More Cat Care Information:
Many people have experienced asthma in differing levels from a tightness in the chest and the feeling of breathlessness right up to a full asthma attack. Asthma in cats is very similar to that in humans, a chronic inflammation of the small passageways leading to the lungs that constrict and thicken, making it hard to breathe. And just like in humans, it can lead to respiratory distress and can become very serious, very quickly.
|General Cat Care #1: Before You Bring Your Cat Home|
|You will need food, food dish, water bowl, interactive toys, brush, comb, safety cat collar, scratching post, litter and litter box.|
|General Cat Care #2: Feeding|
|An adult cat should be fed one large or two smaller meals each day. Kittens from 6 to 12 weeks need to be fed four times a day. Kittens from three to six months need to be fed three times a day. You can either feed specific meals, throwing away any leftover canned food after 30 minutes or free-feed dry food (keeping food out all the time).|
Feed your cat a high-quality, brand-name kitten or cat food (avoid generic brands) two to three times a day. Kittens can be fed human baby food for a short time if they won’t eat kitten food softened by soaking in warm water. Use turkey or chicken baby food made for children six months and older. Gradually mix with cat food. Cow’s milk is not necessary and can cause diarrhea in kittens and cats. Provide fresh, clean water at all times. Wash and refill water bowls daily.
Symptoms and Causes
Some of the symptoms of asthma in cats are the ones that we recognise from the human version of the condition such as coughing, wheezing, a persistent cough and laboured breathing after exertion. Cats can also gag and produce a foamy mucus or breathe with their mouths open while blue lips and gums is another sign as well as squatting with shoulders hunched and neck extended, breathing rapidly or gasping for breath.
One of the most common causes of asthma in cats is a condition called allergic bronchitis. This is where the airways become inflamed due to something inhaled that causes an allergic reaction and stimulates the response in the immune system.
Common factors that can lead to a serious asthma attack include:
- Allergens such as pollen, mold, dust from cat litter, perfume, cigarette smoke and certain foods
- A pre-existing illness such as a heart condition
- Extreme stress
Symptoms similar to asthma can also be seen as a side effect of other conditions such as respiratory parasites, heart failure, pneumonia and heartworm.
|General Cat Care #3: Grooming|
|Most cats stay relatively clean and rarely need a bath, but they do need to be brushed or combed. Frequent brushing helps keep your cat’s coat clean, reduces the amount of shedding and cuts down on the incidence of hairballs|
|General Cat Care #4: Handling|
|To pick up your cat, place one hand behind the front legs and another under the hindquarters. Lift gently. Never pick up a cat by the scruff of the neck (behind the ears) or by the front legs without supporting the rear end.|
|General Cat Care #5: Housing|
|Cats should have a clean, dry place of their own in the house. Line your cat’s bed with a soft, warm blanket or towel. Be sure to wash the bedding often. Please keep your cat indoors. If your companion animal is allowed outside, he can contract diseases, get ticks or parasites, become lost or get hit by a car, hurt in a fight or poisoned. Also, cats prey on wildlife.|
Some cats, like some humans, are more prone to getting asthma than others and it does tend to occur more commonly in female cats than in males. It usually starts anywhere from the age of two right through to the age of eight and Siamese and related breeds seem to get the condition more frequently than other breeds.
If you suspect your cat has asthma, you should consult your vet immediately where they will conduct a physical examination and sometimes take some diagnostic tests to fully understand the problem. Because asthma can cause symptoms like other conditions, full tests may be needed to ensure that no other illness is present, including radiographs, blood work, parasite tests and evaluations of bronchial secretions.
There is no cure in asthma for cats but there are ways of managing it. Therapies that work include medication that open up breathing passages and reduce the inflammation of the airways as well as ones that alter the immune system. There are even specially adapted inhalers that are sometimes given to cats.
There is no guaranteed way to ensure your cat doesn't get asthma, as it can often be an inherited condition. However regular testing for internal parasites can reduce the chance of this type of asthma as well as avoiding using perfumes, room fresheners, carpet deodorisers and aerosol cleaners around your cat. Keep away from cat litter products that give off a lot of dust and make use of a humidifier to avoid the air in rooms being too dry. Reduce stress in the environment wherever possible and watch your cat's weight as obesity is a serious problem to more than just their breathing.
|General Cat Care #6: Identification|
|If allowed outdoors (again, we caution against it!), your cat needs to wear a safety collar and an ID tag. A safety collar with an elastic panel will allow your cat to break loose if the collar gets caught on something. An ID tag or an implanted microchip can help insure that your cat is returned if he or she becomes lost.|
|General Cat Care #7: Litter Box|
|All indoor cats need a litter box, which should be placed in a quiet, accessible location. A bathroom or utility room is a good place for your cat’s box. In a multi-level home, one box per floor is recommended. Avoid moving the box unless absolutely necessary. Then do so slowly, a few inches a day. Cats won’t use a messy, SMELLY litter box. Scoop solids out of the box at least once a day. Dump everything, wash with a mild detergent (don’t use ammonia) and refill at least once a week, less frequently if using clumping litter. Don’t use deodorants or scents in the litter or litter box (especially avoid lemon scent).|