Why Is My Cat Wheezing?

Hearing your cat or kitten wheezing when they breathe can be distressing for both you and your cat. If you notice your cat is wheezing and breathing heavy on a regular basis, its important to take noteit could indicate a health concern that needs to be addressed.

In terms of posture, your cat may hunch their shoulders and stretch their neck to help elongate their airways. What is causing your cat to wheeze can range from mild irritation of the airways from allergies or dust they inhaled to serious, sometimes life-threatening, infections or blockages.

Asthma is a surprisingly common condition in felines and other mammals and can be the cause of wheezing in your cat or kitten.1 Prolonged wheezing could mean that theyre having an asthma attack, so keep a close eye on them to see if its severe enough that they need medical intervention. Wheezing sounds can also be a result of your cat trying to cough out built up hair that has made its way into their stomach. Your cat or kitten will often make wheezing, retching, or gagging noises as well until the hairball is finally expelled.

Pollen, mold, even cigarette smoke can irritate your kittys airways causing wheezing among other symptoms. If you suspect your cat has a blockage causing breathing issues, take them to the vet immediately. Cats can feel stress just like humans, and can experience breathing issues like wheezing linked to their current situation and/or mental state.

If your can has developed an upper respiratory infection (also known as cat flu ), they may experience similar symptoms to the human cold. Cats and kittens can develop conditions like pneumonia and the most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, and other signs of respiratory distress.5 Heartworms are tiny parasites that make their home in the blood vessels of the lungs and heart.

HARD is a serious health concern and can progressively get worse over time, so watch for behaviours like lethargy, lack of appetite, wheezing, or coughing and consult your veterinarian. If your cat is continually wheezing or exhibiting any of the accompanying symptoms above, its important you consult with your veterinarian. The severity of the wheezing will determine whether it will be a scheduled check up or an emergency visit.

If other sounds and symptoms accompany the wheezing or your cat has an underlying health condition, call your vet right away. If the wheezing continues or worsens, contact your vet immediately as there could be an underlying health concern. While diagnosing your cat or kitten, your vet will ask you a series of questions and conduct a physical exam to rule out allergies, foreign objects, and hairballs.

Once those are ruled out, they will move on to chronic or infection-related conditions to determine how best to treat your cat. The key is to catch respiratory conditions early so they dont endanger your cats health further and get progressively worse beyond treatment.

What should I do if my cat is wheezing?

If other sounds and symptoms accompany the wheezing or your cat has an underlying health condition, call your vet right away. If the wheezing continues or worsens, contact your vet immediately as there could be an underlying health concern.

Is it bad if my cat is wheezing?

If your cat seems to be wheezing often then a veterinary visit is warranted. If the wheezing does not persist, you should pay close attention and monitor the symptom, but going to the vet may be unnecessary as your cat could have just had a hairball.

Is cat wheezing an emergency?

Difficulty Breathing. If your cat is showing signs that it’s suddenly difficult to breathe, take him to an emergency vet as soon as possible. Signs of altered breathing can include: Short and/or uneven breaths. Raspy breathing or wheezing.

Why does my cat's breathing sound weird?

If your cat produces sound when they are awake and breathing, a breathing problem might be the cause. Wheezing sounds might be a result of respiratory inflammation caused by asthma, while rattling or crackling sounds might be caused by infections deep in the lungs, such as pneumonia.

Asthma a disease of the lower airways is thought to affect as much as 5% of cats. There is some debate about what causes cat asthma, but most experts think its caused by an allergic reaction to something the cat breathes in.

When a cat inhales allergens, the immune system may react and create inflammation. Inflammatory cells may develop in the airways and produce chemicals that create more inflammation.

Your cat may also squat with hunched shoulders and neck extended and cough or breathe rapidly. There may be other factors, but allergies are thought to be the main cause of cat asthma. If a cat or kitten is sensitive to certain allergens, the immune system may release chemicals that cause inflammation in the airways.

Allergens can also irritate the lining of cats airways, which causes bronchitis and mucus production. Other conditions may contribute to asthma symptoms in cats, including: Parasites Extreme stress Heart conditions Pneumonia Obesity

If you think your cat or kitten has asthma, or you are concerned about any symptoms, visit your veterinarian. Also record any changes to foods, kitty litters, or products you use that may be feline asthma triggers. The X-rays and CT scan tests will help determine if the lungs are show signs of irritation or changes in size, or if there are any obstructions.

