Coughing in cats can be caused by a variety of different factors. While a cough is not a medical ailment or disease in and of itself, it might be a symptom of a more serious underlying problem.
Therefore, if you have been searching for the causes of Maine Coon cat coughing, keep reading because you are finally in the right place!
When foreign objects such as irritants, dust, mucus, or other particles enter the cats’ respiratory system, they cough as a protective response. Coughing is the result of this reflex, which is an attempt to keep the airways free. Other causes of coughing in cats include asthma, respiratory infections, allergies, passing hairballs, heartworm.
Read on to gain a greater understanding of the various causes of Maine Coon cat coughing, what Maine Coon kitten coughing is, and how you can treat cat coughing at home.
Causes of Maine Coon Cat Coughing
It can be really upsetting to witness your cat coughing and hacking.
Although coughing is not always a cause for concern e.g. when a cat is attempting to pass a hairball, it is essential to recognize when your Maine Coon cat or kitten requires veterinary assistance, and when they do not.
But what exactly are the causes of Maine Coon coughing? … and why does my cat cough so much?
Basically, when a cat, human, dog, or any other living creature has to clear anything from their throat and respiratory tract, they are likely to suffer from some of these symptoms, which are common in cats of all breeds and ages:
These symptoms are not necessarily harmful. However, you should never disregard the fact that cat coughing can indicate a deadly disease, like Heartworm.
So, what makes a cat cough and sneeze?
Here are some of the most common causes for a Maine Coon cat to cough and sneeze. As you will discover, some of the causes of cat coughing are simple to address, whereas others are more significant and can even be life-threatening in their severity (source 1,2,3,4,5):
This is the most common cause of cat coughing, according to experts.
Inflammation and shrinkage of your cat’s airways occur when something causes irritation, making it difficult for your Maine Coon cat to take in air.
Your Maine Coon may develop a mild, persistent cough.
According to research, around 1% of cats in the USA have some form of respiratory disorder. This means that approximately 800,000 domestic cats in the USA are affected.
Cat asthma is caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Cat litter dust
- Smell of cigarette smoke
If you find that your Maine Coon cat is coughing, take them to the veterinarian right away.
Please be aware that cats with asthma may find themselves unable to breathe at all.
2. Respiratory Infections
Respiratory infections caused by bacteria and viruses are the most common causes of coughing in cats.
In rare cases, fungal or parasitic organisms may be involved in the process.
The origins and symptoms of allergies are similar to those associated with asthma.
Here are some possible factors that can cause feline allergies, in some cases:
- Chemical Fumes
- Cigarette Smoke
- Litter Dust
- Specific Foods
It doesn’t matter what age, breed, or gender your cat is; several allergy agents can induce a cat to sneeze, wheeze, and cough.
Your veterinarian will be able to determine which cause is to blame.
Mosquitoes are the carriers of disease.
If you reside in a region where these bugs are prevalent, your cat is at greater risk of Maine Coon cat coughing.
Preventative medicine is available from your veterinarian.
Unfortunately, because the symptoms match those of asthma, your cat may be misdiagnosed.
5. Windpipe Blockage
If there is too much pressure on your Maine Coon cat’s windpipe, it might cause them to cough.
Tight collars constitute a significant cause of coughing in cats.
If your feline companion has asthma or is at risk of developing it, this will eventually result in respiratory issues such as wheezing and coughing.
Another common cause of a Maine Coon cat coughing is a buildup of hairballs in its lungs.
- Breathing Difficulties
- Mucus In The Feces
- Indigestion In cats
In addition, hairballs can also be deadly to your cat if left untreated, and they build up.
While it is typical for cats to cough up hairballs, especially in longhaired varieties such as the Maine Coon, this does not mean that you should ignore the fact that your cat may or may not have a hairball buildup in its stomach.
De-shedding a cat daily and vacuuming your home are two of the most straightforward strategies to reduce the likelihood of developing hairballs.
I like to use these 6 grooming tools, to keep our giant Maine Coon cats fur in great condition.
Some cats are picky eaters, while others will try to gulp down substantial portions of food in one sitting, depending on their mood.
If your cat eats too much food in one go, or the food is too big then their food might get stuck or be unable to safely travel past your Maine Coons throat, into its stomach. As a result, the cat will attempt to vomit the food up or cough it up.
