Asthma in Cats - What You Need To Know

Cats can get asthma from inhaled allergens. 1-5% of cats are affected. Our veterinarians at Stanwood can help if you're concerned. Learn about the symptoms and how to manage them.

How can I tell if my cat has asthma?

Often the first symptoms of asthma in cats are coughing and wheezing. You may also notice that your cat is hunched close to the ground with their neck extended forward as if trying to expel a hairball.

If your cat is experiencing a severe asthma attack, you may observe their sides moving in and out as they struggle to breathe. Additionally, your cat may cough up mucus or drool.

If your cat is having trouble breathing, it can cause them to become stressed and scared. It is important to reach out to your veterinarian or the nearest animal emergency hospital right away for assistance.

Signs and symptoms of asthma in cats include:

  • Difficulty breathing or increased effort to breathe
  • Body hunched close to the ground with neck extended
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Gurgling sounds from the throat
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Blue lips and gums
  • Frothy mucus while coughing
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Increased swallowing
  • Overall weakness

If you notice your cat experiencing rapid breathing while asleep, it could be a sign of asthma. Typically, a cat takes around 24-30 breaths per minute while resting or sleeping. However, if you observe your cat taking more than 40 breaths per minute, it is recommended to seek immediate assistance from your vet or the nearest animal emergency hospital.

It is important to note that snoring or breathing loudly when resting doesn't necessarily mean that your cat is having an asthma attack. That said, if you are concerned about your cat's breathing, it is always best to err on the side of caution and contact your vet for further advice.

What causes asthma in cats?

Cats can experience asthma attacks due to inhaling allergens or experiencing elevated stress levels. Some of the most common allergens that can trigger asthma attacks in cats are:

  • Grass
  • Dust mites
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaning products
  • Some foods
  • Cat litter dust

In addition to allergens, various underlying factors can contribute to the intensity of your cat's asthma attack. These factors include pneumonia, obesity, parasites, pre-existing heart condition, or genetic predisposition.

What can I give my cat for asthma?

If your cat appears to be experiencing asthma, it is important to see your vet for an accurate diagnosis. As mentioned above, several serious health conditions could be at the root of your cat's breathing difficulties.

If your cat is suffering from asthma, the treatment may involve the use of corticosteroids to reduce the inflammation in their lungs. Additionally, a bronchodilator may be prescribed to help dilate their airways. These medications can be given to your cat in various forms, such as injectables, oral medications, or inhalers with a mask specifically designed for cats.

Your vet will determine the best course of treatment depending on the severity of your cat's condition. Sometimes, your cat may only require corticosteroid medication to treat their asthma. It's important to remember that every animal is different and requires personalized care.

What is the life expectancy for cats with asthma?

Asthma in cats is typically an incurable and often progressive condition, which means that cats with asthma are likely to experience periodic flare-ups that can vary in intensity from mild to life-threatening.

Managing asthma in cats is possible with proper medication and extra care from pet owners. By monitoring your cat's breathing and being aware of the symptoms mentioned earlier, you can intervene with medication when necessary and help your asthmatic cat live a happy life for many years to come.

Will changing my cat's diet help to prevent asthma attacks?

What should you feed your cat with asthma? There is a lot of advice on what you should feed your cat if they have asthma. If you believe that a diet change could help your cat's asthma symptoms, consult your vet. Indeed, helping your cat maintain a healthy weight while ensuring that all of their nutritional needs are met is a great way for pet parents to help their cat stay healthy. Your vet will be able to recommend the right diet for your pet based on your cat's medical history and overall state of health.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If your cat shows asthma signs, get them to a vet ASAP. Contact us at Stanwood or visit the nearest emergency animal hospital.