Breathing diseases

Asthma in Cats

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: February 22, 2018
Asthma in Cats

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Cats are susceptible to many diseases; although felines are known for being resistant and independent animals, there are numerous occasions where they need special care.

Some diseases that can affect cats are also commonly seen in humans, and it is very important to know what they are and how they manifest so that you can tell when something is wrong in your pet's organism. This AnimalWised article will tell you about the symptoms and treatment of asthma in cats.

You may also be interested in: My Cat Is Coughing and Gagging


  1. Asthma in cats
  2. Symptoms of asthma in cats
  3. Diagnosis and treatment of asthma in cats
  4. Hygiene and dietary measures for the treatment of asthma in cats

Asthma in cats

It is estimated that 1% of cats suffer from severe respiratory problems, including asthma.

Asthma is characterized by a tightening of the bronchial tubes, which are the airways responsible for carrying air from the trachea to the lungs. The oppression of the bronchi causes breathing difficulties, which can have varying degrees of severity and even compromise the animal's respiration.

Asthma in cats is also known as allergic bronchitis, because it happens when the feline immune system overreacts to an allergen. Asthma, then, is an example of an allergy affecting the respiratory system. The reaction to the allergen manifests by inflaming the lining of the bronchi and constricting the airways, resulting in difficulty breathing or breathlessness.

This allergic reaction affecting the cat's respiratory system can have several causes, including the following:

  • Environmental pollution of the surroundings
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke
  • Cat litter
  • Mould and dust mites
  • Chimney smoke
  • Cleaning products, aerosols and air fresheners
Asthma in Cats - Asthma in cats

Symptoms of asthma in cats

A cat suffering from asthma or allergic bronchitis will present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Noisy breathing
  • A persistent cough
  • Whistling when exhaling

If you observe any of these symptoms in your cat you must go to the vet as soon as possible, as if asthma is left untreated, symptoms tend to worsen.

Diagnosis and treatment of asthma in cats

In order to diagnose asthma, the veterinarian will primarily base their diagnosis on the clinical signs or symptoms. However, they must also perform blood and stool tests to rule out any other disease. Finally, a chest X-ray is performed. Although the result can look the same as in a healthy cat, in asthmatic cats the bronchi are usually more visible due to this pathological alteration.

Treatment for asthmatic cats will vary depending on each particular case and severity. However, the following drugs are commonly used, either on their own or combined:

  • Corticosteroids: Cortisone is a potent anti-inflammatory that is used to quickly reduce inflammation in the bronchi and facilitate entry and exit of air into the lungs. This drug can cause multiple side effects.
  • Bronchodilators: Bronchodilators are drugs that act on the bronchi and allow them to expand, making it easier to breathe.

This type of treatment can be carried out at home, but it is highly important that the owner manages it properly and adheres to the doses and periods. Regular visits to the vet will be required to evaluate your cat's response to the different drugs.

Asthma in Cats - Diagnosis and treatment of asthma in cats

Hygiene and dietary measures for the treatment of asthma in cats

In addition to the drug treatment prescribed by the veterinarian, we recommend you follow the advice below so that you can improve your asthmatic cat's quality of life:

  • Use good quality cat litter, which does not expel dust so easily.
  • If your cat is over 8 years you old, you must pay attention to our advice on caring for older cats in order to give your pet a good quality of life.
  • Be very careful about the cleaning products that you use and get informed about organic products.
  • Help your cat stay cool in the summer so it can breathe with ease.
  • Do not give your cat milk, as dairy products contain many antigens that interact with the immune system and may aggravate allergic reactions.

This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Asthma in Cats, we recommend you visit our Breathing diseases category.

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1 comment
Bernadette Ramirez
This article was very helpful in knowing what is wrong with my cat! My Vet confirmed this diagnosis.
Administrador AnimalWised
Thanks for the comment Bernadette,

This is what we are here for, to point you in the right direction and help you when you seek professional advice.
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Asthma in Cats