detergent or fabric softener? How about taking something out of storage like a coat or ??

Hope he is fine and things work out

Timmy Tomcat DB #122a answered on 9/15/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Do you have any update on your cat? My cat is doing exactly the same thing. I have taken her to the vets but they couldn't find anything wrong. I'm going to push for an X-ray but like you am desperate for reassurance? Have you progressed any further? Kind regards, Tara

Member 1135164 answered on 10/10/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer