Why Can't My Cat Stop Coughing?

If your cat has developed a cough, something is causing irritation to their throat, airways, or lungs. Since some causes are easily treatable while others are more serious, our Boulder and Westminster vets share some insight on what causes coughing in cats. 

Why is My Cat Coughing?

Watching a cat cough, regardless of the cause, can be unsettling. The cat can become agitated, and apprehensive, and each cough looks as if it may be their last.

If your cat has an ongoing or severe cough, it is important to see your veterinarian right away so your companion can be properly diagnosed and treated. 

The nature of the cough along with other physical findings can help your vet find the underlying cause of your cat's cough.

Common Causes of Cat Coughing


Asthma is the most common feline respiratory disorder. Cats who spend at least part of their time outdoors are most likely to get it and may experience a cough.


A variety of allergies may potentially be the cause of your cat's cough. 

Tight collars

Pressure on your cat’s windpipe, such as a tightly fastened collar, can cause damage and lead to a cough.


Worms are common in felines. It’s one reason your pet gets regular blood and fecal tests at the vet.

Fungal Lung Infection

Your outdoor cat could develop a cough after picking up a fungus from the soil.


Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitos and can lead to coughing. If you live in an area with these bugs, your cat is more at risk. You can get preventative medicine from your vet.

Congestive Heart Failure

Coughing may also be a sign of congestive heart failure, which be diagnosed by your vet via ultrasound or electrocardiogram.

Lung Cancer

Lung cancer could also be the cause of a cat cough. Some tumors can be controlled with medication, however, surgery may be required for those that cannot.


Coughing can be a sign of pneumonia, which can be diagnosed with x-rays and may respond to antibiotics and other therapies. 

Treatment for Cat Coughing

Treatment for your cat's cough will depend on what’s causing it. Don’t treat your pet without first speaking to your veterinarian.

Options for treatment may include cough suppressants, antibiotics, steroids, or other drugs. Surgery may be the best route for your cat, but you should work with your vet to find the best option.

If your cat has developed a persistent cough, contact our Boulder and Westminster vets right away for emergency care.