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Random coughing/hairball noise once a day in both kittens

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by rubyruby, Feb 12, 2021.


  1. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone! A very anxious new kitten mum here who is a classic over-thinker haha. I adopted two former street kitties three weeks ago, a pair of sisters (they suspect anyway), they're 10 month old at the best guess and were sterilised just before I got them. They were rescued at 7 months and lived in a foster home for a while with their other siblings. They went to the vets Monday and given a clean bill of health and their first shot - they'll go back in 15 days for the next round. But as with most pets, they've decided to throw a few confusing things at me in the days since seeing the vet!

    Last couple of days both kittens have woken up in the middle of their afternoon nap and kind of...coughed/gagged? Quite a dry 'something's coming up' noise, or like maybe they're going to do a hairball. Maybe a bit like a cough in a human. They stir just beforehand like they know it's about to happen. It lasts around 5 seconds, 8-10 at most, then they stop, lick their nose a bit, and then go back to sleep. That happened yesterday once, and it's happened again today around same time and mid-nap again. In the same order - one does it, and then an hour later the other does the same! They're sleeping next to me right now and I can't hear a thing from their chests or anything. They're eating normally, not thrown up and their litter box activity is normal (one had a little upset tummy since her vaccines but seems to be getting much better). All their energy and play levels are normal. Except for maybe an hour long shopping trip both days, I am with them from when they wake up to when they go to bed and have only heard it once each from them. Is it maybe just a minor cold and it only really does that little thing because they're asleep/relaxed? Not sure it can be a hairball if nothing comes up? Their big afternoon nap usually happens after their big grooming session. They're short hairs but seem to be malting a lot - haven't got them used to a brush yet but working on it. I don't know if it happens at night, they sleep in the room next to mine and I'm not sure I'd hear it unless I was awake as it's so short and quite quiet. So as far as I know it's just twice in two days, but for both of them. I'm really confused as to what it could be!

    Thanks in advance everyone!
     
  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome :)

    It would be unusual for both kittens to have hairballs at the same time. Also hairballs are vomited up, not coughed up, so the noise the kittens would make would be retching, not coughing and I would expect them to bring up at least something from their stomachs.

    As they are both coughing it seems most likely they may have some kind of respiratory infection, probably secondary to a mild case of a virus. Cats do not suffer from colds as humans do, but they can suffer from viruses which cause "cat flu". The most common is the Feline Herpesvirus (FHV) and the second most common is Feline Calicivirus (FCV). These are vaccinated against in the core vaccines but, like most vaccines, do not give 100% protection. Although if a vaccinated cat caught any of the viruses, they would get milder symptoms of the illness.

    I would see how they go over the next few days but if their symptoms get worse I would get them seen by the vet straight away. If it is a respiratory infection, then it will not go away by itself but will need a course of antibiotics.

    The other possibility is asthma, but I think it would unlikely to affect both cats at exactly the same time, and also I'd expect there to be wheezing between the bouts of coughing.

    As they are moulting a lot it is probably because they are in a warmer (centrally heated) environment in your home than they have been used to. As they are shorthaired kitties they. may be happier with you using a short toothed comb rather than a brush to groom them with. Make sure the ends of the teeth are rounded so they don't scratch their skin. Combing usually calms down the coat rather than stimulating it as brushing often does.

    If you do use a brush, I advise avoiding the 'Zoom Groom', which over stimulates the coat and makes them shed even more fur.
     
    Nicola234 likes this.
  3. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you for your detailed reply! Since I wrote this I've never heard this coughing thing from them - again not sure if it happens at night time or the one hour a day I'm out the house, but so far nothing. One of the girls is sneezing a lot less than she has done the whole 3 weeks she's been here! The other who never really sneezed though had a weird sneezing fit this morning. Sounded very wet and aggressive, and her nose was making a little squeaking sound, she breathed through her mouth for a moment, and then she sneezed four or five times in a row to clear it, rubbed her face, and then went on with things. Not had it since. She was under my bed which is dust bunny heaven so I really need to vacuum under there. The girls still seem absolutely fine otherwise, everything else about them is tip top. So I will keep an eye on them and if anything changes I'll head to the vet. They have an appointment on 22nd so if it stays same I might wait til then. And for now I think that whatever they have had or have seems to be passing, or is maybe a reaction to my super dusty house. We did also have a sandstorm blow through town recently and it's blossom season so I am so stuffed up right now, i sound worse than them for sure haha.

    Great to know about the grooming I will look into what you suggest!

     
  4. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    Pay attention to the timing of your heating turning on and see if there is a pattern there.
     
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @rubyruby - a cat can certainly have an allergy to house dust mites. If your house is very dusty, particularly under your bed where the kitties like to sit, I would make immediate changes and start vacuuming regularly every few days on a permanent basis..

    I think you may have identified the problem.
     
  6. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    Actually no central heating here (I'm actually a Brit abroad in Spain :D) but I do think that dust might be the culprit here. The city had a sandstorm last week. I just did a big hoover and dust and wow. It set my allergies off terribly. I think these poor kitties might be struggling same way as me! I was looking into buying an air filter and that's now tip of my list.
     
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  7. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    Oh it's so dusty, I live in a known dusty/sandy city and I've always struggled with it. I'm getting the feeling you might be right! I just hoovered and mopped and my gosh the dust that came up was astounding. Under the bed where she was this morning was thick with it - and I only hoovered last week!! I hope that helps them. I'll keep an eye on them and hoover every day for a while, see if that helps. Air filter has been top of my list to buy for a while. I think payday is tomorrow so I will be buying one asap!!
     
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  8. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    As of yesterday the one coughing kitty has stopped coughing - but is now very stuffed up!! Poor thing still eats and drinks as normal and wants to play, but everything is accompanied by snorting and scoffing noises. Off to the vets with her tonight to see what they can suggest. For now I'm taking her in a steamy bathroom whenever I can (and for however long I can stand the wailing at being shut in a room!!) and wiping her nose - although doesn't seem to be coming out in drips or anything. The other is going with her because she is scratching her ears a lot and I suspect she has her sister's ear mites. Sigh!!
     
  9. rubyruby

    rubyruby PetForums Newbie

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    Just posting a little update in case anyone has a kitten with similar symptoms. I was fully expecting to go to the vets and hear it was a cat flu. Turns out, both girls have ear infections from having ear mite infestations before they came to me. I knew they'd had them, and I Was even given ear drops to use for one week when they arrived - which I did. The last vet check up a week ago showed that it was under control. Obviously, it got out of control. The one with the severe nasal congestion was thanks to all the goop in her ears, poor thing!! So that's ten days of ear drops coming up. Phew.
     
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