Cat Food, Wet/Canned Food

Why Does My Cat Cough After Eating Wet Food?

Why Does My Cat Cough After Eating Wet Food?

Wet cat food is easier to eat than a raw diet or dry kibble. Cats prefer wet cat food because of its high moisture content, softer texture, and stronger aroma. However, if your cat coughs after eating wet food, and it happens every now and then, you need to observe her closely.

Cat Cough After Eating Wet Food

5 Reasons Your Cat Coughs After Eating Wet Food

Eating Too Quickly

When cats eat too quickly, they may not chew their food properly, which can lead to coughing. This hurried eating can cause pieces of food to irritate the throat or even lead to mild choking. Some cats are prone to eating fast, especially in multi-cat households where there’s competition for food. To mitigate this, consider using slow-feeder bowls or spreading the food on a flat surface to slow their eating pace.

Allergies or Sensitivities

Cats can have allergies or sensitivities to certain ingredients in their food, which can cause coughing after eating. This reaction could be due to specific proteins, grains, or additives in wet food. Signs of a food allergy can also include skin irritation, gastrointestinal upset, or lethargy. If you suspect an allergy, consult a vet who may recommend an elimination diet to identify the offending ingredient.

Respiratory Conditions

Cats with underlying respiratory conditions, like asthma or bronchitis, can be more prone to coughing, which can be exacerbated after eating. The act of eating and swallowing can sometimes trigger a coughing fit in cats with sensitive airways. This is especially true if they get excited or move quickly during or after eating. Monitoring and managing the underlying respiratory condition is crucial in these cases.

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

Just like in humans, cats can suffer from gastroesophageal reflux, where stomach acid flows back into the esophagus. This can cause irritation and lead to coughing after eating. Cats with GERD may eat quickly to alleviate discomfort but end up exacerbating the issue. Treatment for GERD often includes dietary changes and medications to reduce stomach acid.

Foreign Body in Food

Occasionally, coughing after eating can be caused by a foreign object or a particularly hard piece in the wet food that irritates the throat. It’s important to check the food for any unusual components. If coughing persists or if you suspect your cat has ingested something harmful, a veterinary visit is necessary to rule out any potential obstructions in the throat or digestive tract.

5 Reasons Your Cat Coughs After Eating Wet Food

Other Reasons your Cat may Cough

  • Hairballs: Cats groom themselves and can ingest fur, which forms hairballs that may cause coughing when they try to expel them.
  • Heart Disease: In cats, heart disease can lead to fluid accumulation in or around the lungs, causing coughing.
  • Infectious Diseases: Respiratory infections, such as feline herpesvirus or calicivirus, can cause coughing as a symptom.
  • Parasites: Lungworms and other parasites can infect a cat’s respiratory system, leading to coughing.
  • Environmental Irritants: Smoke, dust, perfumes, and other airborne irritants can cause a cat to cough due to irritation of the respiratory tract.
  • Feline Asthma: Similar to human asthma, feline asthma causes inflammation of the airways and can lead to coughing fits.

Other Reasons your Cat may Cough

How to Treat Cough in Cats after Eating Wet Food?

Treating a cat’s cough after eating wet food involves first identifying the underlying cause. If the cough is due to eating too quickly, using slow-feeder bowls or spreading out the food can help. For suspected allergies, an elimination diet or switching to a hypoallergenic food might be necessary.

In cases of respiratory issues or gastroesophageal reflux, veterinary advice is crucial for appropriate medication and management strategies. Always ensure the wet food is fresh and free from potential contaminants. If the cough persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, a visit to the vet is essential for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

How to Treat Cough in Cats after Eating Wet Food

General Treatment Guide for Cough in Cats

  • Veterinary Diagnosis: A vet can identify the underlying cause of the cough through physical examination, x-rays, or blood tests.
  • Medication: Depending on the cause, medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, or bronchodilators may be prescribed.
  • Dietary Management: For coughs related to food allergies or sensitivities, a change in diet to hypoallergenic or specific formula foods may be recommended.
  • Environmental Modification: Reducing exposure to potential irritants like smoke, dust, or strong fragrances can help alleviate coughing.
  • Parasite Control: Regular deworming and parasite prevention is crucial if the cough is related to parasites like lungworms.
  • Managing Stress: Stress can exacerbate coughing in cats, so ensuring a calm and comfortable environment is important.
  • Hydration: Keeping cats well-hydrated can help, especially if the cough is related to hairballs or respiratory infections.
  • Regular Grooming: Regular grooming can reduce hairball formation, a common cause of coughing in cats.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cat cough serious? When should I see a vet for cat cough?

Cat cough can range from mild to serious. You should see a vet if the cough is persistent, accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or if it suddenly worsens. A vet can assess whether it’s a sign of a more serious underlying condition.

What is the difference between a hairball and a cat cough?

A hairball is specifically caused by the accumulation of ingested fur in the stomach, leading to hacking or gagging as the cat tries to expel it. In contrast, a cat cough can be caused by various reasons, such as respiratory infections, allergies, or heart disease, and involves a consistent coughing sound or pattern.

Why is my cat coughing after eating dry food?

Coughing after eating dry food could be due to the cat eating too fast or having difficulty chewing the kibbles, which can irritate the throat. It could also be a reaction to a specific ingredient in the dry food, signaling a food sensitivity or allergy. If this is a recurrent issue, consulting with a veterinarian is advisable.

Why does my cat try to bury her food?

This behavior in your cat could stem from an ancestral survival instinct. Wild cats often cover their food to prevent attracting other predators or as a way to preserve leftovers, and domestic cats sometimes exhibit these same instincts.

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