My cat coughs or sneezes

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Sneezing and coughing in cats can be caused by simple irritation or a more serious condition. Do not hesitate to consult a veterinarian.

The symptoms associated with the cat’s coughing and / or sneezing, as well as the duration of the phenomenon, will help you understand what it is suffering from.

Understanding cat cough

Certainly more rarely than the dog (or man), a cat sneezes and coughs, to evacuate phlegm and other undesirable elements. There are several reasons for coughing and sneezing in a cat, starting with a birth defect like a hole in the palate (or cleft palate), a fairly rare condition.


The presence of a foreign body, a simple twig for example, in one nostril causes sneezing in the cat with a view to its expulsion. The animal may also suffer from nasal polyps which are small inflammatory tissues blocking the nasal cavity. The same goes for the trachea: any obstruction will trigger a cough. Be careful, if it is dry and accompanied by swallowing difficulties, something – an edge for example – may be stuck in its throat; it’s a veterinary emergency.


Just like humans, cats can perfectly catch cold. Infection manifests itself in various ways. A cat that sneezes with runny nose – or discard – is likely to suffer from rhinitis. If he coughs in fifths, it may be pharyngitis or laryngitis; in the case of the second, it will also emit silent mews caused by inflammation of the vocal cords. Finally, be aware that even if this is rare, a cat can be allergic, to pollen or dust for example.


Most cats are born with viruses – feline herpesvirus and calcivirus felin – which, when reactivated, trigger a disease called coryza . This is more common in cats living in community (it is particularly contagious) and young cats, more prone to respiratory infections. Note that a stressful event can alone reactivate these viruses.Video Player is loading.


Coughing and sneezing in cats is also sometimes a sign of chronic pathologies, especially in older animals. A cat can perfectly suffer from asthma, chronic bronchitis, respiratory or cardiac insufficiency. For the first two cases, he will find his breath by stretching out on his stomach and stretching his head, which will have the effect of triggering fits of coughing.

What should I do if my cat coughs or sneezes?

If your cat starts to sneeze and / or cough, it is important to know if this is due to some irritation or to a more serious pathology. From the twig stuck in the nose to pulmonary edema, there is a world! Generally speaking, you should consult a veterinarian if the symptoms do not pass after three days. But other associated signals, nosebleeds or loss of appetite , should prompt you to bring the animal to the veterinarian for emergency care.


If the cat sneezes or coughs, the other symptoms may guide you. Coryza also causes tearing and runny nose. Wheezing, fatigue, and shortness of breath associated with sneezing in an older cat can signal a nasal tumor. Likewise, the type of cough – dry or oily – is an indicator. A fatty cough indicates that the bronchi are affected. Finally, it is not because we speak of rhinitis and pharyngitis that the cat can be treated with human self-medication: the vast majority of our treatments are toxic to him. Also, do not try to put anything into his nostrils, as this could damage his nasal membrane, which is very fragile.

Beware of hairballs in cats

The cat which cleans itself several times a day inevitably swallows hair because of its rough tongue. In large quantities, these hairs will form balls in the digestive system of the cat, called trichobézoards. They are capable of causing various pathologies, which can go as far as intestinal obstruction . Particularly common during moulting periods or in long-haired cats, ingestion of hair will also irritate the animal’s throat and trigger a dry cough. A regular brushing and a suitable diet (there are even special croquettes) are the best ways to prevent this problem. There are also anti-hairball care products allowing to reduce their training which you can find on our online store.