Does your cat stick out his neck, low to the ground, and wheeze or hack? Did you know asthma in cats is often misdiagnosed by both cat parents and veterinarians as hairballs? Let’s have a closer look at what asthma really looks like to we can correctly treat the issue.
When your cat is having trouble coughing up a hairball it can look similar to bronchial asthma – but eventually that hairball comes up and the hacking should stop (I should also mention here that regular hairballs are not normal). If you notice this hacking or wheezing happening frequently – with no hairball produced – it’s time for a vet visit. And be sure to ask your vet for a chest x-ray to help determine if this issue could be asthma.
Cats with asthma aren’t able to take a deep breath, but the cat parent may never know that. Because kitties are so stoic, we sometimes don’t notice the subtle symptoms at all. This is why you should get your cat to a vet if you notice the wheezing and have ruled out a hairball. It’s common for cats to get that dry hacking cough when they have asthma. Panting outside of exercise is another red flag you may see.
Some kitties don’t show any signs of asthma until it’s a scary situation. An acute asthma attack can turn fatal, so let’s explore options for what we can do to help.
How to help a cat with asthma
- Find the triggers and do your best to remove them. Often times an asthmatic episode is triggered by air pollutants. If you use plug-ins, aerosol sprays, scented candles or chemical household cleaners they can contribute to the problem. Many cat parents have simply stopped using chemicals in the home and their kitty’s asthma symptoms went away.
- Use natural remedies to help prevent attacks and reduce inflammation in the lungs. There are lots of homeopathic remedies, Chinese herbs or even acupuncture that can help this issue. It’s best if you can partner with a homeopathic veterinarian to develop a plan for your cat.
- Vaporizer or nebulizer therapy. Using a natural product like Oxy-Cat in a vaporizer or nebulizer on a schedule can help open the airways and reduce lung inflammation as well.
Years ago, we experienced how scary asthma can be with our boy Tigee – never realizing that the air fresheners, candles and other irritants in our home were so harmful to him. I hope he forgives us… and knows how grateful we are to him. He will always be one of our greatest Teachers.
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