My cat is hoarse and has a crackly meow – why is this?

Our question this week was:

My cat has been staying outdoors a lot lately. A few days ago she started 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. Thank you!

Anna Gregg


Hi – thanks for your email hoarse or have a crackly meow. 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, trapped somewhere that was using his “voice” a lot can sometimes be 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 he is 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 him to your vet for an examination.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

To read most recent questions Click here!

Click here to see the full list of Ask Dr. Debra Questions and Answers!