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Forum Member LucyandLavender Posted:

Lucy just gave me a scare. She had a coughing fit or something that lasted for a good 20 seconds. I couldn't figure out what on earth she was doing, and it really alarmed me. It wasn't sneezing or retching, but an almost spasmodic cough type activity (definitely not a seizure.) At first I thought maybe she'd gotten something into her mouth and was choking, but that wasn't it. Then I thought it must be a hairball, but nothing came up. She seemed fine afterwards except for being a bit hoarse, but I'm wondering what on earth that was.

I've never seen any cat in the act of producing a hairball, and I've certainly never heard any cat make a sound like that, so I don't know how seriously to take this. Can anyone enlighten me? The vet (who they saw yesterday for shots) told me not to hesitate to call with any questions, but if I called every time some weird little thing happened I'd be calling 3 times a week ...

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November 2, 2006 at 1:39 pm
(1) Jane C. says:

My calico cat, Dixie, also has had several bouts of these “dry,” coughing spells, without hairballs and there was never anything drastically wrong.
She just gets over them. I believe her immune system was down abit because I had adopted her and she had them quite frequently when I first got her. However, as she got healthier and stronger, she gets them once in a while but they are largely due to a hairball now!

November 2, 2006 at 5:41 pm
(2) Don Harribine says:

Its a fur ball. One of my cats experiences this occasionally.

November 2, 2006 at 6:02 pm
(3) Sarah says:

We got our cat Teddy (a Birman at 7 months) about 3 months ago. I noticed he had been sneezing and was short of breath when we played with him. One night I wormed him with Topitrex (Don’t ever use – it stains their fur and they hate it, I have learnt my lesson) but it set him off on this really bad coughing fit. After the fit he had rasping breathing and the odd cough. I booked him into the vet and explained the history. Anyway, the vet did some tests on Ted and he was borderline anemic. He also had very bad gingivitus for a cat of his age. This was caused by a virus he would have been exposed to at the cattery which came up on the tests (dont have paperwork on me so can’t say what it is) But It was causing the wheezing short breath etc. He’s now on antibiotics to clear the remaining symptons and hopefully will be ok. I erred on the side of caution, and I’m glad I did because hopefully now we can get Teddy better. He has improved heaps since being on his tablets. So I reckon you should go to vet perhaps can get some tests done.

November 2, 2006 at 7:15 pm
(4) Lillian says:

My cat TAZ had fits of coughing, with heavy breathing after bout, & hoarseness, she was diagnosed as having asthma.
She was put on Prednisone with that medication you must be careful as you can get infections easily which she did & was on baytril.
I did however stop her use of prednisone [after you taper off dosage] & she does not seem to have that much coughing anymore.
I stopped the medication because it weakened her to infections which out weighed the asthmatic attacks.
I beleive it was mostly stress related as during that period [which was over 1 year] was at its worse, I had added more cats to my household

November 2, 2006 at 7:19 pm
(5) Patsy says:

Two of my cats have occasional asthma attacks. Kiki was in the bathroom when my sister used tub or toilet cleaner. I had to take her to the vet. None of my cats are on meds for the asthma, but we shut them out when we use strong cleaning agents. Some new carpeting causes asthma in people and animals also.

November 2, 2006 at 8:46 pm
(6) Dorothy says:

Our dog & cat will react with this type of ‘dry’ coughing if they are in the area when I use or have used hair spray. Needless to say, I don’t use that type of product anymore ’cause there are other things that I can use & the cat & dog are very important to us.

November 2, 2006 at 10:08 pm
(7) angela says:

It sounds weird, right? Like she has a duck call stuck in her throat? My cat Blutarska does this about once every month or two. Way down from when I first got her. She’s fine. She does have a touch of asthma, though, on occasion. She gets medicine rubbed on the inside of her ears for that, some kind of steroid.

November 3, 2006 at 10:12 am
(8) Rachel says:

I definitely think you should err on the side of caution and at least call your vet! My vet told me last time I was in that it is better to be over cautious about your cat’s health. Good luck!