Indigestion can also develop if your pet accidentally swallows anything that is not intended for consumption.
As soon as particles from toys and other objects become trapped in their organism, they will have to find a means to get rid of them in some way. Your Maine Coon coughing is the primary means.
Make sure to play it safe, and only feed your Maine Coon the best Maine Coon food which has been designed with this large cat breed in mind.
8. Other Diseases
Other than the reasons listed above, Maine Coon coughing can also be caused by a variety of health conditions.
Some of these cat health problems include:
- Bronchial Disorders
- Parasite Diseases
- Inflammation of the Trachea
- Lung Infections
Please be aware of the possibility that your cat’s Maine Coon coughing might have been misdiagnosed or has not been identified at all, and that an unknown condition is the cause of their cat coughing.
What Does a Cat Cough Sound Like?
The most common debate when it comes to cat coughing is whether it is coughing or choking.
Thankfully you can quickly tell the difference between cat coughing and choking by examining the sound of the cough.
Cat Coughing Sound
Cats produce a faint cough sound at times; this simply means that they are coughing.
Coughing is a normal part of the cat’s life in any case. But, how to tell the difference between cat cough and hairball? Keep reading to find out …
Cat Choking Sound
However, when a cat makes a wheeze-like sound like they have painful spasms, and you feel like they’re hacking at the air as they try to expel something from their stomachs, it is possible that they are choking on a hairball.
The sound of choking can vary depending on what your pet is trying to cough up, where it’s stuck, and whether or not it’s too large to be coughed up immediately.
Signs of Cat Cough
The presence of repeated coughing attacks that do not result in a hairball can be a symptom of asthma, mainly when the cat cough happens more than once per week or when the cough is continuous and lasts for more than four weeks.
The onset of asthma attacks is also connected with a specific body posture. Many cats hunch their bodies close to the ground during an asthma attack and extend their necks forward.
If your cat is suffering from an asthma attack, it may cough in addition to displaying the symptoms listed below:
- Lips and gums turning blue
- Breathing heavy or fast
- Breathing through the mouth
- Absence of a hairball.
If you feel your cat is suffering from an asthma attack, take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for treatment.
Signs of Hairball
If you observe that your cat is grooming excessively or licking a specific part of its skin or wound regularly, your cat is likely swallowing a hairball.
The following factors are the classic indicators of a cat attempting to throw up a hairball:
The majority of the time, a hairball will be generated.
In more severe cases, where the hairball is causing a blockage, a cat may exhibit the following symptoms in addition to coughing, retching, and gagging:
- Loss of appetite
What Should I Do If My Cat Is Coughing?
It is common for cat owners to ask themselves, is cat coughing an emergency? In response to this query I always say, not always.
You don’t have to rush to the hospital every single time you hear your cat cough; it could just be flu.
Cat coughing can be cured at home using a cat cough home remedy.
Listed below are some of the most effective cat cough home remedies that you can apply to ease the coughing situation in your Maine Coon cat:
1. For Respiratory Infections
Antimicrobial drugs effectively treat most bacterial, fungal, and parasitic diseases in cats if they are treated promptly and appropriately.
Antiviral drugs are less typically administered, but they can be quite beneficial to treat a cat cough at home.
2. For Asthma
To effectively treat feline asthma at home, it is necessary to remove potential triggers from the cat’s environment and administer inhaled or systemic drugs that widen airways while also reducing inflammation and puffiness.
Other than that, you can try the following preventive measures:
- Use a fragrance-free cat litter
- Limit the use of heavily scented products around your cat
- Change your air filters regularly
- Don’t smoke around your cat
- Keep your home clean
3. For Allergies
You can effortlessly treat a cat cough caused by inhalation of allergens by removing the irritants from the cat’s environment.
4. For Heartworm
It is critical to prevent cats from becoming infected with heartworms because once a cat becomes infected with heartworms, at-home therapeutic options for feline heartworm illness are limited.
A cat coughing from indigestion and hairballs can be alleviated with the use of coconut oil and pumpkin.
It is possible to enhance digestion by switching their diet to smaller portions and providing lots of fresh water.
Professional Treatments for Cat Cough
The cat cough home remedies listed above, despite being extremely effective, are limited to several circumstances.
