Can Cats Have Asthma?

As a cat owner, you may have noticed your cat showing respiratory symptoms like sneezing or wheezing. If you see these signs in your cat, you might wonder if they have asthma. But can cats really have asthma, or is that just a myth?

The short answer is that yes, cats can have asthma, and it is surprisingly common in cats as well. However, there’s more to learn about this condition, and it’s important to brush up on all the information you can gather about feline asthma if you suspect your cat may have it. Read on to find out more.

cat asthma

Signs of Asthma in Cats

If your cat is showing any of these signs, it is possible that they could have asthma. Reach out to your veterinarian.


One of the most common signs of asthma in cats is sneezing. Sneezing can be caused by a variety of feline health problems, but asthma is known to contribute to excessive sneezing in most affected cats.


Coughing often goes along with sneezing as a common symptom of asthma in cats. Coughing can also be related to many other feline health problems, however. Acute coughing without other symptoms on this list should be treated by a vet right away, as it could mean your cat has swallowed a foreign object instead.


Wheezing is less common than most of the other symptoms on this list but can sometimes go along with coughing in cats with asthma. If your cat is wheezing and having difficulty breathing, don’t wait to see a vet; go to the emergency vet as soon as possible.

Watery Eyes

Watery eyes can be associated with asthma. They can also signify allergies and conditions related to the eye, so it’s important to have this symptom checked out if it lasts more than a day or two. Redness of the eye may occur at the same time.

Runny Nose

A runny nose is most related to respiratory infection in cats. However, it can also be related to asthma, especially if it is seen with other symptoms on this list. If your cat has a runny nose, see a vet as soon as you can in case the problem is an infection.

Worsening of Conditions Around Allergens

One of the key factors in diagnosing asthma in cats is a worsening of symptoms when allergens or contaminants are present. For example, if your cat is around cigarette smoke and their symptoms get worse, this can be a sign of asthma—or of allergies.

How is Asthma Diagnosed in Cats?

There is no specific test for asthma in cats. Radiographs may be useful, but instead of testing for asthma, your vet will test for other conditions first and rule out the possibility that your cat could have these problems. Your cat may be given tests for a variety of respiratory illnesses and chronic health conditions to help rule out other potential issues.

If your cat does not have any of these problems, then your vet will make an asthma diagnosis in most instances. Ruling out other conditions is a key step in the diagnostic process.

What are the Treatments for Asthma in Cats?

There are a few different treatment options for cats with asthma. Work with your veterinarian to come up with the best solution for your cat.


In cats with severe asthma flare-ups, steroids may be required for a short time to help get the symptoms under control. Your vet will prescribe the right type and dosage of steroids and will help you understand how to care for your cat during this type of flare-up.

Antibiotics for Secondary Infection

Many severe asthma flare-ups will also be managed with the help of antibiotics. Although antibiotics will not take care of the asthma itself, they will help your cat stay healthier when it comes to potential secondary infections. Some vets may skip this option depending on your cat’s condition.


One of the best ways to help your cat manage asthma symptoms at all times is to keep a humidifier running in the room where they sleep. If you go this route, choose a cool mist humidifier, and keep it on a sturdy surface well out of reach of your cat.

Rest and Fluids

The most important factor in any cat with asthma is getting plenty of rest. It is also necessary for your cat to stay well-hydrated to prevent a worsening of symptoms or overall health. Encourage your cat to stay hydrated by providing wet food or plain, unseasoned chicken broth.

Heart + Paw Can Help Treat Your Cat’s Asthma

Based on this information, you can easily see how prevalent asthma is in cats and how easily it can be to mistake asthma for other problems, too. If you suspect your cat may be dealing with asthma, talk to your vet about a formal diagnosis.

Your vet will perform tests to rule out other conditions and help narrow down the possibilities. From there, if your cat is diagnosed with asthma, your vet will help you choose the right treatment or management program to keep your cat healthy and safe moving forward. Book an appointment online to talk with your Heart + Paw veterinarian about cat asthma at any of our locations!

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Heart + Paw was founded in 2018 by Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. George Melillo, who currently serves the Mid-Atlantic area. Heart + Paw offers a combination of veterinary care, pet grooming, and dog daycare to help be a resource in your pet parenthood journey.

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