What is Causing My Cat to Cough in Tulsa, OK?

It can be scary to see and hear your cat coughing. No one wants to worry about their cat being healthy or whether they have an illness. Life does happen. Sometimes your cat may get sick, but sometimes a cough isn’t always as severe as it sounds. How do you know the difference? How do you know when to take your cat’s cough seriously?

Is Your Cat Coughing or Making Another Noise?

The first thing you need to determine is if your cat is genuinely coughing. Cats can make a few noises that sound like a cough but may be other things. Staying informed about your cat and its health is the most important thing you can do for your pet.

cat coughing in tulsa, ok

What Could it Be if Not a Cough?

There are a few things that your cat may do that sounds similar to coughing.


A very common thing for a cat to do is to retch. Retching means gagging or vomiting. Retching is the noise made associated with vomiting and may occur even without the expulsion of anything. Cats make this noise normally before throwing up a hairball or even food.


Many cats overeat when allowed and, as a result, will have stomach issues that may lead to vomiting regularly. If your cat has this behavior, it may retch even when not throwing up, which may sound like a cough to you.

How to Tell the Difference

Be aware of your cat’s other behaviors when deciding whether they are coughing or not. Does the sound often accompany the cat later throwing up either food or a hairball? If so, your cat is probably retching and not coughing.

How Do You Know if Your Cat is Truly Coughing?

You need to be aware of a few telltale signs to determine whether your cat is coughing.

The Sound of a Cough

First, what does a cough sound like? Usually, a cat will make a wheezing or honking sound when they cough, and typically it can be significantly louder than a retching sound.

A Cat Won’t Swallow

Another sign of an actual cough is the cat will not swallow after a cough like they do when they retch.


Coughs also can come along with mucous production, usually from the eyes or nose.

Lack of Energy

Most cats will also lack energy when they are coughing or after coughing, which is generally not associated with retching.

Asthma Attack

One crucial thing to note is what an asthma attack looks like in cats. Sometimes, a cough may turn into asthma and even an asthma attack, a medical emergency for a cat. Cats in the middle of an asthma attack will breathe with their mouth open and their gums and tongue may even change to a color close to blue due to lack of oxygen. It’s essential to take a cat to an emergency vet immediately in this case.

Possible Causes of Coughing in Cats

There are quite a few causes that will make a cat cough. Coughing can be a natural occurrence in many animals and may indicate nothing serious most of the time. The purpose of coughing is to expel foreign material from the throat.

Dust or Something in the Air

A cat may simply inhale dust or anything around them and just cough in response to that. However, this type of cough shouldn’t be recurring often. When your cat has a persistent cough, there are some common causes.


Probably the most common is asthma. Cats may develop asthma without ever having an attack. Asthma may develop due to several factors, including smoke from tobacco or incense, airborne cleaning products or air fresheners, and even pollen. If your cat is diagnosed with asthma or allergies to any of these irritants, simply removing them from where the cat lives may completely solve the issue.

Diseases and Infections

Unvaccinated cats may contract cat flu as well, which always includes coughing as a symptom. Cats may also cough due to lung diseases such as pneumonia or even cancer. Brachycephalic cats such as the Himalayan are susceptible to fungal infections that may infect the upper respiratory of such cats and cause coughing. Worms may also end up in the lungs causes irritation and coughing.

When is it Serious Enough to Take Your Cat to the Vet for a Cough?

A cat that coughs occasionally is not truly concerning. If it continues, it may be good to inspect their environment for things that could be causing it, such as smoke, and eliminate that from the cat’s living space. A cat that continuously coughs or has a worsening cough is a cat that needs veterinary attention.

If you suspect your cat has asthma, it is best to have a vet diagnose and offer treatment for your pet to prevent the condition from getting worse. Cats that cough and have consistently lowered energy are also a worry as they may show signs of some other illness that must be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.

When in doubt, just take your cat to your veterinarian for a checkup. It’s always better to be safe. Even when you think it may be nothing if it’s more than a very rare cough, you should at least let your vet decide for you if it’s something to worry about or not.

In Conclusion

Paying attention to your cat when they seem to be coughing is vital to stay a step ahead in your pet’s health. Sometimes a cough isn’t really anything to worry about, but it’s essential to watch a cat coughing. Are there other symptoms? Is the cough frequent or getting worse? It may be time to go to the vet. Always stay knowledgeable about your cat’s health.

Call 918-665-0508 to talk with a veterinarian at Animal Emergency Center about your cat’s coughing!