Common Causes of Cat Wheezing

by beaconpet
Common Causes of Cat Wheezing

If you’ve ever heard your beloved feline friend making a distinct hacking noise followed by arching their back and puking, you may have wondered what could be causing such a worrisome behavior. Well, you’re not alone. Cat wheezing, as it’s commonly known, can be quite confusing to identify, especially when it closely resembles the act of coughing up a hairball. However, don’t fret just yet! In this Beaconpet‘s article, we will take a closer look at the common causes of cat wheezing, including respiratory allergies, asthma, benign growths, foreign bodies in the respiratory tract, heartworms, and parasites. We will also explore the importance of seeking immediate veterinary assistance if your cat is gasping for air and unable to breathe, and discuss the various treatment options available. Plus, we’ll share some valuable tips on how to prevent wheezing by reducing allergens and irritants in your cat’s living space. So, let’s get started and help your furry friend breathe a little easier!

Common Causes of Cat Wheezing

Wheezing in cats is a common issue that can be concerning for pet owners. It is important to understand the different causes of cat wheezing in order to effectively address the problem and ensure the health and well-being of your furry friend. In this article, we will explore several common causes of cat wheezing and discuss treatment options and prevention strategies.

Common Causes of Cat Wheezing

Respiratory Allergies

One of the most common causes of wheezing in cats is respiratory allergies. Just like humans, cats can be allergic to a variety of environmental factors such as pollen, dust mites, mold, and certain foods. When a cat inhales or comes into contact with these allergens, their immune system can react, leading to wheezing and other respiratory symptoms.

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If your cat is experiencing wheezing due to allergies, your veterinarian may recommend allergen testing to identify the specific triggers. Once the allergens are identified, steps can be taken to reduce exposure. This may include keeping your cat indoors, using air purifiers, regularly cleaning bedding and furniture, and switching to hypoallergenic cat food.

Benign Growths

In some cases, wheezing in cats may be caused by benign growths in the respiratory tract. These growths, known as polyps or tumors, can obstruct the airways and lead to wheezing and difficulty breathing. While benign, these growths can still cause significant discomfort and should be addressed by a veterinarian.

Treatment options for benign growths may include surgical removal or, in some cases, medication to shrink the growths. It is important to consult with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action based on your cat’s specific condition.


Another common cause of wheezing in cats is asthma. Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the airways that can cause wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and difficulty breathing. It is believed that certain allergens, stress, and environmental factors can trigger asthma attacks in cats.

If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, your veterinarian may prescribe medication to manage the inflammation and alleviate wheezing symptoms. This may include bronchodilators to open up the airways, corticosteroids to reduce inflammation, and in severe cases, oxygen therapy.

Another common cause of wheezing in cats is asthm

Foreign Bodies in the Respiratory Tract

Cats are curious creatures, and their curiosity can sometimes lead to them inhaling or swallowing foreign objects. Foreign bodies in the respiratory tract can cause wheezing, gagging, coughing, and even choking. Common examples of foreign objects in the respiratory tract include grass, hairballs, small toys, or even small pieces of food.

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If you suspect that your cat has a foreign body lodged in their respiratory tract, it is important to seek immediate veterinary attention. Your veterinarian may need to perform diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or endoscopy, to locate and remove the foreign object. Prompt treatment is essential to prevent further complications and ensure your cat’s well-being.


Although commonly associated with dogs, heartworms can also affect cats and cause wheezing. Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites and can travel to the lungs and surrounding blood vessels, causing inflammation and respiratory distress.

If your cat has been diagnosed with heartworms, treatment options may include medication to kill the worms or, in severe cases, surgical removal. It is important to note that prevention is the best approach when it comes to heartworms. Talk to your veterinarian about appropriate preventative measures for your cat.


Parasites, such as lungworms or roundworms, can also contribute to wheezing in cats. These parasites can reside in the lungs or the respiratory tract, causing irritation and inflammation. Additionally, parasites can weaken the immune system, making cats more susceptible to other respiratory issues.

Parasites can also contribute to wheezing in cats

If your cat is experiencing wheezing due to parasites, your veterinarian may recommend deworming medications to eliminate the parasites. Regular preventive measures, such as using flea and tick preventatives, can also help reduce the risk of parasite infestations.

Emergency Situations

In rare cases, wheezing in a cat may be an indication of a life-threatening emergency. If your cat is gasping for air, struggling to breathe, or showing signs of respiratory distress, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care. This could be a sign of an obstruction in the airway, a severe allergic reaction, or a medical condition requiring urgent attention.

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Treatment Options

The treatment for wheezing in cats depends on the underlying cause. Once your veterinarian has determined the cause, they will recommend an appropriate treatment plan. This may involve medications to alleviate symptoms, such as bronchodilators or corticosteroids, or surgery to remove obstructions or benign growths.

For cats with allergies or asthma, management of environmental triggers is a key component of treatment. This may involve creating an allergen-free environment, utilizing air purifiers, and administering prescribed medications as directed.

Prevention of Cat Wheezing

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to cat wheezing. Here are some strategies to help reduce the risk of wheezing episodes in your cat:

  1. Keep your cat’s living space clean and free from dust, pollen, and other allergens.
  2. Provide regular grooming to help prevent hairballs and remove potential irritants.
  3. Use high-quality cat litter that is dust-free and low in fragrances.
  4. Minimize exposure to cigarette smoke, strong household chemicals, and other irritants.
  5. Maintain your cat’s overall health through regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventive care.

Prevention of Cat Wheezing

By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of your cat experiencing wheezing episodes and improve their overall respiratory health.

Monitoring Snorting or Huffing Sounds

In addition to wheezing, cats may also exhibit snorting or huffing sounds. These sounds can indicate irritation to the nose and throat and should be monitored closely. If your cat persistently exhibits snorting or huffing sounds, it is advisable to consult with your veterinarian. They can evaluate your cat’s symptoms and determine if further investigation or treatment is necessary.

In conclusion, cat wheezing can be caused by various factors, including respiratory allergies, asthma, benign growths, foreign bodies, heartworms, and parasites. It is important to recognize the signs of wheezing and seek veterinary attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. With proper care, monitoring, and preventive measures, you can help keep your feline companion healthy and wheeze-free.

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