What to do if your Cat is Hoarse

If your usually melodic feline starts “speaking” in a gravelly, forced meow, or even seems to lose her voice, it could by a symptom of several different health problems. Does your friendly feline sound like she has a few too many cigarettes? Is her voice raspy or sounds painful? There are many diseases which can lead to a hoarse meow.

These include the following:

Upper Respiratory Disease – Common virus are the herpes virus or feline calicivirus. These may be accompanied by sneezing, nosebleeds or a runny nose. These viruses often are a cause of laryngitis. Upper respiratory disease is the most common cause of a hoarse cat.

Hyperthyroidism – May be accompanied by weight loss with no decrease, and even potential increase, in appetite. Also may exhibit diarrhea and vomiting.

Cold – May also have signs of coughing, sneezing or a runny nose..

Allergies – May also have signs of coughing or sneezing. Could have runny eyes or nose. Just like humans, cats can have allergies. It could be mold in the home, a change in litter or seasonal issues.

Cancer – Throat, larynx, nasal passage or oral cavity tumors

Laryngeal paralysis – The nerves that control the larynx become paralyzed.

Rabies – May result in laryngeal paralysis. This is an unlikely occurrence.

Herpes Virus may be accompanied by sneezing and nosebleeds

Hairball – A hairball could be stuck in the cat’s throat causing a funny sound meow.

Foreign Body – Your cat may have swallowed something which has lodged in his throat.

Excessive Talking – Cats can also become hoarse if they meow loudly and consistently for a long time. Try to figure out what it is that they are trying to communicate in order to quiet them.

Nasal discharge – Many of the above diseases result infections which in turn result in nasal discharge. The discharge causes an inflammation in the cat’s air passages resulting in laryngitis and a hoarse meow.

If the signs of hoarseness continue, your cat should be brought to the veterinarian for proper diagnosis. Many of the underlying causes are very serious and require immediate attention and medical treatment. Diagnosis may include visual examination of the nasal and throat areas, blood work or even biopsy. Treatment will vary dependent on the diagnosis. It can range from steroids or antibiotics to surgery.

Listen to your cat. If they are telling you something is wrong take them to the veterinarian for appropriate diagnosis and care.