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Whether they’re busy chasing laser pointer lights or being left behind closed doors, cats have an opportunity to brighten up your day with their whimsical behavior. Our cats are part of our family and we want the best for them. That said, if they do something unusual, like cough, but don’t bring up hairballs, we want to get to the bottom of it as soon as possible. To find out more about this problem, POPSUGAR teamed up with two experts.
According to Anthony Hall, DVM, MPH, an Airvet veterinarian, occasional coughing is normal and can even be expected. However, he went on to explain that if the cough is common or accompanied by other symptoms, it is time to take your pet to the veterinarian. “If the cough is causing a discharge from the nose and eyes, or making mucus and it happens frequently, this is more of a reason to see your veterinarian to see what is going on,” said Dr. Hall. He added that the vet often wants to do blood tests, take x-rays, and listen to your cat’s heart and lungs to better find out what exactly is going on.
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Finding out exactly why your cat coughs frequently is imperative, as this can be due to a number of different cat health problems. For example, Lindsay Butzer, DVM, Vet Advisor at Zesty Paws shared that your cat’s cough is often related to an inflammatory problem in the lower respiratory tract. “The most common infection in cats is known as feline viral rhinotracheitis, or feline herpes virus 1, which causes bronchitis in cats,” said Dr. Butzer. She explained that while this feline herpes virus 1 is very common in cats, not all of them will show symptoms. In addition to causing bronchitis, feline herpes virus 1 can be the cause of tearful eyes and sneezes.
Cat asthma, which can be caused by inhaled allergens and allergic reactions, is also a common reason your cat may be coughing. “Cats with feline asthma may cough or gasp, but an important clinical finding is open-mouth breathing,” said Dr. Butzer.
One surprising reason that may trigger a cat’s cough is heart disease. “Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, is the most common heart disease among our feline friends,” added Dr. Butzer added. “One symptom seen by the owners may be difficult breathing, coughing, or breathing with your mouth open.”