Laryngitis in Cats: What Every Cat Owner Should Know

As cat lovers, we all adore our feline companions and would do anything to keep them happy and healthy. However, when our furry friends start coughing, wheezing, or losing their voice, it’s natural to worry and feel helpless.

One condition that can affect our precious pets and cause discomfort is laryngitis. Yes, you read that right – just like humans, cats can suffer from this irritating condition! But fret not, because in this article, we’ll take a deep dive into laryngitis in cats and give you all the juicy details.

We’ll cover everything from the causes of this pesky condition, to the symptoms that your kitty might exhibit, and what you can do to help your pet get back to feeling like their old, playful selves. So buckle up, grab your favorite cat-themed mug, and let’s dive into the fascinating world of laryngitis in cats!

What are Laryngitis?

Laryngitis is a condition that causes inflammation or swelling of the larynx, which is commonly known as the voice box. The larynx is located at the top of the trachea or windpipe and contains the vocal cords that produce sound.

Laryngitis in Cats
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Laryngitis can affect cats just like humans, and it can cause them to experience hoarseness, loss of voice, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Laryngitis in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including viral or bacterial infections, allergies, trauma, or underlying medical conditions.

Proper diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian are important to ensure that your cat receives appropriate care and treatment.

Causes of Laryngitis in Cats

Laryngitis in cats can be caused by several factors, including:

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  • Viral infections: Cats can contract respiratory viruses, such as feline calicivirus or herpesvirus, which can lead to inflammation of the larynx.
  • Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections, such as Bordetella bronchiseptica, can cause laryngitis in cats. This bacterium is commonly associated with kennel cough and can be transmitted through contact with infected animals.
  • Allergic reactions: Exposure to irritants, such as dust, smoke, or chemicals, can cause an allergic reaction that leads to inflammation of the larynx[1].
  • Trauma or injury: Trauma to the throat area, such as choking or getting hit in the neck, can cause inflammation and swelling of the larynx.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, heart disease, or cancer, can cause laryngitis in cats as a secondary symptom.
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Symptoms of Laryngitis in Cats

The symptoms of laryngitis in cats can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause of the condition. However, some of the most common symptoms of laryngitis in cats include:

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  • Hoarseness or loss of voice: Cats with laryngitis may sound raspy or have difficulty meowing.
  • Coughing: Laryngitis can cause cats to develop a dry or hacking cough.
  • Difficulty breathing: Cats may experience shortness of breath, wheezing, or labored breathing due to the inflammation in their larynx.
  • Swallowing difficulties: Cats may have difficulty swallowing due to pain and inflammation in their throat.
  • Lethargy: Cats with laryngitis may be less active than usual and may have a decreased appetite.
  • Fever: Cats with laryngitis may have a fever, which is a common symptom of viral and bacterial infections.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Laryngitis in Cats

A veterinarian usually performs a comprehensive physical check-up to diagnose laryngitis in cats. The vet examines the cat for indications of inflammation or enlargement in the larynx and listens for unusual sounds during breathing.

Diagnosing Laryngitis in Cats
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Additionally, swabbing the cat’s throat may be necessary to test for bacterial or viral infections. In certain situations, advanced diagnostic procedures like X-rays or blood tests might be required to detect any underlying medical conditions that could cause laryngitis.

The treatment for laryngitis in cats depends on the underlying cause of the condition. For example:

  • If the laryngitis is caused by a viral or bacterial infection, the vet may prescribe antibiotics, antiviral medication, or other supportive care.
  • If the laryngitis is caused by an allergy or irritation, the vet may recommend removing the irritant and prescribing antihistamines or steroids.
  • If the laryngitis is caused by an underlying medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, the vet will work to manage the underlying condition.
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In addition to medical treatment, there are several things you can do at home to help your cat recover from laryngitis. These include providing plenty of fresh water to help keep your cat hydrated, using a humidifier to help ease breathing, and avoiding exposure to irritants, such as smoke or dust.

In severe cases, laryngitis can lead to complications such as respiratory distress, pneumonia, or other secondary infections. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your cat’s symptoms closely and seek prompt medical attention if their condition worsens or fails to improve with treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is laryngitis in cats contagious?

Laryngitis itself is not contagious, but the underlying infections or viruses that can cause laryngitis in cats can be contagious. Therefore, it’s important to keep your cat isolated from other animals if they are diagnosed with a contagious infection.

How long does it take for laryngitis to heal in cats?

The length of time it takes for laryngitis to heal in cats can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause of the condition. Mild cases of laryngitis may clear up within a few days to a week with proper treatment, while more severe cases may take several weeks to fully heal.

Can laryngitis in cats cause permanent damage?

In rare cases, severe or prolonged laryngitis in cats can cause permanent damage to the larynx or lead to complications such as chronic respiratory distress. Therefore, it’s important to seek prompt veterinary care if your cat is showing symptoms of laryngitis.


Laryngitis in cats is a condition that can cause discomfort and respiratory distress. While it can be alarming to see your cat struggling to breathe or vocalize, the good news is that laryngitis is usually treatable with proper veterinary care.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for laryngitis in cats, you can help your feline companion recover from this condition and prevent it from recurring in the future.

If you suspect that your cat may have laryngitis, be sure to seek prompt veterinary care to ensure the best possible outcome for your furry friend.

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