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Cats cough just like humans and due to identical reasons. It is a reflex action and happens when something irritates the throat back, lungs, or the breathing passages. The body quickly responds, expelling the cause of the irritation. It constitutes a vital mechanism for protection of air passages and lungs from any foreign objects and the expulsion of infectious matter from the body. Cats have different varieties of coughs like humans: a single cough, dry cough, moist cough, wheezing cough and half cough among a few others.A productive cough and hairballs
The kind of a cough explains a lot about the cause. It is vital to note if it is a productive cough (meaning accompanied by fluids or other matters) or a non-productive one. Any a cough could be a simple irritation of the throat or could symbolize a larger problem. Consult the veterinarian for any clarification about a cough. It will go a long way as to find out the cause of a cough.For cats, hairballs constitute a frequent reason for coughs. This can be easily treated with over-the-counter (OTC) medication. As an owner, you can easily tell a hairball is a problem as the kitty would expel a "ball" made of hair. Persistent coughs point to an upper respiratory infection. This is generally accompanied by sneezing. There could also be incidences of watery eyes, fever, or a runny nose. Take your kitty to the veterinarian as quickly as possible.Major Causes
The incidence of upper respiratory infections and hairballs are minor when compared to what your cat actually suffers in the case of chronic coughs. In case the cat coughs only when it exercises, then it may suffer from acute bronchitis. This is a form of lung inflammation. If this is the case, then the cat will cough up its mucus. It may also suffer from feline asthma. This is a chronic lung inflammation which makes breathing extremely difficult. A persistent cough is a symptom. A number of other symptoms generally accompany it, like wheezing, open-mouthed breathing, and bluish gums. The cat may also gasp for breath.Serious diseases including asthma may begin with a simple cough. To give an example, a mild and moist cough may become productive over a period of time and point to congestive heart failure. The coughs could also be due to the presence of a fungal infection or pneumonia. There could also be the incidence of heartworms or lymphoma. All these illnesses could be treated successfully if caught early. This is the reason you should take your cat to the veterinarian if a cough lasts longer than a couple of days. If you observe your cat pawing at its mouth and coughing, then something could be stuck in its mouth or throat.