Cats are susceptible to asthma, much like humans are. It may be tough to pinpoint the factors that cause symptoms to manifest in your feline, and most cats are quite isolative and secretive when hiding illness from the humans in the house. Watch for signs of asthma in your cat, and address issues around the home that could be contributing to their respiratory distress.
Some signs of feline asthma include:
- An intolerance to exercise
- Changes in normal behavior
- Open-mouth breathing
- Decreased appetite
- Wheezing and airway constriction
These are signs of severe asthma and should be immediately assessed by your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be able to test your cat for asthma, as the symptoms often mimic signs of other illnesses, including heartworm and pneumonia.
The best way to treat asthma is cats is to prevent situations that could cause the condition in the first place. Keep your pet healthy by using the following preventative measures:
- Keep cats away from freshly-cut grass. The smell of a freshly-cut lawn is alluring for cats, but keep cats inside until the grass, trim, and pollen has settled after mowing.
- Check the home for mold. Mold not only causes asthma, but can significantly aggravate the condition for cats that already have asthma.
- Don't smoke near your pets. Breathing in smoke of any kind can cause asthma over the course of time, and cats with asthma should not live in homes around smoking. Do your pet a favor by smoking outside or using smokeless ashtrays whenever possible.
- Keep on top of the dust. Dust is another irritant that can lead to an asthma attack. Keep your home as clean and dust-free as possible to ensure the air is clean and dust-free for all who live there.
- Try to keep cats out of damp spaces. Mold and mildew lurks in basements, attics, and crawl-spaces, so try to keep pets from having access to these damp spaces in your home.
- Use an air purifier or humidifier. Invest in an air purifier or humidifier to ensure that the air in your home is free of allergens that could trigger a respiratory attack.
While asthma is not curable, it is easily managed with these tips as well as medications prescribed by your veterinarian. These prescriptions will hopefully reduce the severity and frequency of your cat's asthma symptoms and attacks. In extreme cases, cats may be provided with oxygen therapy, which involves providing oxygen to your pet through a facial mask.