They may also prescribe medications called bronchodilators to help dilate or open the airways. Allergy desensitization Omega-3 fatty acids Medications to decrease the likelihood of inflammation However, these treatments are considered experimental and have not been proven effective for cat asthma.

However, the best way to prevent your cat from having an asthma attack is to use the prescribed medication for disease management. Some home care techniques may also prevent asthma symptoms, including: Using low-dust kitty litters Avoiding aerosol cleaners and deodorizers Avoiding heavily-scented household cleaners Stopping smoking around your cat or decreasing the use of candles or a fireplace, since any smoke can be an irritant

One of my cats, Gabby, will sometimes make a coughing, wheezing sound, almost like hes about to cough up a hairball or do the infamous scarf-and-barf move, but sometimes, nothing comes up! So, is cat wheezing something to worry about? And does cat wheezing always mean a trip to the vet?

If your cat is wheezing, it could mean that there is a medical issue that should be investigated. Wheezing can be described as a whistling sound when your cat is breathing, and in some cases it may seem like your pet is having an asthma attack. Although this can be alarming, in most cases there is no need to panic. Many causes of your cat wheezing can be cured easily by your vet. Some of the causes for wheezing include:

Hairball Bone structure of the face (in brachycephalic cat breeds) Lungworms and heartworms Allergies Asthma If your cats wheezing is persistent, then you may want to consider taking your feline for a visit to the vet as it could mean something serious.

If ignored, some of the causes, for example worms and blood clots, can become very dangerous for your cats health. Compare plans Wheezing is an abnormal sound that is caused by a narrowing of your cats airways due to constriction, partial blockage, inflammation or other health issues. Cats of all breeds and ages are susceptible to wheezing, depending on the cause.

Hairballs are more common in long-haired breeds, like Persian and Maine Coon, for example, as well as cats who groom very often or shed a lot. If you notice that your cat has developed a lack of appetite , lethargy , diarrhea, constipation or is vomiting or gagging continuously without producing a hairball, you should contact your vet immediately as it could mean that your pet has a blockage that could potentially be life-threatening. For example, if your cat has a flat face, like the Persian or Himalayan does, the bone structure could sometimes make it harder for them to breathe.

These flat-faced breeds (called brachycephalic) also often have wet and runny noses that can contribute to wheezing by clogging up the airways. Both lungworms and heartworms are dangerous parasites that can live in your felines lungs. They can cause many symptoms, such as coughing, wheezing, weakness, loss of appetite, vomiting and lethargy.

These symptoms are also common in many respiratory problems, which can keep the parasites undetected for a long time. Allergies in cats usually occur when the immune system is overly sensitive and starts identifying some substances as dangerous. Common allergens are inhalants like dust, pollen, chemicals or smoke that cause nasal congestion.

They can also cause your pet to get itchy skin, hair loss, rashes, limb swelling, sneezing, wheezing and coughing. Asthma is a reaction to inhaled allergens that trigger the immune system and cause the airways to constrict. They can be triggered by pretty much any airborne particle, but dust, molds and pollen are some of the most common.

They usually occur after long periods of exercise, and the cat will show signs of coughing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. Asthma attacks can sometimes become worse and more common in the wintertime due to the dryness in the air. If the wheezing does not persist, you should pay close attention and monitor the symptom, but going to the vet may be unnecessary as your cat could have just had a hairball.

If by looking at the symptoms you believe that your cat has a different illness, like lung worm or heartworm, is having a severe asthma attack, or is showing great difficulty breathing in any way, then you should bring them to the nearest vet immediately. Fatty acids can also help reduce your pets itchy skin. Treatments for asthma include corticosteroids that will help reduce inflammation in the lungs.

Antihistamines, like Benadryl, can also be used as a preventative before your cat has come into contact with the allergen. Sometimes, letting your cat eat grass can aid in vomiting hairballs. In mild cases, your vet may decide to wait for the parasite to clear on its own, but severe cases may require oxygen, bronchodilators and prednisone in order to reduce the inflammation in the lungs.

Lungworms can be treated with anti-parasitic medications like Levamisole, Ivermectin, Fenbendazole and Praziquantel. If your brachycephalic cat seems to be experiencing difficulty breathing due to its flat face, you should bring them to the vet to get advice on treatment. Depending on the cause of your cats wheezing, treatment range moderately priced to expensive.

To avoid high vet care expenses, secure pet health insurance today . The sooner you insure your pet, the more protection youll have from unexpected vet costs. If it is infrequent and Rookie isnt struggling to breathe you should keep a close eye but if it gets worse or more frequent you should visit your Veterinarian.

Why Is My Cat Wheezing?

