Causes and reasons for respiratory problems in your cat

Posted on December 17 2018

Causes and reasons for respiratory problems in your cat

During your life, your cat may have several diseases. Some are benign and go untreated most of the time. Others are more disturbing. They can cause more severe problems with an emergency consultation with a veterinarian. Among the possible pathologies, those affecting your cat's airways. They exist and must be anticipated to better heal.

The breathing of your cat must be, like yours, always fluid . The slightest inconvenience is perceptible. He breathes loudly . Shows signs of respiratory distress . Faced with these phenomena, go to the vet . If the disorders can be mild, they can also have more serious causes and consequences.

Symptoms of a respiratory problem

Your cat is having trouble breathing. This means (loud hiss, hum) or it is seen (breathing open-mouthed breathing mismatch). His tongue can also change color . Along with these very first clear signs, your feline may also have a loss of appetite , swallow more easily and frequently, regurgitate , cough and have a fever . If any of these symptoms appear, you are in front of an emergency.

The reasons for these breathing problems

The reasons are multiple. The best known is undoubtedly the coryza . If it is often associated with a cold, it is not so. In the cat, and especially in the kitten or immunocompromised cat, this disease can be fatal. After an incubation period of 2 to 4 days, the pathology affects the respiratory system as a whole. This results in purulent or transparent nasal discharge, mouth breathing, loss of smell and pronounced dehydration. Above all, this virus has no treatment. The goal is to reduce this pathology, which is sometimes asymptomatic.

Apart from this infectious attack , respiratory troubles can occur following a tumor, a foreign body, a nasopharyngeal polyp or a dental abscess. The larynx can also be caught, as paralyzed , as is the area of ​​the trachea. Respiratory difficulties are also often the consequences of pneumonia or lung damage (bronchitis, bacteria, viruses, etc.). In your cat, asthma also exists and may explain some pathologies of the respiratory tract.

The reason may be any other, and focus more on cardiovascular causes . Indeed, your cat can also suffer from heart problems . This will have an impact on his ability to breathe properly. Heart disease can lead to pulmonary edema and therefore loss of lung efficiency. More rare but possible, pulmonary thromboembolism , where a clot obstructs the pulmonary trunk.

Finally, anemia or dysfunction of red blood cells can cause respiratory problems.


In all cases of breathing difficulties , it is important to react immediately. Especially if this dyspnea is accompanied by prolonged coughing . Your veterinarian will know which treatment to provide after having performed all the required tests (X-ray, ultrasound, blood test, CT scan, endoscopy ...). He will question you about the appearance of these difficulties, about their possible causes. Then, he will put in place a treatment, which can sometimes go through a surgical procedure (foreign bodies or tumor).

In summary

The diseases that affect the airways are multiple. They have several origins: lungs, heart, oral cavity, larynx, pharynx and can have several causes: tumors, abscesses, colds, coryza ... All that is necessary to know is to react quickly in front of a feline which presents signs of respiratory distress. His life is at stake. Only the veterinarian, through thorough examinations, will know the exact cause and treat it. Either by drug treatment or by surgery.

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