Why Your Cat Barks

Your cat can make some crazy noises that might leave you thinking it’s possessed, but have you ever heard a cat bark like a dog?

It will likely have you asking the question, “Why is my cat barking?

A cat’s larynx, diaphragm, and trachea are so similar to a dog’s that they can sound exactly like a dog under the right conditions. The cat can produce a barking noise by forcing air through its windpipe. Your cat making this form of forced meow could be a sign of respiratory inflammation.

You might know the mechanics behind the barking cat, but do you know what it means when your cat is barking?

Read on to uncover the meaning of the cat’s bark and what the strange sound could mean.

Why Does My Cat Bark?

Cats are bizarre animals, and they can do things that seem weird; barking like a dog can be one of them.

If you have ever been sitting at home and suddenly heard the barking of a dog that you do not own only to find your cat is sitting on the table making the noise, you might find yourself a little confused.

Believe it or not, the noise that your cat produces is completely natural, and under the right circumstances, a forced meow can sound a lot like a dog’s bark, but it can also be the sign of an underlying issue.

Your cat’s trachea, diaphragm, and larynx are arranged in a very similar way to that of a dog. When a cat gets overly excited, it can force sound through its trachea to produce a sound exactly like a dog would make.

So, what does the sound mean, and why is your cat producing dog sounds? There are two known reasons:

  • Respiratory inflammation can cause your cat to cough and force air through the windpipe just right so that it sounds similar to bark.
  • Some cats have become impressionists. Some cats who live with dogs have figured out how to make a barking noise and like doing it for whatever reason. Their owners can only speculate as to why.

If your cat is regularly barking, it would be best to have a veterinarian take a look.

Several ailments could be causing your cat respiratory inflammation, and you might be mistaking your cat to cough for a bark.

Medical Issues That Can Cause Your Cat To Bark

Barking cats are rare.

Barking is a noise that is technically possible for a cat to make but is highly unusual.

It’s unlikely that your cat is barking simply because it is copying a dog. Unfortunately, the barking sound is much more likely to be a horrible cough than a forced meow.

Cats do not cough very often, but they can have allergies or several other ailments that can cause them to cough. So, if you find your cat barking, it is best to get them checked out by a veterinarian.

Take a look below at some of the issues that could be causing your cats to bark due to respiratory inflammation.

Feline Calicivirus

This is a disease that develops in the upper respiratory system and is highly contagious. Given the time, it can cause pneumonia and make it hard for your cat to breathe.

There are vaccines available for Feline Calicivirus. Though they are not 100 percent effective, they will reduce the likelihood of severe illness.


This bacteria cannot live outside of its host and requires close contact for the disease to spread. It transmits through eye secretion. Chlamydiosis is most commonly found in younger cats and can spread rapidly throughout close quarters such as in shelters.

The vaccines for Chlamydiosis only minimize the symptoms, though people with multiple cats should have them vaccinated against it.

Fungal Infection

There are several types of fungi that can cause fungal respiratory infections.

Cryptococcus Neofrmans is the most common and occurs when the feline has inhaled fungal spores.

The best way to prevent your cat from being exposed to fungal infections is to keep them indoors as much as possible.

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This bacteria infects the upper respiratory system and is most commonly found in shelters and houses with a large cat population. Though only five percent of cats with Bordetella Bronchiseptica show any signs of respiratory inflammation, it is worth noting.

A cat’s normal yearly vaccination includes inoculation against this bacteria. However, it might be worth looking into if your cat is being housed with several others.

Parasitic Worms

Parasitic worms have been known to cause upper respiratory issues, especially heartworms. Cats can contract heartworms from mosquitoes and, unlike in dogs, there is no way to kill adult heartworms in cats, making prevention much more critical.

Different medication taken regularly can prevent your cat from getting heartworms.

Other Causes Of Feline Respiratory Inflammation

This is not an extensive list, and there are several other ailments that could cause your cat to bark as well. So, even though it is funny that your cat is barking, it could be a problem that needs attention. 

Here are some other causes of respiratory inflammation:

  • Avian Influenza, also known as the bird flu, is a variant of the flu adapted to birds.
  • Canine Influenza is a variant of the flu that is only known to affect cats and dogs.
  • Yersinia Pestis is the bacteria found in rodents that caused the bubonic plague.
  • Toxoplasma Gondii, a protozoan, is a single-celled organism similar to amebas or sporozoans.
  • Pasteurella multocida is a bacteria of the respiratory system that may cause secondary infections.

Other things like tumors, cancer, asthma, and bronchitis could be the cause of the inflammation. As long as there is not any phlegm or sputum coming up with your cat’s barking cough, you will not be needing immediate veterinary assistance.

Do not panic if you hear your cat bark because it could be caused by many different things, some easily curable.

Your cat could, in fact, just be acting silly. To figure out for sure, though, you need to consult a veterinarian.

Preventing Feline Respiratory Inflammation

Your cat barking is most likely due to respiratory inflammation, and several illnesses and diseases could cause inflammation. While most of these are not life-threatening, they need treatment, or they could lead to more severe diseases. 

While preventing each and everything that might cause the issue is not a reasonable strategy, you can take steps to keep your cats healthy. These are some simple actions that could be taken to protect your cat’s repository health.

  • Get your cat vaccinated.
  • Do not be a cat collector.
  • Get your cat checked regularly.
  • Keep your cat inside as much as possible.

It is essential to take steps to prevent your cat from contracting any disease that will cause it any respiratory trouble.

Not only are there a lot of things that cats can pass on to people, but you also want to keep our furry friends happy and healthy.

Final Thoughts

Your cat barking very well could be a medical issue. Often, visiting a veterinarian is the proper course of action. It is such a rare thing for a cat to bark that you need to be sure it is not the symptom of a hidden medical condition.

However, the cat may be just making noise, and barking is not the only strange noise cats can make. Do not be surprised if you find your cat chirping like a bird or screeching like an angry spirit. They have even been known to make a sound similar to English words like, “mom.”

Cats are strange creatures; there is no way around that. They can do and make noises that will have you questioning your sanity. However, you could be mistaking a cough for a bark, so if you catch your kitty barking, you will want to get it checked out at the vet.