Can Your Cat Contract Asthma?


Your poor cat Molly has been coughing herself silly for days, and she just doesn’t seem to have much energy. You’ve also watched Molly plant herself on the kitchen floor, hacking repeatedly like she’s expelling a hairball, but nothing comes out. Sometimes Molly even wheezes a bit. You’ve heard that sound before, as you have several friends who battle asthma. Surprisingly, cats can get asthma, too, including severe cases that require emergency hospital treatment to forestall fatal complications. Fortunately, your Ludington veterinarian is equipped to evaluate Molly and recommend her best course of treatment.

Feline asthma causes

Poor little Molly might have been exposed to allergens in your home. Common culprits include fireplace or cigarette smoke, perfumes or sprays, carpet cleaners, and even cat litter dust. When she breathes these allergens, Molly’s smooth muscles surrounding her airways contract, which narrows her breathing passages. To compound the problem, the airway’s lining might become inflamed and produce an overabundance of mucus. This clogs up her respiratory system even further.

Diagnostic procedures

First, your vet will give Molly a physical exam and review her medical history. While he can confirm wheezing sounds with his stethoscope, an x-ray will show the telltale lung inflammation that goes along with feline asthma. He might also order other tests, including a test to rule out feline heartworms.


If Molly has asthma, your vet can give her symptom relief but can’t completely cure her condition. For treatment, he might give Molly inhaled medications through a mask. Other drugs can help to control the lungs’ inflammatory response and keep Molly’s airways open during an asthma attack. She might also receive oral medications.

Asthma prevention

Make sure you closely follow the vet’s instructions when giving Molly her asthma medications; there’s no room for shortcuts. Reducing the potential allergens in your home will help, too. Purchase a non-clay or low-dust cat litter, and don’t smoke in the house or use the fireplace. Use non-perfumed products, and make sure Molly is elsewhere before you use cleaning sprays or hair spray. Finally, consider an air purifier.

You can also help your Ludington vet treat Molly’s asthma by doing some detective work. Keep a log of Molly’s asthma attacks, identifying events or substances that trigger an occurrence. This information allows your vet to fine tune Molly’s treatment and improve her quality of life.

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