Certain health conditions require professional medical assistance like those listed below:
1. For Cancer
At the professional level, treatment for cancer that affects the respiratory system consists mainly of:
- Palliative Care
2. For Trauma
Feline trauma from wounds and injuries that cause coughing can recover with medical treatment.
However, some cats may necessitate surgical intervention.
3. For Inhaling Unknown Objects
For the removal of inhaled objects, bronchoscopy or surgery may be required.
Furthermore, antibiotics are frequently prescribed to prevent or cure subsequent infections.
4. For Pleural Effusion
Cats with fluid buildup around their lungs can have it evacuated with a needle and syringe.
When Should I Worry About My Cat’s Cough?
If you hear your cat coughing one day and you haven’t heard him coughing before, keep an eye on him closely.
Even if your Maine Coon is not showing any other signs of illness, a cat who has been coughing for more than two weeks, even on an occasional basis, is likely suffering from a severe medical problem that requires care.
Caught early enough, recognizing that your cat is coughing and bringing him to the veterinarian will help to keep your cat healthy for the long run.
A veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible if your cat is coughing excessively one day or otherwise appears to be in discomfort.
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced activity
- Change in behavior
- The pace of breathing is greater than once per second (over 60 breaths per minute).
- Your cat’s panting and breathing look to be excessive, such as when the chest and belly move swiftly or dramatically in and out, or when the cat’s mouth is open panting and breathing.
Cat Coughing No Hairball
If your cat coughs but no hairball is produced, it is critical to pay close attention to any other symptoms that your cat is exhibiting.
Coughing that is infrequent yet regular (a few times a week or consistently every few weeks) might be a symptom of asthma.
It’s conceivable that your cat would kneel low to the ground with its neck extended upwards, a position that will allow your cat to obtain as much air as possible in between coughing fits.
Asthma can be life-threatening if left untreated.
If your cat does not throw up a hairball, pay close attention to whether or not any of the other indicators listed above are present in your home.
Cat Dry Cough
Cat coughs are generally distinguished as either wet cough or dry cough.
Many cat owners ask themselves, why is my cat dry coughing?
Dry coughs in cats are often connected with illnesses such as:
- Inhalation of Unknown Objects
- Feline Cancer
Even though these distinctions are not absolute, they might assist you and your veterinarian in narrowing down a probable diagnosis.
Wet Cough Vs. Dry Cough in Cats
“Wet cough” refers to a cough that brings up phlegm.
Phlegm is the thick mucus that is frequently produced within the respiratory system due to illness or injury. It aids in the removal of viruses, germs, disease-fighting cells, and other foreign elements from the lungs.
Dry coughs, on the other hand, do not produce a lot of phlegm (source 1).
Cat Coughing and Gagging
Why does my cat cough and gag?
This is probably the most common concern cat owners have when they see their cats cough.
Gagging should be a big red flag for Maine Coon cat owners as it indicates an underlying health disorder. Regardless of whether your cat gags regularly or only occasionally, it is crucial to understand what the underlying causes of this problem could be.
Some of the most typical reasons for cats coughing and gagging at the same time include:
- Intake of Foreign Objects
- Heart Disease
- Kidney or Liver Disease
Always consult a veterinarian when you are in doubt, especially in a scenario like this, to ensure that your Maine Coon doesn’t have any other underlying health issues that could be causing them to gag.
When it comes to your cats health, it’s always better to be safe than regrettable (source 1).
Cat Coughing After Eating
Your Maine Coon may cough after eating or drinking water.
While it may not be something to worry about because your cat may have simply eaten too fast, it is worth keeping in mind that this could also be something serious.
A Maine Coon cat coughing after eating or drinking is a sign of laryngeal dysfunction.
According to the ASPCA, cats who cough after eating, or while eating, may be suffering from a condition of the larynx or the esophagus.
Identifying whether or not this is the first episode (or whether or not it occurs just seasonally), and the response to any previous therapy can aid in narrowing the search for an underlying cause of the cough (source 1,2).
Cat Coughing and Wheezing
The presence of a wheezing sound between coughs may suggest that your Maine Coon cat is not getting enough oxygen to its lungs.
