Feline Asthma: Managing and Treating Coughing Cats

Feline asthma is a common respiratory condition in cats that can cause coughing and difficulty breathing. If you have a cat coughing or wheezing, it's important to understand the causes and symptoms of feline asthma and the different treatment options available.

Feline asthma is a common respiratory condition in cats that can cause coughing and difficulty breathing. If you have a cat coughing or wheezing, it’s important to understand the causes and symptoms of feline asthma and the different treatment options available.

What is Feline Asthma?

Feline asthma is a condition characterized by inflammation and constriction of the airways in a cat’s lungs. It is thought to be an allergic reaction to environmental allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, or mould spores. The exact cause of feline asthma is still unknown, but it is believed to have a genetic component.

Notably, feline asthma is a relatively common condition, affecting approximately 1-5% of cats worldwide. While it can occur in cats of any age or breed, it is more commonly seen in middle-aged or older cats. Male cats are also thought to be at a slightly higher risk of developing asthma than females.

When a cat with asthma is exposed to an allergen, its immune system overreacts, causing inflammation in the airways. This inflammation leads to excess mucus and constriction of the airways, making it difficult for the cat to breathe properly.

Causes of Feline Asthma

Several factors can contribute to the development of feline asthma. Environmental allergens, such as dust, pollen, or mould spores, are common triggers for cat asthma attacks. These allergens can be found indoors and outdoors, making it difficult to completely avoid exposure.

In addition to environmental triggers, certain viral respiratory infections can increase a cat’s risk of developing asthma. These infections can cause inflammation in the airways, making them more sensitive to allergens. Obesity is another risk factor for feline asthma, as excess weight can put additional strain on the respiratory system.

Furthermore, exposure to cigarette smoke has been strongly linked to an increased risk of feline asthma. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can irritate the airways and trigger asthma attacks in susceptible cats. It is important to keep cats away from smoke-filled environments to reduce their risk of developing asthma.

Symptoms to Look Out For

The symptoms of feline asthma can vary from cat to cat, but the most common symptom is persistent coughing. The cough may be dry or produce mucus, often more pronounced after physical activity or exposure to triggers. Some cats may also wheeze, a high-pitched whistling sound during breathing.

In addition to coughing and wheezing, cats with asthma may have difficulty breathing. They may breathe rapidly or with an open mouth as they struggle to get enough air into their lungs. This can be accompanied by a heaving chest or abdominal effort, indicating respiratory distress.

Other symptoms of feline asthma can include lethargy, decreased appetite, or weight loss.

These symptoms may result from the cat’s increased breathing effort and reduced oxygen supply. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Diagnosing Feline Asthma

If you suspect your cat may have asthma, it’s important to have it examined by a veterinarian. An accurate diagnosis is crucial for developing an appropriate treatment plan.

Veterinary Examination

During a veterinary examination, your vet will listen to your cat’s lungs and ask you about its symptoms and medical history. They may also perform additional tests, such as blood work or chest X-rays, to rule out other potential causes of your cat’s symptoms.

Diagnostic Tests for Feline Asthma

To confirm a diagnosis of feline asthma, your vet may recommend additional diagnostic tests, such as bronchoalveolar lavage or lung function testing. These tests can help identify the presence of inflammation in your cat’s airways and determine the severity of their asthma.

Treatment Options for Feline Asthma

Once a diagnosis of feline asthma has been made, several treatment options are available to help manage your cat’s condition and improve its quality of life.

Medication for Feline Asthma

Medication is often the cornerstone of treatment for cats with asthma. Your vet may prescribe bronchodilators to help open your cat’s airways and reduce inflammation. In some cases, corticosteroids may also be prescribed to help control the underlying inflammation associated with asthma.

Non-Medical Treatments

In addition to medication, several non-medical treatments can help manage feline asthma. These include reducing your cat’s exposure to environmental allergens by keeping their living space clean and dust-free, using air purifiers, and avoiding cigarette smoke. Using a humidifier to keep the air moist and reduce respiratory irritation may also be helpful.

Managing Feline Asthma at Home

Managing feline asthma at home is important to your cat’s overall treatment plan. Taking proactive steps to reduce asthma triggers and monitor your cat’s health can help prevent asthma attacks and improve its quality of life.

Reducing Asthma Triggers

Reducing your cat’s exposure to environmental allergens is key to managing feline asthma. Regularly cleaning your cat’s living space, using allergen-proof bedding, and keeping windows closed during peak pollen seasons can all help minimize asthma triggers. It’s also a good idea to avoid using strong cleaning products or aerosol sprays that can irritate your cat’s respiratory system.

Monitoring Your Cat’s Health

Regular monitoring of your cat’s health is essential for managing feline asthma. Watch for changes in their breathing patterns, coughing frequency, or overall activity level. If you notice any concerning symptoms, contact your vet immediately. It’s also important to follow up with regular veterinary check-ups to ensure your cat’s asthma is well-managed and to make any necessary adjustments to their treatment plan.


Feline asthma is a condition that can be handled well. With medicine and some changes in the surroundings, it can be treated. If you know why it happens and can spot its signs and then use the right treatments, you can improve your cat’s life and stop asthma from hurting its breathing. If you think your cat might have asthma, talk to your vet. They’ll check and give treatments that suit your cat.

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One Comment

  1. I appreciate you providing such helpful information about feline asthma. It’s so important for cat owners to understand this condition. Thank you for explaining the symptoms, treatment options, and tips for minimizing attacks. This will really help owners keep their cats comfortable. We need more resources like this!

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