Cats with asthma need effective treatments to overcome the medical condition. Proper treatments will provide relief to such cats during an asthma attack and help them manage their symptoms. There are various methods for treating cat asthma – medication, management strategies, and home remedies. However, medication is very important and should be the first line of treatment for battling cat asthma. Nonetheless, cat asthma natural remedies may be the perfect solution for your cat.
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What is Cat Asthma?
Cat asthma (or feline asthma as some people like to call it) is an asthmatic condition in cats that is similar to human beings – just like the general knowledge of asthma, cat asthma is the chronic inflammation of the airways in the lungs. Asthmatic attacks in cats are often triggered by allergens or even stress, just like it is in humans.
When asthmatic cats breathe in allergens, the act triggers an immune response that causes inflammation which eventually results in irritation, swelling, and muscular constriction of the airways. This often leads to mucus accumulation and narrowing of the airways, thereby preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. As soon as this response occurs, cats find it very difficult to breathe. Feline asthma attack affects between 1 – 5 percent of all cats.
What Causes Cat Asthma?
It is hard to determine what specifically causes asthma attacks in cats, and it can affect both genders and all breeds of cats. Interestingly, it has been discovered that Siamese and Himalayan breeds have higher rates of susceptibility to the attack.
If there is any indication that your cat is asthmatic, there are a number of things that could be triggering the attack, and cat asthma home remedies can help battle the possibility of an attack. The common triggers include the following:
- Cigarette smoke
- Aerosol spray
- Household chemicals
- Preexisting illnesses or health issues
Your cat may start showing symptoms almost immediately after exposure to any of these triggers. You should take note of these triggers and try to avoid your cat from making contact with them.
Signs and Symptoms of Cat Asthma
There are various symptoms associated with cat asthma, and these symptoms range from mild to severe. It is possible for your cat to exhibit one or more of the following symptoms if the cat asthma natural remedies have not been tried:
1. Heavy/rapid breathing
In a normal cat, the rate of breathing is about 25-30 breaths per minute at rest. But if your pet is taking about 40 breaths per minute (especially when the cat is not playing or excited), there is every possibility that your cat may be suffering from asthma.
When your cat is breathing a lot more than normal after playing, then this may be a result of lethargy, which is a sign of low oxygen in the blood, and this can be a result of constricted or swollen oxygen passage.
3. Breathing through the mouth
When your cat is constantly breathing through the mouth or is panting, then it might be an indication of asthma.
Symptoms of Asthmatic Attack
The following symptoms may be present in the event of an asthmatic attack in your cat:
1. Squatting position with neck extended
While trying to get as much air as possible while under an attack, your cat may assume a position where their neck is extended upwards and their body is low to the ground.
2. Blue lips and gums
Red blood cells will be unable to transport enough oxygen to the rest of the body when oxygen is finding it hard to get to the lungs. Due to this, your cat’s lips and gums may begin to turn blue.
Wheezing usually occurs due to difficulty in breathing. A wheeze is a rattling or whistling sound that is produced when it is difficult for air to make its way through the air passageways. This often occurs when the passageways are constricted or swollen.
While under asthmatic attack, your cat may begin to cough or hack. The coughing sound in a cat is a little bit different from that of a human being. When your cat is coughing it will sound like the cat is trying to pass a hairball.
Cat Asthma Natural Remedies
1. Stress Management
This is one of the most important cat asthma natural remedies. Stress can be a major trigger for an attack in cats. The stress in cats can be a result of various factors, such as the change in routine to sharing resources, or the lack of attention from the owner.
You can try to manage the stress in your cat by maintaining a daily routine as much as you can. This routine includes feeding them and playing with them at the same time every day. If your cat is used to being petted and held, the sudden absence of this can trigger the asthmatic attack in them; so endeavor to provide them with the attention they require.
Besides feeding and playing with them, some big changes such as introducing new people or new pets in their home can also have a negative impact on them, thereby triggering their stress level. Plan ahead, exercise some patience and allow your cat to come around at their own pace rather than forcing new relationships on them.
2. Reduce Airborne Triggers
Allergens or irritants that are found in the air are capable of triggering asthma symptoms or attacks in your pet. These irritants may be dust, aerosols, chemicals, smoke, and pollen. To help in reducing the risk of this attack being triggered, there are a few safety precautions you can take for the sake of your cat:
- Use a low-dust, fragrance-free cat litter
- Avoid using perfumes or heavily scented products on or around your cat
- Endeavour to change your air filters on a regular basis
- Refrain from making use of aerosols, sprays or harsh chemicals around your cat
- Always ensure that your home is clean, so as to avoid the buildup of dust
- If you will need to smoke, ensure you do it far away from your cat.
3. Your Cat’s Environment Should Have Good Airflow
Ensure that where your cat is staying is well-ventilated so that air can circulate around. The deprivation of proper air can trigger the attack. In the same vein, dry air can also result in an asthma attack. A humidifier can also help keep the environment of your cat comfortable.
