Your kitty may usually be a very vocal fur baby, but one day, she may stop talking. You may see her mouth open and form a meow, but nothing comes out. You may also hear a raspy, hoarse sound coming out. She needs medical attention.
Cat laryngitis, voice loss and hoarseness do have medical causes, all of which your vet needs to see to diagnose. From an upper respiratory infection to nasal polyps, oral cancer and even a paralysis of her vocal cords, each of these could lead to your kitten losing her sweet little voice.
You need to hear her when she needs your attention and love. It’s not just a case of, “The kitten just lost her voice. Give her a few days to rest her vocal cords and she’ll be OK.” The original cause could be potentially very serious.
Kittens develop upper respiratory infections, just like their humans do. Just like you, your kitty’s cold can lead to no voice. Some of these infections include calicivirus and rhinotracheitis. While it’s no fun for your fur baby to lose her ability to communicate with you, she will get her voice back when her infection goes away. Even so, take her to the vet so you can get a definitive diagnosis.
This is a cancer of the mouth and throat. If the growth invades your kitty’s vocal cords, the little folds on her larynx can’t vibrate as she breathes in and out. If the tumor gets big enough, she may also develop trouble breathing, so this is definitely something your vet needs to know about.
If she has tumors in her throat, she may become hoarse rather than completely losing her voice. Take your kitten to the vet so she can undergo a complete physical. Once the vet knows what’s causing her voice loss, it can be treated.
Your kitten can develop polyps, which are growths in her nasal passages. These polyps can be common, but they can lead to your fur baby’s voice becoming hoarse and raspy. Those polyps will need to be surgically removed.
She can also develop these polyps in her ear passages and they can also lead to hoarseness or a complete inability to communicate orally. If she has nasal polyps, she’ll cough and sneeze.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
While it isn’t very common, feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV can cause your kitten to lose her little voice. She can’t be immunized against FIV until she is between 10 and 12 weeks old. If she is allowed to roam outdoors, train her to become an indoor kitten.
An overactive thyroid can lead to your kitten’s hoarseness or vocal loss. This condition develops when her thyroid excretes too much of the hormone T4. If she’s losing, not gaining, weight, even though she’s eating normal amounts of food, call your vet and schedule an appointment for a full physical. When the vet learns your fur baby’s symptoms, she may order a thyroid test.
Chronic Herpes Virus
Chronic infection with the herpes virus leads to long-term illness in your kitten. Like a row of dominoes, this chronic infection can lead to hoarseness or a complete inability to meow. Look for nasal discharge, sneezing or nosebleeds in your fur baby.
Paralysis of your kitten’s larynx may develop and make it physically impossible for her to meow and communicate with you. As this happens, the folds of her vocal cords can’t open and move correctly as she breathes. Rabies can be one cause of vocal cord paralysis, especially if she is allowed to roam and play outside.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Genevieve Van Wyden began writing in 2007. She has written for “Tu Revista Latina” and owns three blogs. She has worked as a CPS social worker, gaining experience in the mental-health system. Van Wyden earned her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from New Mexico State University in 2006.