Coughing in cats is not a terribly common condition. Unlike with humans, for whom a cough or two a day is perfectly normal, a cat’s cough is a less-than-typical thing.

Yet a cat might cough for a completely understandable, nonmedical reason. Two common reasons for a kitty cough:

A hairball. Cats with hairball issues will often cough a few times before eventually expelling the matted, gastric juice-soaked fur.

An ill-advised meal. Cats who have a penchant for ingesting leaves, grass, and other atypical items might cough as the stuff irritates their throats on the way down.

However, if your cat coughs persistently or if the cough is accompanied by breathing problems, it could signal a medical problem. Asthma, heart disease, heartworm disease, respiratory infection, and cancer are just a few of the medical conditions that can cause cats to cough.

That’s why you should take your cat to the vet if your cat coughs for no apparent reason, especially if it happens more than once or twice a day. If she is also listless, sneezing, wheezing, having a hard time breathing, or doesn’t want to eat, get there fast.

This article was written by a Veterinarian.