My Cats Meow is Weak and Raspy – Why And How to Help?

Cats meows for a variety of causes, some of which make them extra noisy than many others. Some cats may meow to get your focus, to amuse, to feed, or just out of pure rage.  But it’ll be an alarming sign if your felines’ meow unexpectedly weakens and rasps for any cause. It does not seem to be good when a cat meows in a raspy, feeble voice. Due to this, many cat owners ask this question why do my cats meow is weak and raspy suddenly?

Cats who’ve been using their voice excessively for a while have a raspy meow. They become voiceless as a result, just as humans would sound raspy after screaming or singing loudly during a performance. On the other hand, a cat with laryngitis may meow in a faint, hoarse manner.

Laryngitis is an infection, blockage, or laryngeal nerve paralysis-related inflammation of the larynx or voice box.

For owners, this variation in vocalization can be concerning. This article is the best choice to read to clarify all of the potential causes of this variation and offer you guidance on how to assist your cat in regaining its meow. I’ll also discuss some other theories and therapy options to resolve this issue. Let’s have a look at them:

What causes Hoarse Meow in Cats

​What is a Hoarse Voice in a Cat?

Most cats have raspy meows at a certain point in their lives. The most prevalent reason for this is cat gets laryngitis, which inflames their larynx.

The larynx is the voice box of cats, and when it gets inflamed, its sensitive, elastic tissue thickens and loses its flexibility, resulting in an accumulation of secretions surrounding the vocal cords.

Because of these modifications, the vocal cords can no longer generate the same elevated sounds as before. Thus, making the cat’s voice hoarse.

Reasons What causes Hoarse Meow in Cats

It is alarming when a cat’s meow is weak and raspy. In some cases, it could be a result of overusing it. However, there is a possibility that the cat has laryngitis if their meow sounds hoarse.

​What is a Hoarse Voice in a Cat

1. Using the Voice Excessively

Your cat’s meow could sound hoarse and flimsy since they abused their voice. If cats meow loudly for lengthy periods of time, their vocal cords may incur considerable strain.

As most of you certainly know, cats merely meow to draw people’s attention. Cats seldom meow or use their voice extensively unless something is very wrong or they are in a lot of pain. Your cat unwittingly becoming trapped in a small area is one example. They must emerge in order to go to their food, drink, toilet, and other essentials.

If your cat is trapped for a long time, it may exhaust itself using its voice. This causes them to meow very weakly and hoarsely.

2. Respiratory Infection

If your cat’s meow is weak and hoarse, it may possibly have an upper respiratory illness. This occurs when a cat’s upper airways, such as its nose, sinuses, or throat, become infected with bacteria or a virus.

Although a number of viruses and bacteria can cause an upper respiratory infection, feline herpesvirus type 1, feline calicivirus, bordetella bronchiseptica, and chlamydophila felis are some of the most prevalent in cats. 

Cats with upper respiratory infections may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Hoarse meow
  • Breathing Problem
  • Nasal discharge
  • Eye discharge
  • Lethargy

It’s important to keep in mind that cats with upper respiratory infections can be very contagious. To prevent your cat from spreading it to other cats in your neighbourhood, keep them indoors until they are better.

Also Read: My Cat Can’t Meow Just Squeaks!

3. Throat and Nose Polyps

If your cat’s meow sounds weak, it’s possible that they have nasopharyngeal polyps, but this is far less frequent than an upper respiratory illness or an overworked voice. These little tissue growths expand along the ear canal as they become larger until they finally reach the back of the throat.

The polyps will completely or partially restrict the back of the neck at this size. This makes it impossible for air to enter or exit your cat’s mouth, which makes breathing exceedingly challenging for them. Their meow may also sound strangled and raspy as they struggle to sound through these polyps and be heard.

Cats with nasopharyngeal polyps may also exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Snorting sound when breathing
  • Pawing at the ear
  • Head shaking occasionally
  • Loss of balance occasionally

Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect they have nasopharyngeal polyps. Typically, your cat will need surgery to remove the polyp so that it can breathe properly once again

4. Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism is the most typical cause of a cat’s rough or hoarse meowing. Your veterinarian will frequently examine the upper airways for injury or illnesses. However, as hyperthyroidism is a common ailment in cats, it should still be taken into consideration.

The thyroid gland overproduces thyroid hormones in cats who acquire hyperthyroidism. In sick cats, this gland, which is located in the neck, enlarges and swells. Since the obvious thyroid gland development usually hid the trachea and larynx, their voice would sound hoarse.

If you suspect your cat may have hyperthyroidism, you should first schedule an appointment with a vet. Cat hyperthyroidism can be treated through medication, radioactive iodine therapy, surgery, or dietary therapy.

Also Read: Signs Your Cat is Dying of Thyroid Disease

5. Foreign Objects Stuck

In addition to nasopharyngeal polyps, other factors might impede the throat. Cats are curious creatures who like learning new things, but they commonly use their senses of taste and aroma to do so. This suggests that a foreign object may occasionally be breathed in or eaten and end up in the throat.

The most frequent items that cats mistakenly swallow are string fragments and other little toy parts. Additionally, if cats eat their meal too quickly, food fragments might get lodged in their throats. Any obstruction that prevents sound and air from escaping might make your cat’s meow seem hoarse and flimsy.

You should take your cat to the clinic if you suspect that it has any foreign objects lodged in its throat. Your veterinarian will be able to establish what sort of object it is and if it is blocking totally or partially. The weaker your cat’s meow sounds, if there is a blockage, the worse it is. Your vet usually uses forceps and endoscopy to remove it; your cat will recover quickly.

