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Feline Asthma… Yep! It’s real, and here’s what should know about it!

You might have heard your cat coughing and assumed it was just one of those gross furballs. When you weren’t left with that pleasant little treat, you might have even disregarded the whole episode until this little routine became more frequent, in which case you probably started to wonder…

“Does my cat have the flu? Or is they allergic to something?”

This is a good start because now, at least, you recognize that something might be wrong, which is always the start of fixing the problem. In the case of feline asthma, fixing the issue is essential because sometimes feline asthma can be deadly!

This is why…

We wanted to take a moment and discuss precisely what feline asthma is so that if you think your cat might be suffering from this or if you’ve recently learned that your cat has asthma, you’ll be better prepared for what to expect.

You see…

When treating a cat suffering from asthma, the biggest obstacle you will likely encounter is that cats will often be “misdiagnosed.” Folks tend to assume that “wheezing” and coughing are positively related to “furballs” when your cat may suffer from feline asthma. And  prove fatal without treatment, so your furry friend could suffocate to death without the correct diagnosis

Feline Asthma is a respiratory disease that affects how your cat breathes by making them wheeze, cough, or cut off their breathing completely. This occurs when the lining of the lungs and air passages become inflamed and can close up entirely because of an allergic reaction or for no cause.

The problem is…

Some cats can be highly affected by airway diseases like feline asthma and have severe constriction of their airways because of airway inflammation, leading to acute respiratory distress and potentially death. At the same time, other cats could look like they are coughing up a hairball occasionally. This is what makes feline asthma so challenging to diagnose and treat.

Now you may be wondering…

“What causes feline asthma?”

Unfortunately, there isn’t any definitive cause for feline asthma. Some scientists seem to believe that there is a “genetic origin,” while others believe that the ultimate reason is due to some environmental factor. But, for now, the verdict is still out on the actual cause, probably because it’s most likely a bit of both! This is why preventing asthma in your felines is so hard because there is no real cause.


Some triggers for an asthma attack include:

  • Smoke,
  • Dusty or heavily scented cat litter,
  • Very aromatic household cleaners,
  • Pollen,
  • Mold.

“So, what does asthma in my cat look like?”

Well, depending on the severity of your furry friend’s asthma, they can have any of the following symptoms:

  • Coughing,
  • Wheezing,
  • Difficulty breathing,
  • Looks like they can’t take in enough air,
  • Short, tiny breaths,
  • Not wanting to play or exercise,
  • It seems like they are coughing up a furball, but nothing ever comes out,
  • Hacking,
  • Lack of energy or lethargy,
  • Etc, etc…

Most cases of feline asthma only result in mild coughing, so it’s essential to take note of the little things so that you can let your vet know what you’re observing at home on your next vet visit.

Which reminds us…

We always like to make clear in our articles about pet illnesses that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals. We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them. If you feel like your cat may be suffering from asthma (or any other health issue), be sure to have them checked out ASAP!


Like “human” asthma, there are no known “cures” for feline asthma. The good news is there are ways to minimize the symptoms that your cat experiences and help them manage their condition. This is typically done by first trying to reduce the “triggers” that could be causing your cat to experience an asthmatic attack, along with using certain drugs to reduce the inflammation in the airways caused by an asthmatic attack.

The most inexpensive and effective…

Drugs veterinarians prescribe are anti-inflammatory corticosteroids like prednisone that work exceptionally well to decrease the inflammation in your pet. This is also a common drug used to treat asthma in humans! However, there is a drawback with such a simple treatment.

The issue is that…

Corticosteroids are a very long-term drug and, therefore, have many awful side effects:

  • Vomiting,
  • Dizziness,
  • Increased susceptibility to infections,
  • Loss of energy,
  • Coupled with an increase in thirst and hunger.

Which is why…

Anti-inflammatory drugs that can be taken with inhalers are becoming more widely used with cats. However, they are tough to administer if your loved one is fussy with things around their face. More expensive treatments, like bronchodilators and inhaled corticosteroids, present fewer side effects, so you may find that your vet will offer these as an alternative form of therapy as well.

The issue with these treatments is…

Depending on the severity of your pet’s condition, treatments can be costly and amount to over 3,000 dollars over a year. Now, if your pet has a minor case, the cost could be close to 20 dollars a month, which is much more manageable than what could be about $250 a month for a very asthmatic cat.

Needless to say…

If your four-legged family member turns out to have a more severe case, the treatments can become very expensive very quickly. This is why, here at IndulgeYourPet, we always recommend checking out Pet Insurance to see if it is right for you. Especially if you are considering adding a new furry member to your family, you should look into Pet Insurance because you never know what conditions they may have; it is much better to be safe than sorry.

Now, will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?

No, probably not. But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “Best” pet insurance policies, please check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article.

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