Coughs, the most common and widespread of ailments are the various coughs that medicine cats must work hard to treat and keep in check. The beginning of memorization of the symptoms of the various coughs, how to tell them apart, and how to treat them are of dire importance. For many medicine cat’s apprentices this is amongst their first lessons. 

The Five Coughs

  • Kitcough: A very mild cough found primarily (but not exclusively) in kits.
  • Whitecough: An affliction similar to Kitcough, but more severe.
  • Greencough: A severe infection with a potential for fatality.
  • Blackcough: A difficult to treat infection with great potential for fatality.
  • Killingcough: An untreatable, fatal infection.
  • Chronic Cough: A stubborn cough that is not an illness, but can interfere with life.

Until recently there were only five known types of cough, but the recent plague has changed this age old lesson drastically, adding a new cough to the list.


  • Congestion and dry coughing alone indicate simple Kitcough. The most common of the coughs.
  • The above, plus any combination of runny eyessneezing or mild fever indicates Whitecough.
  • If any signs of Kitcough or Whitecough are joined by irritated eyeshigher fevers, or loss of appetite, or coughs begin to take a wet sound, it is Greencough.
  • If any signs of Kit, White or Green coughs are joined by very wet coughinghigh fevers or breathing difficulties, it is Blackcough.

It should be noted that sometimes the lines between types of cough can be fuzzy. The primary differences in severity within a type of cough is in the length of time it takes to cure. Coughs are notorious for reappearing, so cats should be followed up carefully once declared healed.


The theory of treatment for all but Killingcough lie along the same line.


Herbs are the front line of defense where coughs are concerned.

The foundation of all the traditional herbal mixes for coughs is built on a combination of Catnip FlowersFeverfew Leaves and Honey. Additions and subtractions are made based on this foundation of herbs involving Thyme LeavesWillow BarkPoppy FlowersColt’s Foot Leaves, and Raspberry Berries to build up the proper traditional treatments for Kitcough, Whitecough, Greencough and Blackcough.

Good herbs to know for potentially needed substitutions to the traditional mixtures are JuniperMarigold and Lavender.


Hydration of the patient must be assured, along with them maintaining a well rested state and their appetite being tempted. Failure to maintain these basic three additional treatments can result in a cat progressing to a more sever cough, despite any application of herbs.

Cough Progression

With the knowledge of cough progression a medicine cat might succeed in turning a sever cough into a less dangerous and more treatable cough.

Kitcough <-> Whitecough <-> Greencough <-> Blackcough <-> Killingcough

While Killingcough is currently displayed, it’s inclusion is only theoretical, as no proof of it actually being a part of the cough progression has been verified. Since no Medicine Cat has ever managed to treat a case and achieve any results, no case has ever been verified as being downgraded to Blackcough. The inverse, however, is that no case of Blackcough has ever been seen to become Killingcough.

Chronic Cough

Chronic Cough is a condition that effects the breathing of a cat by tightening the throat and inducing a dry cough. While it is not curable, treatment can render the condition bearable and keep a warrior in working condition despite it. Severe “attacks” (bouts of coughing an inability to breath) can result in death if left untreated.

This complaint is not considered a part of the ‘cough progress’ in part because of it’s rarity, but primarily because (while severe coughs as a youngster might pre-dispose a cat to the ailment) it does not appear to be directly caused by other coughs.


Killingcough is deadly, untreatable, and currently beyond the treatment of normal levels. This cough refuses to respond to the treatments of any of the other coughs, or any tested variants of the treatments accepted for coughs.