6. Loss of Laryngeal Nerve Function

Last but not least, laryngeal nerve paralysis may be to blame for your cat’s brittle and hoarse meowing. The vocal cords are located in the larynx, which opens during inhalation and shuts during expiration to assist in breathing. This is regulated by the cricoarytenoideus dorsalis muscle group.

Unfortunately, the larynx may become paralysed and lose its capacity to move outward while breathing if the nerves that regulate this muscle are injured. As a result, the airways may partially or completely become clogged, and the laryngeal walls may be dragged into the aperture.

Paralysis of the larynx symptoms include:

  • Hoarse meow
  • Noisy breathing
  • Coughing
  • Choaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Swallowing trouble
  • Loss of voice
  • Lethargy

Paralysis of the larynx is a life-threatening condition that can cause suffocation in the worst cases. Therefore, if your cat is breathing poorly or displaying other signs of respiratory distress, you must immediately take them to the vet.

What is Laryngitis in Cats?

Laryngitis in cats can cause voice loss in animals, just like it does in people. Inflammation of the throat and vocal cords causes this condition, which affects cats and is often a symptom of another illness.

Cat Laryngitis

Causes of Laryngitis in Cats

The cause of cat laryngitis could be an infectious disease such as upper respiratory disease (cat cold or URI), hyperthyroidism, calicivirus, or rhinotracheitis are common causes of laryngitis in cats; however, other conditions could lead to your cat losing their voice, such as:

  • An inhaled irritant such as dust or smoke.
  • Obstruction in the larynx
  • Object stuck in the throat.
  • Paralysis of laryngeal nerve
  • Throat cancer

As many factors can contribute to this condition, vets have difficulty pinpointing its cause.

Symptoms of Laryngitis in Cats

It depends on the underlying cause, but your cat may display the following symptoms of laryngitis: 

You may also notice the following symptoms if a URI causes laryngitis:

What is the Normal Therapy for Feline Laryngitis?

This may be accomplished by running a humidifier or even hot water in a bathroom that is locked off while your cat unwinds inside.

By cleaning their nose with a moist cloth, you could also be able to make it easier for your cat to breathe. While your cat is healing, your veterinarian may also suggest food adjustments.

A sore, irritated, or inflamed throat can sometimes make eating uncomfortable. During times of hoarseness, your cat may benefit from eating canned food as it will be soft on his throat.

How is Cat Laryngitis Treated? Treatment of Laryngitis in Cats

Once the veterinarian has identified the cause of laryngitis and made a diagnosis, the cat’s symptoms will be treated. The cat will be given a diuretic to address fluid accumulation in the larynx. This may also help if the cat’s laryngitis is brought on by fluid buildup in the lungs.

How is Cat Laryngitis Treated Treatment of Laryngitis in Cats

Cats with laryngitis find swallowing challenging, much alone chewing food or drinking liquids. With the help of a little painkiller, the cat will be able to swallow more easily, enabling it to eat more and recover from its sickness more rapidly.

The larynx can once again operate normally when foreign items are taken out of the cat’s throat.

When an eosinophilic granuloma develops, the cat’s immune system produces substances that ought to prevent a parasite invasion. These substances produce an allergic response that enlarges and inflames the cat’s throat. A course of steroids may cause the granuloma to disappear if it hasn’t become infected. After that, the cat will need antibiotic medication.

A pet owner may enhance the humidity indoors by utilising a humidifier, keeping the house warm, and keeping the water hot in a closed bathroom. A soft, damp washcloth can gently wipe the cat’s nose so it can breathe more easily.

To boost the cat’s immune system and aid in the battle against viral infections, veterinarians may advise dietary modifications or the addition of supplements to the cat’s food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I be worried if my cat’s meow is raspy?

If a feline’s raspy voice is due to some underlying medical condition that affects its meowing ability, then you must call your vet. Moreover, in most cases, a cat’s raspy voice is due to laryngitis which means the larynx is inflamed, which causes irritation, disease, or an obstruction in the larynx.

When should a cat with a hoarse voice see a vet?

In most cases, there is no need to rush the cat to the veterinarian as long as it is eating, drinking and acting normally. Usually, within a couple of days or a week or two, a normal voice will return.

In case your kitty exhibits any of the symptoms listed above, you should bring them to the vet immediately. The underlying cause of respiratory infection can sometimes be serious, and may require veterinary care.

Can cat laryngitis go away on its own?

If laryngitis is triggered by a viral illness, it may resolve by itself in a few weeks. But if the underlying reason is a respiratory problem or some other disease, then you need veterinarian assistance. It’s critical to understand that felines can acquire sore throats, leading to breathing or eating problems.

​How common is a hoarse voice in cats?

Cats, like humans, can develop hoarseness for a variety of causes. It could be a strange-sounding meow, a variation in the tone of the purring. In some cases, they may stop meowing entirely for a moment, meowing softly but not purring. These situations are quite normal.

However, in worse situations, a hoarse voice with no meow also occurs due to a laryngeal illness and other respiratory issues.

Final Words!

It could be disconcerting when a cat meows in a raspy, weak voice. If there are no further symptoms, your cat most likely just uses its voice too often. 

Cats can also lose their voices due to laryngitis. Veterinarians may suggest dietary changes or the inclusion of supplements in the cat’s food to strengthen the cat’s immune system and help fight against viral illnesses. With the right care, your cat will soon start meowing loudly.

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LearnAboutCat Author Isabella

Who Is Isabella?

My name is Isabella, and I am a dedicated and knowledgeable cat enthusiast. With years of experience caring for cats and a deep love for felines, I made a mission to help other cat lovers navigate the challenges of cat ownership.

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