Wheezing is similar to the sound that a cat makes when throwing up a furball which makes it hard to differentiate between the two.
As a rule of thumb, if a cat is wheezing without throwing up fur, it’s usually because of a health condition.
In any case, you need to visit a vet to find out the cause and if any treatment is necessary.
Causes and Symptoms
Here are the symptoms that may accompany wheezing and the usual treatments.
Cats can develop asthma just like us, and one of its symptoms is wheezing.
Other asthma-related symptoms are coughing, rapid, quick, and/or shallow breaths, gagging, open-mouth breathing, and lethargy.
Cat asthma is a serious, life-threatening condition, and these symptoms warrant an urgent visit to a veterinarian.
Lungworms and Heartworms
Cats can get worms in many unusual places, and the lungs and the heart are some of them.
These worms are transmitted by mosquitoes or by eating a parasite-infested animal.
Unlike intestinal worms, which usually are easy to treat, lung and heartworms are potentially deadly and require special care.
From food, through fragrances, to household cleaners, a host of things can give a cat allergic reactions.
Depending on the allergen and the severity of the condition allergic reactions in cats come with a broad range of symptoms, including wheezing.
Other symptoms include rashes and other skin problems, runny eyes and nose, excessive scratching, diarrhea, vomiting, and swelling.
Prevention and Treatment
There are some things that you as a cat owner can do to lower the chance of your pal developing these conditions.
Asthma is caused by inflammation in the lungs, and it may not always be preventable.
However, such inflammation can also be caused by allergic reactions and lifestyle-related habits which are things under your control.
Getting rid of allergens (see below), keeping your cat stress-free, and at a healthy weight.
Treating asthma is currently limited to managing its symptoms using medications that calm inflammation or the immune system in case of allergy-related asthma.
Lungworm and Heartworm Prevention
Because lung and heartworms are spread from infected to healthy animals through mosquito bites or consumption, preventing this condition involves limiting the chances of your feline to get bitten or eat an infected animal.
Install insect nets on your windows and doors, keep your cats indoors, and check other pets (especially dogs) for insects before letting them come home.
A vet can also prescribe a preventive medicine that is usually given to your cat on a monthly basis and acts on a variety of parasites.
Naturally, what you can do to prevent your cat from developing allergies is to limit the possible allergens in your home.
Regular dusting and cleaning will limit the dust and pollen that sticks to surfaces which are common allergens.
Speaking of cleaning, the mass-available housecleaning solutions are full of toxic and allergenic substances—opt for pet-safe cleaners.
Not smoking inside your home, not using air fresheners, and going easy on the perfume are also in order.
Cats are more sensitive to smell than us so strong aromas are more likely to trigger allergies in them.
Cat food and litter are also on top of the list of popular allergens—if your cat is experiencing allergic reactions after eating or visiting the litterbox, consider other brands.
Treatment of allergies in cats is usually symptomatic, though long-term treatment, called “desensitization” may provide a cure.
To sum up—wheezing in cats is similar to a feline coughing up a furball, but it may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. Wheezing that doesn’t result in spat out fur or accompanied by other symptoms, especially breathing-related, requires a check-up by a vet ASAP.