Cat has labored breathing and has coughing/sneezing fits. What can I do?

For the past 3 months my cat’s been having difficulty breathing properly and it’s getting worse. I’ve taken her to several vets a number of times, but the vets seem to be at a loss for how to help her. They’ve tried cortizone for allergies and antibiotics for the flu, but these have had little or no effect.

She has labored breathing throughout the day, then from 8-20 times/day she has coughing fits for 2-5 minutes. She’s really struggling and it breaks my heart. I put a video of it at

The symptoms I’ve seen are:
Difficulty Breathing
Dry coughing
Fits of coughing (shown in the video)
Runny nose
A little sniffling
Noisy breathing
Loud snoring
Eye discharge

I found her as a stray several years ago. I think she’s about 7-10 years old.

Does anyone have any ideas or advice? What could be causing this?

Asked by Member 1006695 on Oct 5th 2010 Tagged coughing, sneezing in Other Health & Wellness
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Izadore (Izzie)

I know how upsetting it is to see your kitty sick and not be able to do anything about it. Have you taken her to a specialty clinic, also known as a referral clinic? These veterinary clinics can be free-standing or part of the Veterinary College on a local university campus. Vets know about them and can refer you to one. They are staffed by board-certified vets who are specialists in their field--anything from veterinary optometry to oncology to gastroenterology, etc. They often have state of the art equipment and testing procedures that many vets do not. You might also look in your area for a clinic that specializes in just feline veterinary medicine. We wish you all the best with her--please let us know how she's doing.

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 10/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Freckles (1993-2011)

I agree with Izzie to find a vet that specialises in cats and if necessary get them to refer you to a specialist. From the video I think this looks like an asthma attack but the vet can take chest xrays etc to confirm what's going on as there are other possible causes of these symptoms. If it is asthma they can give her meds to treat it (terbutaline) and help control the symptoms you are seeing.

Freckles (1993-2011) answered on 10/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Antibiotics aren't going to work for viral infections, only for bacterial infections(just like antibiotics won't cure a human cold, but can clear up, say, bronchitis that may result from the cold). I'm sure your vet knows that, but he/she should have told you that your kitty cold can be either viral or bacterial--IF it's a cold. The difficulty in breathing bothers me--it can't be pleasant for either you or your cat, and while it may be related to the other symptoms, it could be related to something else. It sounds like your kitty is pretty sick, and if you can't find a specialist, at least go to another vet. I rotate among three vets, all with their strong and weak points. Has your cat been tested for feline leukemia and feline HIV? There's a test for feline herpes (a big cause of kitty colds) as well, not to mention tests for allergies. You may need an x-ray/ultrasound of your cat's lungs and stomach area. Be prepared to spend money. Good luck and purrs.

Chibi answered on 10/5/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Ok, this sounds EXACTLY like HERPES VIRUS to me. My cat has the exact symptons and was diagnosed with Herpes.
I suggest you purchase some L LYSINE Gel. It comes in a tube. Green and white. Give some to your kitty 2 times a day. Am/pm. And see how this is. It helps bond the herpes together. Major improvement in my 22 pound cat.
Does your cat sometime breath with his/her mouth open??
Please let me know? Also the lysine you can get at the vet. Not to expensive.

Member 1018394 answered on 1/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer