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Is My Cat’s Breathing Issue Due to Size or a More Serious Problem?


Dear VetBabble: Is My Cat’s Breathing Problem Related to His Size or Something More Serious?

Many pet owners worry about their cats, especially when they have noticeable differences from other cats, such as being larger than average or experiencing difficulty breathing. It’s natural to have this concern, and we’re here to help! In this article, we will discuss some possible reasons for your cat’s breathing problems and provide helpful suggestions on what to do next. We’ll also touch on heart failure in dogs and arthritis in cats since they may be relevant to your situation.

Possible Causes of Breathing Problems in Cats

There are several potential causes of breathing problems in cats, including feline asthma, heart failure, and heartworm. The specific cause of your cat’s breathing difficulties will depend on a variety of factors, including their age, medical history, and the severity of their symptoms. We’ll look closer at these three common conditions:

Feline Asthma

Feline asthma, also known as allergic bronchitis, is a common cause of difficulty breathing in cats. This condition is caused by inflammation and constriction of the airways, making it harder for your cat to breathe. Symptoms of feline asthma may include wheezing, coughing, and labored breathing. If your veterinarian hasn’t considered this possibility, it may be worth asking them about it during your next visit. Treatment for feline asthma typically involves medications to reduce inflammation and improve airway function.

Heart Failure

Heart failure can also cause difficulty breathing in cats. This condition occurs when the heart is unable to pump blood effectively, leading to fluid buildup in the lungs and reduced oxygen delivery to the body. Heart Failure in Dogs provides useful information that is also applicable to cats. Symptoms of heart failure may include coughing, rapid breathing, and lethargy. Treatment for heart failure involves medications to support the heart and reduce fluid buildup in the lungs.


Another possible cause of breathing problems in cats is heartworm, a parasitic infection caused by worms that live in the heart and lungs. Heartworm is a serious issue, as discussed in the article Heartworm in Cats: Why Heartworm is Worse for Cats than Dogs. Symptoms of heartworm in cats can be similar to those associated with asthma and heart failure, including difficulty breathing, coughing, and lethargy. Preventative medication is the best way to protect your cat from heartworm. If they are already infected, treatment may be more challenging – especially if the infection is advanced.

What to Do About Your Cat’s Breathing Problems:

With the many possible causes of breathing problems in cats, it’s essential to seek further evaluation from a veterinarian. They may suggest specific tests to identify the underlying cause, such as x-rays, blood tests, or a heartworm test if you live in an area where heartworm is prevalent.

Depending on the results, your veterinarian may recommend various treatments or lifestyle changes to help alleviate your cat’s breathing problems. For instance, Arthritis in Cats gives insight into how managing joint pain can improve mobility and overall quality of life. In cases where your cat is struggling with a flu-like illness, the guide Does My Cat Have a Flu? provides essential advice on symptom management and prevention.

Ultimately, addressing your cat’s breathing problems promptly can lead to a faster diagnosis, more effective treatment plan, and better long-term outcomes for your furry friend. Don’t hesitate to consult with a veterinarian and explore all possible explanations for your cat’s symptoms, so you can ensure they receive the best care possible.

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