Cat Laryngitis: What to Do if Your Cat Loses Their Meow

Have you noticed that your kitty's meow has been reduced to a scratchy rasp, squeak or complete silence? Laryngitis in cats can be caused by numerous factors. Today, our Flat Rock vets share more about cat laryngitis symptoms, causes and treatments. 

Can a cat get laryngitis?

Your cat's larynx has many important roles to play, including giving your cat the ability to vocalize, which is why the larynx is also known as your cat's voicebox. If there is an underlying health condition impacting your cat's larynx, your kitty's ability to meow will be affected. 

If your cat is diagnosed with laryngitis, this means your cat's larynx has become inflamed due to blockage, illness or irritation within the throat. 

What causes cat laryngitis?

Infectious diseases such as calicivirus, rhinotracheitis and upper respiratory infections (URI or cat cold) can often cause cat laryngitis. That said, many other conditions can cause your cat to lose their voice, including 

  • Blockage in the larynx
  • Object lodged in the throat 
  • Throat cancer 
  • Inhaled irritants, such as dust or smoke 
  • Paralysis of the laryngeal nerve
  • Eosinophilic granuloma complex
  • Growth in the throat (benign or cancerous) 
  • Hyperthyroidism

What are the most common cat laryngitis symptoms?

The symptoms of laryngitis that your cat displays will depend upon the underlying cause but may include:

  • Open mouth
  • Dry, harsh cough that may be painful
  • Noisy breathing
  • Lowered head while standing
  • Changes in your cat's vocalizations 
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • High-pitched breathing
  • Increased effort to breathe
  • Bad breath

If your cat's laryngitis is being caused by a virus or cat cold you may also notice symptoms of a common cold such as:

  •  Lack of energy
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Watery eyes

If your cat is showing any of the symptoms listed above a trip to the vet is in order. While in some cases laryngitis caused by a viral illness may clear up on its own within a couple of days, the underlying cause could be serious and may require veterinary care.

It's important to keep in mind that a sore throat could also lead to difficulties breathing and an inability to eat, both of which are symptoms that deserve immediate veterinarian care.

My cat has laryngitis. What is the typical cat laryngitis treatment?

Treatment for your kitty's laryngitis will depend upon the underlying cause.

If your vet detects a buildup of fluid in the larynx a diuretic may be prescribed. If your kitty is showing signs of pain your vet may prescribe a mild painkiller to help your cat to feel better.

In cases where a foreign body is lodged in your cat's throat surgery may or may not be required to remove the object, but once the object is removed your feline friend will be able to meow again.

If your cat's loss of vocalizations has been caused by eosinophilic granuloma, your kitty may be treated for parasites since this condition is often an exaggerated immune response to insect bites. Corticosteroids or steroids may also be prescribed for this condition.

A good way to help your cat feel more comfortable as they recover from laryngitis is to run a humidifier at home and gently clean away any eye or nasal discharge from your cat's face using a soft damp cloth. Boosting your cat's immune system through improved diet and supplements may also be recommended.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your cat lost their meow? Contact our Flat Rock vets at Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital & Veterinary Emergency Hospital today to book an appointment for your cat. We can diagnose what's causing the symptoms and prescribe treatments to help your kitty feel better.

Cat Laryngitis, Flat Rock Vet

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