Can My Cat Have Asthma in River North, Chicago?

Is your cat showing signs of asthma? River North cat owners might be thinking, “Can my cat have asthma?” Short answer? Yes, but it’s very uncommon. According to Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, feline asthma affects 1-5% of the cat population.

can my cat have asthma in River North

Understanding Asthma in Cats

It’s important to understand what exactly is happening when a cat has an asthma attack, in order for you to become aware of symptoms to keep an eye out for in your cat.

When a cat has asthma, certain stimuli will cause an allergic reaction, just like with us. The cat’s body will attack the allergen and the immune system will inflame the cells in the airway and sometimes create mucus. The inflamed cells and added mucus will constrict and obstruct the airways, therefore making breathing more difficult.

Just like with humans, this can be an intense or mild response, depending on the cat. If it’s a mild reaction, you may not even notice right away that their airway is closing up and their breathing is becoming more strenuous. However, if your cat does have asthma, you will notice some of this behavior shortly.

Symptoms of Feline Asthma to Look Out For

The reaction their bodies have towards certain allergens will cause some of or all of the following symptoms which you can look out for:

Your Cat Keeps Coughing

This is probably the most important symptom to indicate that your cat has asthma for River North pet owners. Why? It’s simple: perfectly healthy cats have very little reason to cough.

Cats with asthma have constricted airways, possibly further clogged with mucus, and that is what is making them cough. A cat will cough up a hairball eventually, a cat with asthma will cough endlessly. This will often result in our next bullet point.

Vomiting and Hacking

Yes, cats vomit a fair amount, but cats with asthma are going to vomit more often than a healthy cat and the product will be more of a mucus or foam. Remember the mucus build-up? Well, your cat is going to be trying to expel that from their throat. This is going to contribute to both the regularity and consistency of the vomit.

Your Cat is Wheezing or Open Mouth Breathing

This symptom is very similar to humans with breathing difficulties. It means that the cat is having shortness of breath, resulting in a wheezing sound as they breathe. Their breathing will sound laborious and they will take shallow, frequent breaths, constantly trying to catch their breath.

They will also keep their mouths open to try to help get more air in. Take notice that your healthy cat will not have their mouth open to breathe, if you notice they are, there may be a problem and you should monitor them.

Blueish Colored Gums

Eventually, your cat’s gums will change color due to the lack of oxygen in their body. Gums are a great way to check in on your animal’s health, make sure you know what they look like when the animal is healthy so that if there are any changes, you are aware and can respond accordingly.

Your Cat is Sleeping More Than Usual

Since a cat with asthma is not getting enough oxygen, it’s going to be chronically exhausted. If you notice your cat is having any of the above symptoms and is sleeping a lot (we know, cats already sleep a lot!) more than usual, your cat may have asthma.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, especially in cats ages 1-8, (Cornell University Veterinary School says this often occurs between the age of 4 and 5) you should call your vet. Your vet will perform an exam, run allergy tests and exam the cat’s breathing. Diagnosis can be difficult, but the treatment is simple.

Common Questions River North Pet Owners Ask About Feline Asthma

Below, we’ll go over some of the most common questions that River North cat owners are asking about asthma in cats.

Are any cat breeds more susceptible to asthma?

No. There are theories stipulating that Siamese and Himalayan cats are more susceptible to having asthma, but this is just a theory. There is no definitive proof to say that any singular breed of cat is more susceptible to asthma than any other.

Are male or female cats more prone to asthma?

While some people do believe that male cats are more prone to develop asthma, there is no conclusive evidence to prove that either male or female cats are more susceptible to asthma.

Can I do anything to prevent my cat from getting asthma? 

Some cats are just prone to asthma because of the way their body responds to allergens. Still, you can do some of the following to help your little guy’s airways stay healthy.

  • You can avoid atomized scents such as essential oils and perfumes.
  • Switching to unscented cleaning products will help keep your cat from developing breathing abnormalities.
  • Sometimes cats are allergic to the dust that arises from their litter. You should use brands that do not create a lot of dust and are also unscented.
  • It’s always important to keep your cat’s diet and weight healthy. Obesity in any animal adds to medical complications and asthma is no different.
  • Avoid smoking around your cat.
  • Believe it or not, stress is a very important factor in any animal’s quality of life. Keeping your kitty’s stress levels down will help prevent health issues like asthma. Make sure they have their necessities such as: access to water in a way that they want (many prefer their water from a moving source), a hiding place, playtime and attention from you, and of course an appropriately sized litterbox with the right litter.
  • Humidifiers help anyone with asthma, as dry air often irritates the airways. Keeping a humidifier in your house will help your kitty whether they have asthma or not.

What is the treatment for cats with asthma in River North, Chicago?

Your vet will probably prescribe medication to reduce inflammation in the airways and lungs. These medications can be taken in various forms, so you can see what works best for you and your cat.

While feline asthma is uncommon, it is still a medical issue for many of our furry friends. There is no cure for asthma in cats. Still, living a healthy life with asthma is very possible with the proper treatment, medication, and monitoring. It all starts with a diagnosis, so speak to your vet today if you believe your cat might have asthma.

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