Every cat is unique! Whether they differ in demeanor or appearance, we love our cats for their peculiarities. For 1-5% of cats, asthma sets them out from the rest. Feline asthma is not cause for major concern, but it is something that should be monitored. Follow the information here to ensure your asthmatic kitty is the happiest they can be!
What Causes Feline Asthma?
Feline asthma essentially occurs as a result of allergic bronchitis. Allergic bronchitis is triggered when a cat inhales an allergen or some other stimulant. The airways in this cat’s lungs become inflamed. When this inflammation is common or chronic, we call it asthma.
Some factors can increase your cat’s risk of contracting asthma. Unfortunately, a number of these are unavoidable. Cats who contract asthma are most commonly 2 to 8 years of age, female, and either Siamese, Himalayan, or mixed breed. However, there are a number of environmental factors that can increase your cat’s specific risk. These include:
- Frequent exposure to allergens such as cigarette smoke, dusty cat litter, pollen, and aerosol cleaning products
- A stressful environment or circumstances
- Heart conditions
- Obesity or sudden weight gain that affects regular respiratory functions
What Are the Signs of Feline Asthma?
A cat with asthma will experience asthma attacks. During an attack, a cat may hunch their body very close to the ground with their head and neck extended forward. They will likely show difficulty breathing, combined with hacking or wheezing. These attacks vary widely in intensity and frequency, but they should be monitored closely. When an asthmatic cat is not having an attack, they may appear weak or fatigued.
What Should I Do If I Think My Cat Has Asthma?
If you suspect your cat has asthma, take them to the vet immediately. Unchecked inflammation can eventually lead to permanent scarring on the lungs. There is no single test to diagnose asthma. Most likely, your vet will rule out conditions with similar symptoms such as chronic bronchitis and parasite invasion. They may listen to your cat’s breathing and take allergy and/or blood tests. In some cases, your vet may schedule a chest X-ray.
Asthma cannot be cured, but it can be treated. Many vets prescribe corticosteroids to reduce lung inflammation. These may or may not be supplemented by bronchodilators, which dilate the airways to improve airflow. Both of these treatments come in oral, inhalable, or injectable forms.
December is National Cat Lovers’ Month, but at Claws N Paws we value our feline friends 365 days a year. Your kitty can find warm rooms, special care, and a devoted staff in our cats-only boarding facility located in Fountain Valley, California. Furthermore, we provide professional grooming services to dogs and cats right next door. Stop by today or call us at 714-962-1005 for more information.