November 3, 2006 at 11:40 am
(9) mike says:

My cat recently went through this and it was determined he has asthma. He was put on Baytril for a couple of weeks and he hasn’t had any coughing (at least while I’m around) since then. It has been over a month. it is better to take your cat to the vet and get it looked at. Like Rachel said, it is better to be more cautious. It took my cat about 2 weeks to get back to his normal playful self after the Baytril, so don’t worry if your cat is lethargic.

November 3, 2006 at 4:55 pm
(10) Sue Gruber says:

You definitely should take your cat right to the vet. My cat had a very deep cough off and on, rarely, and it turned out to be an upper respiratory infection. She needed the antibiodic Zithromax to clear it up. Coughing is not something cats generally do, so I would take her right to the vet.

November 5, 2006 at 3:49 pm
(11) Linda says:

My cat Lucy also does something similar to that….I’ve figured out that she doesn’t like any congestion whatsoever in her nose….seems like a seizure, but it’s not. She seems to be trying to blow her nose!

November 6, 2006 at 9:42 am
(12) Lyn says:

I too have a calico that sometimes coughs. No fur balls, that is a differnt thing all together. She is fine after and continues her usual playtime. I am always highly on guard when this happens and it happened more when I first adopted her as a kitten than it does now, four years later. I would suggest you keep an eye on your cat and observe any changes in any of the patterns, playing, eating, sleeping etc. It’s never too much to be overly concerned but don’t panic either.

November 6, 2006 at 1:04 pm
(13) Catiea says:

My Maxwell Cat had the coughing when he was 2. The Vet gave him baytril. We moved across country and his cough returned – they thought it was asthma, the steroids made it worse. He ended up nearly dying with a pleural effusion (infection in the lining of the lungs) Surgery and 13 days in hospital. Very Stressful. He is now 10 and has coughed 2 times this year. I’m not worried about it as long as his ears are cool and he is eating and drinking, and still his-self.

^..^ Catiea

December 4, 2006 at 2:13 pm
(14) Monica Siebe says:

Sounds like feline asthema. happens to my cat all the time and she is now on an inhaler. go to a website about feline asthema to make sure. a cat w/this will lower his head to the ground and the stomach will involuntairly press in while she coughs like she is trying to get a hairball out, but there is no hairball. fritzthebrave.com is the best site for this. beware of allowing your cat to take prednisone by injection or pill. it worked for 2 years, but my cat eventually stopped eating and almost died from fatty liver disease. the inhaler works great with no side effects!

May 1, 2007 at 5:48 pm
(15) RhettWilson says:

Great stuff here!
I’ll definitely bookmark this place and come back soon.


July 6, 2007 at 11:22 am
(16) dclcgtwoor says:

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August 14, 2007 at 7:01 pm
(17) dik says:

Thank you very much.>

August 18, 2007 at 1:01 pm
(18) shaz2jag says:

Ari has started this over the last couple of days, woke me up three times last night, so he has been given a time limit, either furball by monday, stop coughing…or your headed to the vets little man! He’s been sleeping more too, hiding up and away from my daughter, he’s eating okay, but not trying his luck everytime I go to the fridge, so he must be feeling a little low.

August 31, 2007 at 1:06 am
(19) Ron says:

Yes! so hold.n

November 30, 2007 at 2:26 pm
(20) deirdre says:

What does it sound like when a cat is working up a furball? How long should it take for one to appear? My cat I just got from the shelter (she’s 3yrs)makes a sound like she is trying to get a popcorn shell out from the back of her throat. It’s been three -four days and no furball. She acts happy and normal, just makes the noise a couple times a day.

February 25, 2008 at 9:18 pm
(21) kjdiesal says:

Everyone said cats took care of themselves! oh boy did I learn a hard lesson!

January 15, 2009 at 11:04 pm
(22) azmi says:

I just lost Siti my female cat last night. She choked on her food while eating, it was 8 pm and all the Vets nearby were off. It was scary as she was in fits, and highly stressed. Her tongue was blue and eyes bulged out, wide open but unseeing. She passed out and I am grieving badly now as I didn’t know what to do and there was nowhere I could have taken her for Veterinary help at that time of night. I cradled her as she slowly gasped her last breaths, while her body shook in spasms. My darling Siti, sorry if I was at a loss and was not able to help you. The Vet felt that it could have been a cardiac arrest due to her blocked airways as we couldn;t get the choked food out. I do not wish this to happen to anyone, it is so heartbreaking.

