There are many feline emergency situations, but one of the most serious and urgent is breathing problems. Your beloved cat’s breathing issues could be life-threatening and three minutes after she stops breathing she could die. So if your precious princess is suffering through a breathing problem, she could be on the cliff of a disaster.

It’s critical that you recognize the symptoms right away—hard as that might be—and pay special attention to them. Your feline may not experience all of these symptoms during her breathing crisis; but it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for them and rush her to the vet or pet urgent care if she’s showing any of these signs:

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Labored breathing
  • Unusual respiratory noises
  • Heaving sides
  • Breathing with her mouth open

Numerous things can cause breathing difficulties and it’s essential that you get her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. What, you ask, can cause my kitty’s serious breathing problem?

  • Heart disease or failure
  • Infections such as pneumonia
  • Obstruction in her airway
  • Allergic reaction
  • Trauma
  • Accumulated fluid in her chest
  • Bleeding, diseases or cancer in her lungs or tumors that are pressing on her airway
  • Poisonous items that would’ve been ingested

It’s important that, while your kitty’s going through this, you remain calm. If you panic, you’ll just end up stressing her and that’ll make her condition worse. Attempt to gently put her into the carrier being careful not to hurt her or get scratched or bitten; if necessary, wrap her in a thick towel. They say music calms the savage beast (or a cat in distress) so play something soft and calming on the ride to the vet such as classical music; there was one cat who even responded well to the soothing voice of country singer Don Williams. You could also turn on the A/C for your cat, maybe that might help her breathe a bit easier—just don’t blast the air in her face.

Once you’re at the vet or pet urgent care, the veterinarian will make a diagnosis of her breathing troubles. To do this they’ll need to run a few tests which consist of:

  • Review of medical history and a physical exam
  • Chest X-rays
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Blood pressure reading
  • Ultrasound of her heart
  • Blood tests

While you wait for the test results to discover the primary cause of your cherished fur baby’s breathing condition, the veterinarian will try to ease her labored breathing. This could involve the following:

  • Hospitalize and supply oxygen
  • Water pills like Lasix, a drug called digoxin or other drug therapy
  • Drain fluid from her lungs with a needle
  • Minimize stress

For you to care for your kitty’s breathing issues requires a combination of professional and home medical care. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your feline has the proper care. For starters, unless the vet informs you otherwise, always supply your kitty with the correct quantity of water. If the veterinarian prescribes any medication for her breathing problems, make sure you follow the directions exactly and never skip a dose. You should schedule routine exams and always bring any other medicines your cat may be taking for other illnesses such as diabetes. Finally, be prepared to answer questions about her continued breathing issues, activity, sleeping patterns, exercise stamina, behavior, general temperament and appetite.

Feel free to contact us for help or more information. Our staff will be very happy to answer any questions you have. However, keep in mind, that if you feel better about it, you can always bring your adored fur baby in for an evaluation. If no problem is found, you lost nothing by getting a physical exam for her; yet not doing anything about a possible severe breathing condition could mean the loss of your cat’s life.