Few things evoke more joy for a cat owner than Kitty curled up on the lap and purring contentedly. Granted that cats still purr even when they are in distress or in pain, for the most part purring expresses a state of pleasure.
But when this delightful purring results into a fit of coughing, it may suggest a number of things. At the very least it indicates that something is irritating your cat’s throat or windpipe since coughing is a reflex action when something irritates the respiratory tract. This “something” may be as mundane as dust particles, smoke, strong odours and the like. It may also signal the emergence of a hairball, although in the strict sense, a cat does not “cough out” a hairball but instead “vomits” them since hairballs come from the digestive tract and not from the respiratory tract.
When this incidence of coughing after purring becomes more frequent and regular, it may be indicative of more serious afflictions like Upper Respiratory Tract Infections brought on by viruses or bacteria, immune-mediated conditions like Feline Asthma, migratory parasitic worms, and a number of other possible airway and lung disease conditions. It is important to remember that coughing may also be brought about by diseases in organs outside of the respiratory system like in the heart.
Coughing after purring is just a manifestation that something is not right and only your veterinarian can perform a thorough history, physical, and laboratory examination on your cat to determine the cause for the coughing and start appropriate treatment.
For the general health of your cat, preventative measures can be taken. Though not a medical accessory in itself, our friends in the UK – Miaustore – have developed a cat drinking fountain that encourages cats to drink more water. Since many cats’ health issues derive from dehydration it is certainly a good investment.
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