Skip to Main Content


Is My Cat Having an Asthma Attack?

Is My Cat Having an Asthma Attack?

Asthma affects approximately 1-5% of cats and is often an allergic reaction to inhaled allergens. Our Elk Grove vets share some of the most common symptoms of this condition, and how it can be treated. 

Symptoms of Asthma in Cats

Often the first signs that your cat may be having an asthma attack are episodes of coughing and wheezing. You might also notice that your cat is hunched close to the ground with their neck extended forward as if trying to expel a hairball.

Signs that your cat may be having an asthma attack include:

  • Difficulty breathing, or increased effort to breathe
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Blue lips and gums
  • Frothy mucus while coughing
  • Body hunched close to the ground with neck extended forward
  • Persistent coughing or gagging
  • Gurgling sounds from the throat
  • Increased swallowing
  • Overall weakness

Asthma in cats can cause rapid breathing during sleep. While sleeping your cat will normally take between 24 - 30 breaths per minute. If you notice that your cat is taking more than 40 breaths per minute call your vet immediately for assistance, or contact your closest animal emergency hospital.

If your cat is snoring or breathing loudly when resting it doesn't necessarily mean that they are having an asthma attack but if you are concerned please contact your vet for further advice.

What Causes of Asthma Attacks in Cats

Asthma attacks are often brought on by the cat inhaling an allergen, or due to increased stress levels. A few common allergens to trigger asthma attacks in cats include:

  • Grass
  • Dust mites
  • Mould
  • Pollen
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Household cleaning products
  • Some foods
  • Cat litter dust

There are many underlying conditions could elevate the severity of your cat's asthma attack including pneumonia, obesity, parasites, a pre-existing heart condition, or a genetic predisposition. 

Treatments for Asthma in Cats

If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, treatment may include corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in your cat's lungs, and possibly a bronchodilator to help dilate your cat's airways. These drugs can come in the form of an injectable, oral medication or as an inhaler.


Asthma in cats is an incurable and often progressive condition. This means that cats with asthma are likely to experience periodic flare-ups that can range in intensity from mild to life-threatening.

The condition is manageable with a little extra care from their human and medication. By monitoring your cat, watching for coughing, and intervening with medication when needed, you can help your asthmatic cats live a happy life for years to come.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is your cat having issues breathing? Contact our vets in Elk Grove today to book an appointment.

New Patients Welcome at Bruceville Pet Hospital

We are happily accepting new patients at our conveniently located Elk Grove veterinary clinic! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of companion animals. Reach out today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

916-690-8914 Contact