Cat asthma: is your feline friend affected?
Have you heard of cat asthma? Perhaps you have, but don’t know if your cat suffers from it? There are a few signs enabling you to recognise whether your cat suffers from asthma – and there are also steps you can take to avoid this happening.
What is cat asthma?
Cat asthma, also termed feline asthma, is a respiratory condition. As with people, asthma in cats is incurable and is a chronic disease. It is caused mostly by an allergic reaction. If the airways are exposed to an allergy trigger, the bronchial tubes constrict, making it difficult for the cat to breathe. What are the causes?
Symptoms of feline asthma
The first signs of asthma are coughing attacks and occasional short periods of breathlessness. These occur with increasing frequency and can bring on an acute asthma attack. During an attack, the cat has serious difficulty in breathing. Its mouth is wide open and its tongue out; its breathing may also be accompanied by a whistling noise. If the attack continues for longer, the cat’s tongue may turn blue. The difficulty in breathing can cause extreme anxiety, and the cat’s pupils may become very dilated. An asthma attack can last for anything from a few minutes to several hours.
Triggers for feline asthma
Feline asthma is triggered by allergens. An allergen is a substance that provokes an allergic reaction. Typical allergens are:
- Dust mites
- Dust (e.g. from cat litter)
Treating asthma in cats
As soon as you recognise the first signs or suspect your cat may be asthmatic, you should take it to a vet. Asthma is not easy to diagnose definitively, and the vet has to perform various tests to rule out other conditions. If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, you will normally be given bronchodilators or anti-inflammatory drugs containing cortisone. These will enable your cat to enjoy a normal life despite having asthma. As asthma is a chronic condition, however, your cat will require treatment for the rest of its life.
Preventing cat asthma
To prevent your cat from becoming asthmatic in the first place, you should remove all allergenic substances from your household in advance. You thus create an environment that minimises the burden on the cat’s airways. If your cat already suffers from asthma, you may be able to reduce the drug dosage by taking the following precautions.
- Ventilate your home regularly to get rid of house dust mites.
- Remove dust by vacuuming and wiping daily.
- Avoid sources of fragrance such as scented candles, perfumed cleaning agents or scented cat litter.
- Only use body sprays or perfume when your cat is not close by.
- Only use dust-free cat litter.
- Do not smoke in the home, as passive smoking can trigger allergies.
Create a pleasant environment for your feline – this will make it a happy cat!
The right litter to combat cat asthma
Your cat comes into contact with cat litter several times a day. This should therefore be chosen carefully, meaning that it should be fragrance- and dust-free. Many cat litters contain dust, which is released during scratching. This dust can trigger allergic reactions in humans and pets. A litter such as our biodegradable cat litter is virtually dust-free as well as trapping odours quickly and efficiently. It therefore requires no fragrance. It also naturally exudes a pleasant wood scent, as it consists of 100% natural wood shavings. With the right cat litter you can ensure a healthy climate in your feline’s household.
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