How To Help Cat With Asthma? Symptoms And Treatment

Cat asthma is becoming more and more common, and it is crucial to know the symptoms if you want to know how to help cat with asthma. If you suspect that your feline has asthma, get it checked right away. Although your cat’s asthma may be mild, it still needs to be properly diagnosed and treated.

If you don’t know what exactly cat asthma is, what are the symptoms, and how to help cat with asthma, keep reading to learn.

What Is Cat Asthma?

Asthma in felines is very much alike asthma in humans. The airways in the lungs get chronically inflamed and it causes asthma attacks which are usually provoked by certain allergens that are inhaled. Once these allergens are inhaled they cause the immune system to respond with inflammation. The airways in the lungs get swollen and irritated and their narrowing creates difficulty for the lungs to get oxygen. This is what causes problems with breathing.

Furthermore, cat asthma is a lifelong health issue which is why it is important to know how to help cat with asthma. With knowledge and proper treatment, a cat’s average lifespan won’t be affected and it can live normally and actively without a problem.

Coughing cat

What Triggers Asthma in Cats?

Knowing what could trigger an asthma attack, will equip you to help cat with asthma. Allergies and stress are the usual causes of asthma. Tobacco smoke, grass, cleaning products/chemicals, pollen, cat litter, dust, mold, perfume, air fresheners, essential oils, certain foods, or other health issues, all of this could trigger asthma in cats.

The symptoms appear normally within minutes after your cat has been exposed to the allergen, so noticing them, and when they occur could help you discover what the cause of your cat’s asthma is.

Cat Asthma Symptoms

Your cat could show one or more symptoms of asthma. Asthma symptoms can be mild to severe. But, regardless of their seriousness, if you detect that your cat displays any of the conditions below, get your cat checked by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Feeling Lethargic and Weak

If you notice that your cat’s breath is heavier than it would normally be after playing, it may be due to asthma. Cat’s can feel lethargic because of low oxygen levels in the blood, which may be an effect brought by the swelling of air passages. 

However, it is very important to understand that lethargy can be a sign of some other health condition as well. That is why it is crucial to get a diagnosis from a professional.

Breathing Heavily

Notice your cat’s breathing cycle. Is it taking more than forty breaths per minute while it is resting? If it is, then it may have an asthma condition or other respiratory health problem. 

Keeping its Mouth Open to Breathe

Unless it is too hot and your cat was just done with chasing a mouse toy, using its mouth to breathe or panting can be a sign of asthma.

Signs of Cat Asthma Attack

Wheezing or Coughing

If you catch your kitty making rattling or whistling sounds (wheezing) when breathing, it may be having an asthma attack. This happens usually because the air is having difficulty getting through the air passageways.

In relation, coughing like it is trying to pass a hairball, but it isn’t, may be another sign that your feline is going through an asthma attack.

Other Symptoms of Cat Asthma Attack

Some other symptoms of an asthma attack that your cat may show are blue lips and gums, foaming mucus after coughing, taking a position where its neck is extended upwards (to get more air in), and lowering its body to the ground.

All in all, it is crucial that you take your cat immediately to the vet as soon as you notice one of these symptoms. Although your cat may display symptoms that are typical for asthma, it could have another health condition. It is important that it gets diagnosed early so that your feline can get the treatment it needs.

How Can I Treat my Cat’s Asthma at Home?

After diagnosing your feline with asthma, the veterinarian could inform you about two types of medications: bronchodilators or corticosteroids. The second one is used daily and it helps with managing asthma and prevents asthma attacks. Both medications reduce inflammation in a cat’s lungs.

During an asthma attack, bronchodilators help with opening the air passageways to help your feline breathe easier.

Furthermore, your veterinarian may recommend over-the-counter medication (for instance antihistamines), but they are not supposed to replace the bronchodilators or corticosteroids.

What Can I Do to Help Cat With Asthma Breathe Better?

Besides getting the professional help it needs and giving its medication treatment, you can do certain things that can prevent your cat from having an asthma attack.

Avoiding Stressful Situations

Whenever there is a sudden change of routine in your cat’s life, it can be stressful to your cat. Stress is one of the triggers of asthma attacks, and it can be avoided by sticking to your cat’s daily routine and playing with it as much as you can. Ensure you give the attention it needs, especially if it is a feline that enjoys being held and cuddled.

If there is a need for a change, like getting a new pet or moving to a new home, try to introduce it slowly and patiently, and allow your cat to get familiar with the new situation at its own pace without forcing it.

Remove Airborne Triggers

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, there are allergens that can be triggered, and removing them from your household is one way to help cat with asthma. These allergens can be present in chemicals and products for cleaning, air fresheners, tobacco smoke, pollen, dust, perfumes, and essential oils.

But, what if you can’t remove the products that trigger asthma attacks? You can still do something. Try smoking in a room where your cat doesn’t usually go. Swap the litter for a dust-free cat litter for asthma. Use your perfume and essential oils away from your feline. Don’t spray air freshener around your cat.

Although your cat’s condition may be for a lifetime, you can do a lot of things to make its life easier.

Do Humidifiers Help Cats With Asthma?

If your cat’s environment can’t get good ventilation and it doesn’t allow for circulation of air, then a humidifier will definitely help to keep it more comfortable. Dry air is can be yet another trigger for your feline’s asthma attacks.

Cat with asthma

What Should I Feed My Cat With Asthma?

A well-balanced diet will contribute to your cat’s overall wellbeing. As long as its diet consists of all necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy immune system and healthy weight, your cat’s condition will be managed easier.

Get the best food for cats with asthma that doesn’t contain any allergens. Consult with your veterinarian for a suitable diet and introduce the new food slowly.

Changing your cat’s diet will reduce inflammation and episodes of asthma attacks.

Cat eats

Is Cat Asthma an Emergency?

Cat asthma is a serious health condition that can be fatal if it isn’t treated properly and on time. Even if you have a suspicion that your cat may have asthma, take it to the veterinarian for a check-up before its condition becomes worse. Some of the symptoms may be an indication of another serious illness, which is why it is necessary to be diagnosed as soon as possible.

The first thing you can do for your cat and its well-being is getting familiar with the symptoms and signs of asthma and asthma attacks. This will ensure that you react promptly and safely if it displays any of the behaviors we mentioned in this text.

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