PetMD Seal

Coughing in Cats

5 min read



The major goal of treatment is to treat the underlying cause along with treatment of the  cough itself. Resolution of the underlying cause will ultimately result in a cure.


In cases of severe disease, your cat may need to be hospitalized and provided with intensive care and treatment. Oxygen can be given to cats that are having difficulty breathing properly, and broad spectrum antibiotics will be used to curtail the most common types of infections that cause coughing. Medications for suppressing cough may be given to your cat, but that will be decided on by your veterinarian only after confirmation of the diagnosis, as cough suppressants are not always medically helpful, especially for certain diseases like respiratory infections. It should be remembered that in most cases the cough is not the issue, it is the underlying disease that needs to be treated. Suppressing cough will not resolve the problem, and in fact may only hide the condition and allow it to worsen.


Living and Management


Diagnosing the underlying disease causing the cough may require an extensive diagnostic workup. Follow the directions given by your veterinarian for treatment. If your cat is prescribed antibiotics, it is essential that you follow through the entire course of the medicine. Many people will forget to continue drug administration once the symptoms have improved and the infection will return, sometimes worse than before.


You will need to stay in communication with your veterinarian throughout the treatment period, relaying information about your cat's response to the treatment and whether it is improving or worsening. You may also need to take your cat back to the clinic for follow-up examinations so that your veterinarian can evaluate your cat's disease status and treatment progress. The treatment will be adjusted accordingly. In some cats long-term therapy is required for a complete recovery.


Take care with all drugs you are administering to your cat, as any drug, including cough suppressants, can be dangerous for your cat in the wrong amounts. It is important to note that one of the leading causes of death in household pets is over dosage of medication.



Related Articles

Sneezing, Reverse Sneezing, and Gagging in Cats

Sneezing refers to the normal reflexive behavior of expelling air to remove matter through the nasal cavity while reverse sneezing refers to...

Fluid in the Chest in Cats

Chylothorax is a medical condition that results from the accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the chest cavity where the heart and lungs reside,...

Bacterial Infection (Streptococcus) in Cats

Streptococcal infection, common in cats, refers to an infection with the Streptococcus bacteria. Kittens and older cats are most susceptible...

Allergic Shock in Cats

Anaphylaxis is an emergency condition that occurs when a cat is exposed to a certain allergen after having been exposed to it previously. In...