Miss Kitty has been hack, hack hacking for a couple of weeks, we assumed it was a hairball as this is the time of year she sheds (read licks) out her winter coat and ingests more hair than she needs. We started giving her Petromalt which is basically colored Vaseline for kitties to help her pass it. Mac became concerned that though she seemed to be doing better she was still hacking so we decided to take her to the Vet.
Last year she had a similar problem, but when we took her to the Vet, one she'd been seeing since we got her 7 years ago, decided that she had an upper respiratory infection. So they gave her all her routine shots (rabies, distemper), an antibiotic shot and put her on steroids. She did not do at all well, the steroids drove her crazy. We took her back to the Vet, but their only reaction was that they'd keep her over night and observe her, we took her home and watched her instead. Slowly she got better.
Until this spring when the same symptoms returned, but I told Mac I wanted a new Vet so he found one and we went this morning. Miss Kitty was not happy about the car trip and was still yowling when we got to the Vet. They weighed her (she's gained a little weight in the last year---she won't let me tell you how much), checked her out thoroughly and said they thought it was just hairball, with some possible allergies thrown in. So she's taking allergy pills for the next 10 days and has to keep taking her Petromalt.
She was very glad to get home. We've always taken good care of our cats (my Mother-in-law use to say she wanted to come back as one of our cats), but Miss Kitty is something special to us. Can't say exactly why, maybe it's because she's the kitty we'll grow old with. But we're sure glad she's ok.