When a cat is wheezing, it produces a huffing or whistling noise when it inhales or exhales. It is caused by the narrowing of the cat’s airway due to constrictions, partial blockages, or inflammations in the airway. Wheezing may be brought about by several factors. The cat may be sick or it may just be coughing up a hairball which is a common occurrence. Wheezing can be dangerous to the cat but most times there is no need to worry about it. Why is my cat wheezing? The following are some common causes of wheezing:
Hairballs are common and not fatal for cats. Cats build up hair in their body when they groom themselves and the hair makes its way into the stomach. Eventually, they will need to cough up the hairball or it will get blocked. The wheezing sound comes out when the hairball is on its way out of the esophagus. The cat will make wheezing sounds until the hairball is expelled from the body. As the cat gets older, the more it coughs up hairballs. Therefore, hairballs are not dangerous to the cat and do not need to see a vet for it.
In cats, allergies occur when the immune system becomes too sensitive and registers some substances as harmful to the cat. The most common allergens to cats are those that are inhaled such as pollen, smoke, or chemicals. They irritate the cat’s airway causing the cat to sneeze, wheeze, and cough among other symptoms. When a wheezing fit starts to happen to your cat due to an allergy, it is necessary to find what the allergen is and protect your cat against it.
Asthma is the constriction of the airway caused by a reaction to the immune system caused by inhaled allergens. Asthma can be triggered by the tiniest airborne particle. It usually occurs after long periods of exercise. The cat will show signs of difficulty in breathing, prolonged wheezing, and coughing. Asthma is fatal if left unchecked. Therefore, when you notice that your cat has prolonged wheezing, it is best to take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Cats also experience respiratory infections where their respiratory tract is attacked by parasites, bacteria, and viruses. This may make them have problems breathing. Symptoms include prolonged coughing and wheezing. When you notice that your cat has prolonged wheezing, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
Heartworms and lungworms
Lungworms and heartworms are dangerous parasites that live in the blood vessels of the lungs and the heart of the cat. These worms are dangerous in a cat as they cause diseases to cats such as the Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD). Symptoms include lack of appetite, labored breathing, coughing, and wheezing. When you notice such symptoms, rush your cat to the vet for a checkup.
Your cat may be wheezing in its sleep due to several conditions. Some conditions are dangerous to the cat while others are a mechanism for it to survive. When the wheezing continues to take the cat to the vet.