4. Modify the Diet of Your Cat
Give your cat a balanced diet and make sure the cat is well-fed. Malnutrition can be a triggering factor for a cat’s asthma attack. A complete and wholesome diet will give your cat the right nutrition they require to keep their immune system healthy and stable.
Make sure that the diet contains a low allergen, for such low-allergen diets help in reducing inflammation and symptoms of asthma attacks. Before switching your cat’s food, or improving it, however, ensure that you ask your vet for the right recommendations.
5. Manage Your Cat’s Weight
Even in humans, overweight or obese asthmatic patients usually have serious respiratory problems due to the fat in their bodies blocking the free flow of oxygen. Therefore, if your cat is overweight or obese, there may be some challenges in respiratory functions. It is a big problem for cats with asthma.
The best thing you can do for your cat is to help them achieve a normal and healthy weight with cat asthma natural remedies so as to achieve good respiratory function and reduce the risk of asthma attacks. Your vet will give you better suggestions about how you can manage the weight of your cat. Your vet can suggest some of the following:
- Reducing the amount of food you feed your cat
- Feeding your cat specially formulated food that will help promote weight loss in your cat
- Creating enough time for dedicated play in order to encourage exercise. Such play can include laser pointers, feather toys, etc.
All the cat asthma natural remedies outlined above should be followed to the last detail for maximum result.
Medications for Treating Cat Asthma
To help in the practice of cat asthma natural remedies, your vet can provide such treatment options as the following:
These are also known as glucocorticoids; they are the primary medications prescribed for the treatment of asthma in cats. The medication helps reduce inflammation in the airways. Corticosteroids are available in three forms – oral, inhaled, or injectable. While the cat is initially suspected of having asthma, the cat may be put on oral corticosteroids temporarily while the diagnosis is being carried out. Then later it can be switched to inhaled for long-term control of the condition.
Types of Corticosteroid Medications Available to Treat Cat Asthma
- Fluticasone Propionate
- Combination Inhalers
- Methylprednisolone Acetate
- Other Inhaled Steroids
Side Effects of Corticosteroid Medications in Cats
There are numerous side effects that may result from the use of oral and injected corticosteroids in cats; such effects can be either short-term or long-term.
- Loss of energy
- Increased risk of infection
- Increased thirst and appetite
- Weight gain
- Frequent urination
- Lack of energy to play
- Change in behavior (such as aggression)
- Impaired wound healing
- Reduced function of the immune system
- Cushing’s disease
- Increased risk of bacterial/fungal infection
- Loss of bladder control
- Increased risk of urinary tract infection
- Increased blood pressure
- Poor wound healing
- Allergic reaction
- Stomach ulcers
- Skin or coat changes
Inhaled corticosteroids are considered safe to use because they target the lungs directly, and require a much lower dose.
This is good in expanding the airways that have become constricted. Bronchodilators are an important medication in emergency situations. They are often known as rescue medication because they do not treat the underlying inflammation that results in asthma. The use of Bronchodilators is just like a first-aid process. And like corticosteroids, bronchodilators are also available in inhaled form.
While corticosteroids reduce inflammation and swelling, bronchodilators only relax the muscles in the airways and allow oxygen to pass through more easily.
Types of Bronchodilator Medications Available to Treat Cat Asthma
Side Effects of Bronchodilator Medications in Cats
Some of the side effects of oral and injectable bronchodilators include the following:
- Faster than normal heartbeat (this is also known as tachycardia)
- Central nervous system stimulation
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Increased secretion of gastric acid
- Not enough potassium in the blood; this can lead to fatigue
Inhaled bronchodilators are considered safe and effective because they are delivered directly to the needed area such as the lung. This means that the drug can work faster and better because it does not need to be processed by the body.
Other medications for Cat Asthma
In some situations where the cat has significant allergies that are causing the asthma attack, antihistamines may be prescribed. But there is no certainty that antihistamine is an effective standalone remedy for cat asthma. The following are also further medications that can be used to treat cat asthma.
There are various supplements for immune support which may help optimize the health of your cat. These supplements may help in reducing inflammation and improving the general wellbeing of your cat, especially in a situation where your cat is a picky eater. But before purchasing or applying any supplement to your cat, make sure you first consult your vet.
Olive Leaf Extract
This is an antiviral supplement, and it is powerful in helping to support a healthy immune system. It is particularly good for cats with respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory infection, and chronic bronchitis. Oleuropein, the major ingredient in Olive Leaf Extract, helps in fighting against pathogens while at the same time causing no harm to the healthy bacteria in your pet’s stomach and mucus membranes.
The formula is easy to use. It can be sprinkled on your cat’s food or even be fed directly to your cat. In fact, a lot of cats have liked the taste of this formula. Power Probiotic promotes the growth of friendly bacteria that are essential for your cat’s immune system. The friendly bacteria in your cat help to fight off pathogens, viruses, and bad bacteria and ensure that your cat remains healthy.
Your asthmatic cat can live a healthy and happy life if their asthma is being properly treated with cat asthma natural remedies. Before beginning the treatment of your cat at home, talk to your vet to put you through how to go about it.