Q. My cat is having coughing episodes like hes trying to get up a fur ball and his chest is heaving with every breath he takes between coughing episodes
DR. CHRISTIE LONG, D.V.M., C.V.A.
A. I'm pretty concerning about your cat. While coughing can be the sign of mild respiratory infection, the fact that his chest is heaving between coughing episodes suggests more serious disease. Coughing is from the respiratory tract and bringing up a hairball is a GI thing (vomiting). Sorry not trying to state the obvious but lots of people think their cat is vomiting when it's actually trying to cough.
It sounds like from your description that your cat is in respiratory distress. This could be due to a number of problems that can be quite serious - asthma or heart disease, as a couple of examples. I think it's important that you get him assessed by a vet ASAP in order to determine what's going on.