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Coughing cat.

Species: Cat
Breed: Brown Tiger
Age: 8-11 years
i have a indoor cat - about 10 years old...


she had been staying in our basement because she
is very timid and scared of the dog (beagle-poodle)
who would playfully chase her...


she is a long-hair brown tiger cat and i recently
(3 weeks ago) cut her fur short and she was quite
upset by this - understandably....

about a week later she began veturing out
of the basement and has been hanging out on
our first floor - out of reach of the dog.

(i also have been chiding the dog to not chase
her and he is learning)

Here's where the issue starts...

about a week ago - she began coughing whenever
she purrs - her purrs sound louder and
labored and if we
do not touch her - she doesn't purr - and there
fore coughs less - it sort of seems like the kind of heaves
they make when coughing up furballs?

i could not find much info about cats coughing...

my only thoughts were
1. that we have been running our
A/C in the hot weather

2. a couple months ago
both cats (her sister is a tuxedo and more demonstrative)
quit eating thier canned food - i would give them a half
can in the mornings and they would both usually have
some - they were slowly eating less and less of the canned
and finally almost none - i just thought they were getting
bored w/ it...?
( they also have IAMs dry food in a gravity feeder)

3. my mother has been recovering from a UTI and I saw
online that cats can get this - my mom is more of a dog
person - i have to tell her to pet the cats once in a while
...she does pet them but not much....
...the online comments said something about giving your cat
canned food to help them get over a UTI and that was when i
thought about giving her the canned food ( she was usually
the one who ate it mostly)

since she started coughing - i have been trying to give her
some can each night - (they prefer fish flavors....)
she has been eating it and seems a bit better but
the labored purrs and coughing / heaving seems about the
same....

any thoughts....?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I think I may know what is going on with Butter!

The most common reason for a cat to cough is asthma. Asthma in cats can be brought on by any sort of allergy. Given that Butter has been hanging out in the basement, my guess is that there could be some allergens (i.e. dust, mold, etc.) down there and that this can have made the asthma start.

Rest assured that this is not because of canned food and has nothing to do with your mother or her UTI.

If this is asthma, then there is a chance that just being out of the basement for a month or two will make the symptoms go away. I have many asthma patients however that I will put on a small dose of steroid medication given orally. Or, sometimes I even prescribe puffers for cats. They come with a special attachment that makes it fairly easy to administer to a cat.

If you live in an area that sees a lot of heartworm (i.e. Southern US) then this is a possibility as well. Heartworm is not as common in cats as in dogs but it can be a cause of a cough.

If you feel that the coughing is getting more and more frequent then I would definitely have a vet take a look at Butter. They will likely do a good exam, take an xray to look for signs of asthma and probably want to do a heartworm test as well depending on where you live.

Hopefully now that she is not hiding out in the basement you will find that things get better!

Dr. Marie.



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.