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A. Erring on the side of safety, any time there is change in how a kitty is breathing, it is best to get them into a vet clinic.
Coughing can be caused by innocuous things like allergies, but in a cat his age, there are concerns for things like feline asthma, pneumonia, or a condition like congestive heart failure.
Cats not only purr when they are feeling content, but they also can purr when they are frightened or feeling pain or illness. Combined with the fact that he's not drinking, it sounds like your boy is feeling pretty icky. Cats are masters at hiding illness to keep themselves from being hunted by larger predators, so when it becomes noticeable to you, it means he's ill enough that he's no longer able to keep it hidden.
Your vet should be able to check him out and narrow down what's going on and treat it as necessary. Good luck, and I hope he gets to feeling better soon!
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