November 19, 2009 at 8:02 am
(23) Deanna says:

Do any of you use Swiffer wet jet? My cat has had terrible allergy symptoms for months. It started out with constant biting of his paws ans he developed a pretty severe nailbed infection. He also began to have coughing fits and awful allergies with lots of sneezing and wheezing. I never knew what suddenly brought it on. My mom had heard that Swiffer is harmful to pets, often causing them to have seizures. I know this is supposedly a hoax, but my cats problems started after I started using a Swiffer Wet Jet. He is 8 years old. Now he can’t seem to kick the allergies. I’ve recently moved so he hasn’t been exposed for a few months. However, I think his immune system was compromised and he still can’t get well. Since he doesn’t cough at the vet, they can’t find anything wrong. Antibiotics did not help. We still use Febreeze, but now I’ve just read it can cause similar symptoms in some pets. I’m starting to think we should stop using that as well. Maybe some pets are more susceptible than others.

January 9, 2010 at 3:33 am
(24) miss ann says:

Azmi, I am so sorry for your lose. You should know and others if your cat is ever choking you can perform the Heimlich Manuver on your cat. Perhaps you tried this and it did not work. Again I am sorry. But here are the rules for others to know if their cats are ever truly choking.
If you witness your pet ingesting an item and then doing any of the following, only then should the Heimlich maneuver be considered.

Pawing at the face or the throat

Acting frantic

Trying to cough

Difficulty breathing
Examine inside the mouth and remove any foreign object you see. Do not blindly place your finger down your pet’s throat and pull any object you feel. Cats have small bones that support the base of their tongues. Owners probing the throat for a foreign object have mistaken these for chicken bones. Do not attempt to remove an object unless you can see and identify it.If you cannot easily remove the object, lift and suspend him with the head pointed down. This can help dislodge an item stuck in the throat.

Another method is to administer a sharp blow with the palm of your hand between the shoulder blades. This can sometimes dislodge an object. If this does not work, a modified Heimlich maneuver can be attempted.

Grasp the animal around the waist so that the rear is nearest to you, similar to a bear hug.

Place a fist just behind the ribs.

Compress the abdomen several times (usually 3-5 times) with quick pushes.

Check the mouth to see if the foreign object has been removed.

This maneuver can be repeated once or twice but if not successful on the first attempt, make immediate arrangements to take your pet to the nearest veterinary hospital.

Even if you are successful in removing a foreign object, veterinary examination is recommended. Internal injury could have occurred that you may not realize.

October 10, 2012 at 8:33 am
(25) georgia says:

My 16 yr old has been doing a spastic cough lately. He is a Himalayan and has been diagnosed with pancreatitis. Is on antibiotics and digestive Pepsin AC for nausea. Also on subcutaneous fluids 3 xs a week.

The coughing is new. The vet said it is spastic burping. Any body have any experience with this?

October 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm
(26) Carol says:

My second cat gets that kind of cough too—it practically puts her down on her belly, she crouches real low and stretches her neck out and has that dry cough. What I’ve noticed is that the ONLY time she ever has this cough is when she’s been trying to get a toy/etc out from under the front of the refrigerator. My first cat had the EXACT same thing happen to her every time she messed around by the bottom of the front of the refrigerator too (it’s the same refrigerator.) The second cat NEVER had any coughing fits in her life (she lived to age 25 yrs) until she had it for the first time by this refrigerator and then would have the coughing fit every time she tried to get stuff out from under the refrigerator — both cats, when they are reaching under the refrigerator would have their faces/noses as far under as possible. Could there be something — a vapor or ??–coming from the refrigerator? Please respond if you’ve noticed the same set of circumstances with your cat and when it coughs like this.

September 14, 2013 at 7:01 pm
(27) Nancy says:

My Maine Coon Edgar suddenly started having coughing spills two days ago. We first thought it was a hairball but nothing is coming out. He doesn’t seem to feel very well and you can hear some noise in his lungs when you pick him up. It’s weekend and there is no vet available. I’m just hoping he makes it to Monday when we can bring him in the vet!

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