Get more information about the possible causes and treatments of feline breathing problems.Download the Full Guide to Cat AsthmaHearing your cat or kitten wheezing when they breathe can be distressing for both you and your cat. If you notice your cat is wheezing and breathing heavy on a regular basis, it’s important to take note—it could indicate a health concern that needs to be addressed.Keep reading to learn why your cat could be wheezing, what causes a cat to wheeze, what to do if your cat is wheezing, and available treatments.

What Does Wheezing In Cats Sound Like?

Wheezing differs from a coughing or choking sound, and can look different as well.Wheezing in cats sounds similar to wheezing in humans or similar to just before your cat coughs up a hairball. It usually sounds like a huffing or whistling noise as they inhale or exhale or a slight rattling of the breath. Heavy breathing could also be involved depending on the cause of the wheeze.In terms of posture, your cat may hunch their shoulders and stretch their neck to help elongate their airways.

What Causes A Cat To Wheeze?

What is causing your cat to wheeze can range from mild irritation of the airways from allergies or dust they inhaled to serious, sometimes life-threatening, infections or blockages.Some common causes that can result in your cat wheezing include:

1. Asthma

Asthma is a surprisingly common condition in felines and other mammals and can be the cause of wheezing in your cat or kitten.1 Prolonged wheezing could mean that they’re having an asthma attack, so keep a close eye on them to see if it’s severe enough that they need medical intervention.Learn more about the signs and symptoms of cat asthma

2. Hairballs

Wheezing sounds can also be a result of your cat trying to cough out built up hair that has made its way into their stomach. The wheezing sound can come when the hairball is on its way out of the esophagus. Your cat or kitten will often make wheezing, retching, or gagging noises as well until the hairball is finally expelled.If you notice your cat keeps wheezing and no hairball is being produced, it could be a sign of a more serious issue, including a respiratory issue like asthma.

3. Allergies

Just like humans, your cat or kitten can suffer from allergies. Pollen, mold, even cigarette smoke can irritate your kitty’s airways causing wheezing among other symptoms.Pay attention to what’s happening around your cat or kitten when a wheezing fit happens to help determine what they may be allergic to and effectively consult with your veterinarian about potential causes of the wheezing.

4. Foreign Objects

An object being stuck in your cat or kitten’s respiratory system can cause them to wheeze due to reduced airflow around the object.4 The severity of the wheezing depends on the severity of the blockage.If you suspect your cat has a blockage causing breathing issues, take them to the vet immediately.

5. Stress

Cats can feel stress just like humans, and can experience breathing issues like wheezing linked to their current situation and/or mental state. Every cat has different triggers so it’s important to be aware of environments and activity around your cat that could potentially be triggering stress-related wheezing.Unfamiliar guests, being in an unfamiliar place, loud and active children, and even sudden noises can trigger a stress response in your cat or kitten like panting or wheezing.

6. Respiratory Infections

If your can has developed an upper respiratory infection (also known as cat flu), they may experience similar symptoms to the human cold. Cats and kittens can develop conditions like pneumonia and the most common symptoms are coughing, wheezing, and other signs of respiratory distress.5

7. Heartworms

Heartworms are tiny parasites that make their home in the blood vessels of the lungs and heart. These creatures cause a condition called Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) that can cause your cat to wheeze or cough.6HARD is a serious health concern and can progressively get worse over time, so watch for behaviours like lethargy, lack of appetite, wheezing, or coughing and consult your veterinarian.

Treating Cat Asthma & Respiratory Infections

Since wheezing can be caused by many things, it’s important to work with your vet to determine the cause so an appropriate treatment plan can be made.While diagnosing your cat or kitten, your vet will ask you a series of questions and conduct a physical exam to rule out allergies, foreign objects, and hairballs. Once those are ruled out, they will move on to chronic or infection-related conditions to determine how best to treat your cat.Depending on the underlying cause, treatment may range from medication to lifestyle changes.This may include:If you suspect the wheezing is from stress, remove your cat or kitten from the cause and give them plenty of affection until they calm down or let them hide and calm down themselves depending on your cat’s personality. If they’re a hider, make sure to check on them frequently to make sure they are alright.

Causes of Cat Asthma

Some cats have more severe asthma than others. Symptoms of asthma in cats include:Your cat may also squat with hunched shoulders and neck extended and cough or breathe rapidly. Sometimes people assume their cat is hacking up a hairball.