Wheezing is created in the lower airways and occurs when the air passageways become constrictive. Inflammation can create swelling in the air passageways.
A Maine Coon cat coughing and wheezing may also point to clear signs of asthma.
Why Does My Cat Only Cough At Night?
If you have noticed that your Maine Coon only coughs at night, and you are concerned about the reason, look no more!
The first reason a cat might be coughing only at night, is because they are feeling cold.
If not cold, then your cat coughing at night might be indicating feline asthma. Asthma is a common disease in cats.
While some cats display their symptoms throughout the day, some only portray theirs at night time. This is because cats get sufficient fresh air throughout the day, but at nights when the house is packed close, their asthma triggers.
In such a case, you should always consult a vet to get your cat adequately treated.
Elderly Cats Coughing
If you have noticed your older cat coughing and sneezing, it is natural to be alarmed.
As Maine Coon cats grow older, they become increasingly suseptable to developing major health disorders, including:
- Kidney and Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
An upper respiratory infection frequently accompanies coughing and sneezing in elderly cats.
Symptoms of a disease of the nasal passages include sneezing and a runny nose, but some of the discharge also runs back into the throat, resulting in a coughing fit.
Can Cats Get Kennel Cough?
A Maine Coon cat may develop kennel cough.
Kennel cough in cats can be caused by various viruses, including:
- Parainfluenza Virus
- Distemper Virus
Another possible cause for felines is mycoplasma infection.
The bordetella bronchiseptica bacteria is the most prevalent cause of kennel cough in domestic cats.
Are Kennel Coughs Contagious?
Kennel coughs are very contagious and can spread quickly among cats kept in boarding facilities, veterinarian clinics, and other places where animals gather.
Below are the most likely ways that Maine Coon kennel cough spreads:
1. Direct Contact
Indirect contact with other sick animals might result in cats becoming infected with the Bordetella bacterium.
Infected cats will shed rod-shaped germs in their nasal secretions and saliva, as well as in the droplets ejected after a sneeze, which indicates that they have been infected with the bacterium.
Therefore, if an infected cat sneezes, any other cat or dog close may inhale the infected droplets and get infected with the disease.
2. Indirect Contact
A Maine Coon cat might also become infected with kennel cough through indirect contact.
A cat infected with the virus may sneeze on an object, such as a cat bed. After that, a healthy cat may crawl into the bed and become infected with the bacteria there.
How Do I Know If Something Is Stuck In My Cat’s Throat
A few of my readers asked me ‘How do I know if something is stuck in my cat’s throat?’.
In answer to this I advise that if your Maine Coon isn’t showing any symptoms of developing a serious health condition like asthma or kidney disease, it is probably coughing because it has consumed something.
Your kitten’s increased salivation could be an indication that it has something stuck in its throat.
Your Maine Coon may be feeling sick and might even act like vomiting.
Dry heaving (also known as retching) in a Maine Coon cat indicates that your cat has something stuck in its throat, most probably a hairball.
Gagging can sound like a cat cough, or it can sound like a significant episode of choking and stomach contractions, depending on the event’s severity.
3. Trouble Swallowing
If your cat has trouble swallowing its food, then you should look for the rest of the symptoms to determine if it has something stuck in its throat.
4. Loss of Appetite
If a Maine Coon has something stuck in its throat that is causing irritation, it will have difficulty swallowing food. As a result, you might notice your cat has a loss of appetite.
5. Weight Loss
If your cat is showing loss of appetite and is refusing to eat even its favorite snacks, then it likely has something stuck in its throat.
Sudden weight loss is a clear indication that your cat has something stuck in its throat.
If your once-so-playful cat exhibits signs of dullness, then it is a clear sign that it has something stuck in its throat.
7. Breathing Loudly
A Maine Coon cat wil breathe loudly when they choke on something, because the choked object acts as a barrier in their respiratory tract.
8. Panicked Behavior
Your Maine Coon may look like they are having a panic attack, if something is stuck in their throat.
Many owners are concerned when they hear their Maine Coon cat coughing.
As you will have seen though, not all causes of gagging are significant, whereas others may need immediate veterinarian intervention.
However, if you observe your cat gagging, or your Maine Coon displays any signs of respiratory distress, or you suspect they may have swallowed or ingested a foreign object, seek emergency veterinary care immediately.