An image of Dr. Debra, a concerned pet owner, and their cat.

Ask Dr. Debra: My Cat Is Hoarse and Has a Crackly Meow – Why Is This?

This Week’s Question:

My cat has been staying outdoors a lot lately. A few days ago, she got a very hoarse and crackly meow. It has gotten a bit worse. I have been trying to keep her in a bit more, but it is difficult. She is eating a little less than average.

Anna Gregg

Dr. Debra’s Answer:

Hi Anna,

Thanks for your question!

There are a few reasons why your cat may be hoarse or have a crackly meow. A common reason is a cat that was in distress or possibly trapped somewhere that was using her “voice” a lot, making it hoarse. Another common reason is an upper respiratory infection that can affect the nose, throat, and sinus areas. It can act much like the common cold in humans. In cats, these infections are quite common and very contagious – especially in cats that go outside (you mentioned that she has been out and staying out a lot lately). This infection can be caused by several different organisms and can also be associated with sneezing and/or running eyes.

Another reason can be trauma to the neck or throat area or tumors. Make sure your cat is eating and drinking well and doesn’t show any other sign of illness. If you have continued concerns, I’d recommend taking her to your vet for an examination.

Best of luck to you and your pet!

Dr. Debra

Please note: Dr. Debra’s guidance should not be considered veterinary advice like that provided by your veterinarian, since she is unable to personally examine your pet. If you have an immediate concern or emergency, contact a veterinarian or local veterinary hospital about your specific situation.