Skip to Main Content

Feline Asthma: What You Need To Know

Asthma in cats is often an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens and affects approximately 1-5% of cats.  Our Mankato vets share some of the most common symptoms of this condition, and how it can be treated. 

Signs & Symptoms of Asthma in Cats

How do you know if your cat has asthma? The first signs that your cat may be having an asthma attack are often coughing and wheezing. You might 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 full-blown asthma attack you will be able to see your cat's sides going in and out as they work hard to breathe, and you may also notice that they are drooling or coughing up mucus.  If you notice that your cat is having difficulties breathing, contact your vet immediately for assistance or call your nearest animal emergency hospital.

Other signs that your cat may be having an asthma attack include:

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

Another sign of asthma in cats is rapid breathing during sleep. While resting or sleeping your cat will normally take between 24 - 30 breaths per minute. If you notice that your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute call your vet immediately for assistance, or contact your nearest emergency veterinarian.

Causes of Asthma Attacks in Cats

Asthma attacks are frequently brought on by the cat inhaling an allergen, or possibly due to increased stress levels. A few of the most common allergens to trigger asthma attacks in cats include:

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

Several underlying conditions could contribute to the severity of your cat's asthma attack including pneumonia, obesity, parasites, a pre-existing heart condition, or a genetic predisposition. 

Treatment for Asthma in Cats

If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, treatment may include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in your cat's lungs, and possibly a bronchodilator to help dilate your cat's airways. These drugs may be prescribed by your vet in the form of an injectable, oral medication, or inhaler. 

Prognosis

Asthma in cats is 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.

Nonetheless, the condition is manageable with a little extra care from cat owners and medication. By monitoring your cat's respiratory effort, watching for coughing, and intervening with medication when needed, you can help your asthmatic cats live a happy life for years to come.

Diet & Asthma in Cats

There is a lot of advice out there as to what you should feed your cat if they suffer from asthma. If you think that a change of diet could help your cat's asthma symptoms, consult your vet. 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 is showing the symptoms of asthma contact our Mankato vets right away to schedule an appointment for your cat. 

New Patients Welcome

River Hills Pet Care Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Mankato companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

507-388-4500 Contact