black and white cat on exam table with stethoscope on chest
Hairballs often take the blame for a cat's chronic coughing, but the problem could be deeper than that.

Symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, open-mouthed breathing and heaving may indicate a cat with asthma, according to the newsletter of the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. These attacks can be brought on by stress and allergens, with common allergens including cigarette smoke, pollen, dust, mold, aerosols, perfume, deodorizers, dusty cat litter and food. Common treatment ranges from allergy medication similar to bronchodilators to oxygen therapy.

Be sure to talk with your vet if you cat has a chronic coughing problem.