Exploring the Differences between Cat Cough and Hairball in Cats
As a cat owner, you might have heard your feline friend making coughing or hacking sounds that indicate some kind of discomfort. In most cases, cat parents assume it might be a hairball, but, it could also be cat cough. It’s essential to observe the difference between the two to provide proper care and treatment. In this article, we will explore the difference between cat cough and hairball in detail.
What is Cat Cough?
Cat cough is a symptom of respiratory distress that leads to acute inflammation in the airway. It can be accompanied by wheezing, labored breathing, and even vomiting. There are several reasons behind cat cough, including allergies, infections, asthma, heartworm, or cancer.
Examples of Cat Cough
Any instance of your kitty’s coughing may indicate cat cough and not a hairball. A severe cough with labored breathing should always be taken seriously and addressed by a veterinarian.
Uses of Cat Cough
Cat cough is indicative of a more severe underlying ailment and shouldn’t be ignored. It is always advisable to watch out for the symptoms and seek veterinary attention promptly.
What is Hairball?
Hairballs in cats occur as a result of your kitty grooming themselves. While grooming, cats ingest loose fur, which then forms into a mass and blocks the digestive tract. Hairballs are not uncommon in cats and aren’t alarming if they happen occasionally. However, they might be dangerous if they frequently occur.
Examples of Hairball
Anytime your cat regurgitates a hairball, it’s usually a hairball. This is often followed by coughing up a cylinder-shaped mass of fur.
Uses of Hairball
Hairballs, while not unusual in cats, can become a concern if they occur frequently. Brushing your cat helps keep their fur from accumulating and therefore prevents hairball formation in their digestive tract.
Differences between Cat Cough and Hairball
|Area of Difference
|Coughing, wheezing, labored breathing, and vomiting.
|Cough followed by regurgitating a cylinder-shaped mass of fur.
|Asthma, infection, allergies, heartworm, cancer, etc.
|The ingestion of loose and dead fur from grooming.
|Antibiotics or steroids, oxygen therapy, or bronchodilators.
|Regular grooming or medication like Laxatone or Petromalt.
|Not common in cats.
|Common in cats and usually not alarming if they happen occasionally.
|May lead to respiratory failure if not addressed early.
|May lead to complications like obstruction of the digestive tract.
|No distinctive sound; cough may be mistaken for choking or hacking.
|Usually accompanied by a distinct sound, indicative of hacking up a hairball.
|Might be challenging to differentiate from hacking or choking.
|Regurgitating a cylindrical mass of fur helps with differentiation.
|Avoid exposure to factors that cause respiratory ailments.
|Regular grooming and medication like Laxatone or Petromalt.
|May last for days to weeks if untreated.
|Takes only a few seconds to minutes.
|Might be considered a severe respiratory infection that needs prompt attention
|Not severe but might lead to complications if it happens frequently.
While cat cough and hairball might seem similar, it’s essential to differentiate between them and provide proper care. A cat cough could be a symptom of a serious respiratory illness, while hairballs might lead to digestive complications. It’s always best to watch out for any unusual coughing patterns and seek veterinary attention promptly.
1. What is the leading cause of cat cough?
Respiratory infections, allergies, or asthma can cause cat cough.
2. Do hairballs occur frequently in cats?
Yes, hairballs are common in cats.
3. Is cat cough a severe ailment?
Yes, cat cough requires prompt veterinary attention as it is a symptom of respiratory distress, which could lead to respiratory failure.
4. What causes hairballs in cats?
Cats develop hairballs from ingesting loose fur while grooming themselves.
5. Can hairballs lead to digestive complications?
Yes, hairballs can lead to complications like obstruction of the digestive tract.
6. How often should I brush my cats to prevent hairballs?
Regular grooming, once per week, can help prevent hairball development in cats.
7. What is the best course of action when I suspect my cat has cat cough?
It would be best to seek veterinary attention immediately when you suspect your cat has cat cough.
8. What does hairball regurgitation look like?
Hairball regurgitation looks like a cylinder-shaped mass of fur.
9. Does a cat cough have any distinctive sound?
No, it might be challenging to differentiate from hacking or choking.
10. Is hairball formation a severe ailment?
No, hairballs are usually not alarming if they happen occasionally. However, they might be dangerous if they occur frequently.
- Respiratory illness in cats
- Cat grooming tips
- Common cat health issues