Why Does My Cat Cough After Drinking Water?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the most common reasons cats cough after drinking and provide tips on what you can do about it.

Welcome, cat owners! Have you ever noticed your feline friend coughing after they drink water? If so, you may be wondering what could be causing this peculiar behavior. It’s quite common for cats to experience coughing episodes after drinking water, but the reasons behind it can vary. In this blog post, we will delve into the possible explanations for why your cat coughs after drinking water, exploring both harmless and concerning factors to help you better understand your pet’s health. So, let’s get to the bottom of this mystery and unravel the truth behind your cat’s unusual post-water rituals!

Why Does My Cat Cough After Drinking Water?

Just like humans, cats can sometimes cough for various reasons. Here are some possible explanations for your cat’s cough after drinking water:

Water going down the wrong pipe: This can happen if the cat drinks too fast or in an awkward position, causing some water to enter the windpipe instead of the esophagus, leading to coughing.

Underlying health issues: Conditions like respiratory infections, asthma, or heart disease can cause your cat to cough. If the coughing is persistent, it’s best to consult a vet.

Hairballs: Cats clean themselves by licking their fur, which can lead to the formation of hairballs in their digestive tract. These hairballs can irritate the throat, causing the cat to cough.

Allergies: Just like humans, cats can also have allergies. If your cat starts coughing after drinking water, the cause might be an allergic reaction to something in the water or the environment.

Dental problems: Dental issues in cats can cause discomfort and change the way your cat drinks water, which could lead to coughing.

Should I Be Concerned If My Cat Coughs After Drinking Water?

While occasional coughing after drinking water may not necessarily be a cause for concern, it’s essential to monitor the frequency and any accompanying symptoms. If your cat coughs persistently after drinking water, exhibits other concerning behaviors such as changes in appetite, lethargy, or difficulty in breathing, immediate veterinary assistance is warranted. These signs could point towards more serious underlying health issues, such as respiratory infections, heart disease, or severe allergies. Hence, it’s crucial to maintain a vigilant eye on your feline friend’s health and well-being to ensure prompt medical intervention when required.

Read more: Why Does My Cat Cough When Purring?

How Is A Cat’s Cough After Drinking Water Treated?

A cat drinking from a water bowl · Free Stock Photo

Treatment for a cat’s cough after drinking water largely depends on the underlying cause. If water going down the wrong pipe is the culprit, your cat should stop coughing on its own once the irritation subsides. If the cough is due to hairballs, a vet may recommend hairball remedies or a diet high in fiber. For cats with dental problems, a dental procedure or even extraction may be necessary. In cases of allergies, your vet might recommend allergy medications or advise you to make changes in your household to reduce allergens. If a respiratory infection is the cause, antibiotics may be prescribed. In severe cases, like heart disease, more intensive treatment like medication or surgery might be needed. Always remember, any persistent coughing should be evaluated by a vet to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.

Are There Any Home Remedies For A Cat Coughing After Drinking Water?

In addition to seeking professional veterinary care, there are home remedies you may consider for a cat coughing after drinking water:

Hydration: Keep your cat well-hydrated. Clean, fresh water should be readily available at all times. Some cats prefer running water, so a cat water fountain might be a good investment.

Groom Regularly: Regular grooming your cat can help prevent hairballs. Brush your cat’s fur daily to remove excess hair that might be ingested when they groom themselves.

Humidifier: Using a humidifier can help keep your cat’s airways moist and may alleviate coughing.

Air Purifier: An air purifier can reduce airborne allergens, which could help if your cat is coughing due to allergies.

Dietary Changes: Specialized cat foods are available to help control hairballs and support overall digestive health.

Cat-friendly Plants: Certain indoor plants can help purify the air and could potentially reduce allergens. Be sure to choose plants that are non-toxic to cats.

Homemade Hairball Remedies: Speak to your vet about safe, homemade remedies for hairballs, such as adding a small amount of canned pumpkin to your cat’s food. 


After diving deep into the reasons why your cat coughing after drinking water, it is clear that there can be a wide range of causes. From common issues such as hairballs and allergies to more concerning conditions like heart disease and respiratory infections, it is important for pet owners to pay attention to their feline’s behavior and seek veterinary care if necessary. As we know, cats are masters at hiding their discomfort and illnesses, but ignoring their coughing could potentially lead to more serious health issues. It is crucial to monitor your cat closely and consult with a trusted veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes in their appetite or behavior. And remember, preventative care such as regular check-ups and proper hydration can go a long way in ensuring your cat’s overall well-being.