Treatments for Cat Asthma

Coughing and wheezing are uncommon in healthy cats. If you think your cat or kitten has asthma, or you are concerned about any symptoms, visit your veterinarian.Keep a record of when you notice the symptoms developing and what type of symptoms affect your cat. Also record any changes to foods, kitty litters, or products you use that may be feline asthma triggers.Your veterinarian will ask about your cat’s health history and do a physical examination which includes listening to your cat’s lungs and heart. They’ll ask you about any symptoms or changes you’re concerned about.Sometimes cat asthma or kitten asthma may look like other diseases like heart failure or lungworms, so your veterinarian may want to do a variety of tests. There is no specific test to diagnose feline asthma, and your veterinarian will rely on information, examinations, and different testing to make a diagnosis.Your veterinarian may use a variety of tests, including:The X-rays and CT scan tests will help determine if the lungs are show signs of irritation or changes in size, or if there are any obstructions. Because heartworm disease in cats can show asthma-like symptoms like coughing attacks, heartworm disease is often misdiagnosed as asthma. Performing a heartworm test will rule out heartworms as the cause of your cat’s symptoms.

First, what does cat wheezing sound like?

As any cat parent knows, cats make all sorts of weird sounds. Both of my cats do the scarf-and-barf every once in a while, meaning that sometimes they will eat their food too fast and throw it up immediately afterward. The cat wheezing sound is a distinct hack, hack, HACKING noise followed by my cats arching their backs, opening their jaws wide and puking. The results aren’t pretty and it sounds painful!Hacking up a hairball is a similar sound. I can hear that something is about to come up. But sometimes, when Gabby wheezes, it just sounds like he’s having the same coughing or sneezing fit that I get when I breathe in something I’m allergic to. These attacks usually last a few seconds to a minute and he makes distinct snorting / wheezing noises. Sometimes, he hunches his shoulders and strains his neck out as if to elongate his air pipes in an attempt to breathe better.What is the difference between cat wheezing and coughing up a hairball?Unfortunately, the difference between a cat wheezing and a cat coughing up a hairball can be hard to tell, but if you don’t notice anything coming up, it’s probably wheezing. “A cat cough or wheeze sounds very similar to a cat trying to hack up a hairball,” says Dr. Sasha Gibbons of Just Cats Veterinary Hospital in Stamford, Connecticut. “In fact, they can often look very similar but most of the time with coughing, nothing comes up.”

Why causes cat wheezing?

A few different factors can be at play when it comes to cat wheezing. “Coughing and wheezing in cats is most commonly associated with respiratory allergies or asthma,” Dr. Gibbons explains. “Wheezing can also happen with benign growths called polyps that occur in the sinuses or throat. Occasionally, wheezing can happen with foreign bodies trapped within the respiratory tract.”Sometimes, cat wheezing is a symptom of serious cat diseases. “Heartworms and parasites, such as lungworms, can cause wheezing,” Dr. Gibbons says. “Pneumonia can be a cause of coughing. Depending on the location of the growth, cancer can also cause wheezing. Heart failure uncommonly causes coughing or wheezing in cats (it’s more common in dogs), but it can happen.”

Is cat wheezing an emergency?

Sometimes, cat wheezing means getting your kitty to a vet ASAP. “Wheezing is an emergency when a cat is gasping for air and unable to breathe,” Dr. Gibbons says. “Most cats return to normal respiratory function after a few coughs. If the coughing is not stopping within one minute or it looks like your cat cannot breathe, he or she should be brought to a veterinarian immediately.”

How do you treat cat wheezing?

Treatments for cat wheezing depend on the cause. Kitties may be sent home with either short- or long-term treatments. And, just like human asthmatics, kitties who are wheezing because of asthma may get inhalers, too.“Depending on the underlying cause of your cat’s wheezing, your veterinarian will determine the appropriate treatment, if necessary,” Dr. Larson says. “This may be a steroid or inhaler for asthma, antibiotics for a bacterial infection or anti-viral supplements for a respiratory virus. Some of these disease processes require long-term treatment and some will resolve with a single course of therapy, or simply the tincture of time. You should always follow your trusted veterinarian’s instructions on monitoring and treating your cat’s wheezing, as any breathing changes can be very serious.”

Is your cat wheezing — or coughing?

Cat wheezing and cat coughing are similar. “Wheezing can be any noise from the respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs),” Dr. Gibbons explains. “Coughing is more specific to the lungs and more commonly associated with asthma (allergic bronchitis) and less commonly with heartworm, lungworm, tumors in the lungs and, rarely, heart disease.”A cat who is coughing, or a cat who is wheezing and coughing, should also see a vet.