When your cat's meow gets hoarse or raspy—or disappears altogether—it could mean she has laryngitis. This is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the larynx, often caused by excessive meowing or coughing. There are several simple remedies to alleviate laryngitis in cats, but if the condition persists, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Cats often meow heavily when they are stressed, particularly when they're experiencing separation anxiety or are being territorial. The simplest cure for excessive meowing, which can lead to laryngitis, is to remove the source of the stress and thus give your cat's throat time to heal. Often, simply giving your cat more attention will quell excessive meowing.
Laryngitis in cats, as in humans, can often be the result of a bacterial infection. Upper respiratory infections in cats can trigger sneezing, congestion, coughing and rapid, openmouthed breathing, among other symptoms. Take your cat to a veterinarian immediately if you suspect he has a respiratory infection, especially if you have other pets to which the infection can spread. Prescribed antibiotics will usually cure the infection and the resulting laryngitis.
Allergy and Asthma Medications
Laryngitis often is the result of a persistent cough, which in addition to infection can be caused by allergies or asthma. As with humans, cat allergies are treated with antihistamines and asthma is treated with bronchodilators that open the air passages to the lungs. Steroids are also used to treat asthma by reducing inflammation in the lungs. As coughing subsides, so does laryngitis.
Natural Cough Remedies
In many cases the coughing and sore throat leading to feline laryngitis are the result of hair balls. The simplest treatment is to let your cat cough them up, which should end the coughing. (If she can't seem to get them up, fish-flavored lubricants are available at pet stores. These will help her produce the offending substance, and she'll probably even like taking them.) But to ease any laryngitis there are several natural and herbal remedies, including Plantago lanceolata, which soothes throats and mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract, and magnesium phosphate, which soothes the throat and chest.
Wet or Softened Food
Limit hard food when your cat is recovering from laryngitis, as it may irritate inflamed tissue. Feed her wet food, or add water to her dry food to soften it before she eats. Also, make sure your cat has plenty of cold water to help ease the swelling in her throat.
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