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Cat Health: Why is My Cat Wheezing?

Updated on April 25, 2015

Cats make many strange noises, some funny, some scary, and some can indicate something life-threatening.

Cat wheezing is one of these many noises that can have many different causes, so it is important to focus on any other symptoms that may be present with the wheezing to determine if veterinary intervention is necessary.

Here is a list of the most common reason for cat wheezing:

Cat Allergies

Allergies can cause wheezing in cats so if allergies is the cause, it’s important to find the culprit and try to eliminate it so that your feline friend can have some relief. Other symptoms that your cat may experience with allergies may include hair loss, sneezing, coughing, and excessive itching.

Common offenders are pollen, cat litter, chemicals, flea treatments, and smoke. Depending on the allergy type, it can be treated by simply removing the allergen, or by way of treatment with antihistamines, steroids, or allergy shots.

Asthma in Cats

Asthma is typically apparent after your cat has been running around, perhaps chasing other cats or just outside playing.

If you suspect that your cat has asthma, definitely contact your cat’s vet to make the determination.



Hairballs are common in long-haired cats but any cat can get them due to the way in which they must groom themselves. If the cat wheezing is caused by hairballs, chances are, you have already found evidence of this around your home before.

Hairballs are not really a cause for concern and you can help reduce the frequency by brushing your cat daily to get rid of loose hair, giving special cat treats, and feeding the cat food designed for cats prone to hairballs.

If you feel like the hairballs might be a more serious problem with your cat, consult your cat’s veterinarian for some medication that can help dislodge them.


A less common cause, but can kill very quickly, heartworms can be easily detected during a routine checkup which is why it is so important to take your cat for checkups, and use medications designed to prevent heartworm.

If your cat does have heartworm, wheezing is most common at nighttime and may be due to the pressure that the heartworms place on the lungs.

Heat Stroke

More common in outdoor cats during the summer time. Cat wheezing can be caused by excessive heat and is a cause for concern if the cat cannot cool itself down. Always make sure your cat has somewhere cool to go to escape the heat of the summer.

A heat stroke may present itself with seizures and lethargy, and if you suspect heat stroke, it is important to try to lower your cats temperature slowly. Consult a vet if you suspect heat stroke.

Upper Respiratory Infection

Cat wheezing can be caused by a respiratory infection which will also present itself with other symptoms such as coughing and sneezing with or without blood, discharge from the nose or eyes, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Infections in cats, just like in humans, can be caused by a fungus, bacteria, or a virus, so your cat’s treatment will vary depending on what caused the infection.


When to Go to the Vet

Taking your cat for regular veterinary checkups is a very good idea, even if your cat seems healthy, as a veterinarian can catch a problem before it becomes an actual problem.

When it comes to the health of any of your pets, taking preventative measures are key.

Only your cat’s veterinarian knows the warning signs and what to look for if you suspect an issue. If your cat has ever had a history of wheezing, it’s always good to bring it up so the vet can check for signs of danger.

It is important that you seek veterinary attention if you notice your cat acting out of the normal with wheezing. Only you know your kitty and its normal behavior, so use your best judgement.

Only your veterinarian can make an official diagnosis and plan a course of treatment.

This article is in no way intended to replace professional veterinary advice and should not be used in this manner.

Please seek the advice of a licensed veterinarian should you suspect your cat’s wheezing is a cause for concern.


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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Hi, tutta ,

      I loved this hub. From top to bottom, excellent! Loved the lay-out, graphics, and overall presentation. I have five cats, so this hub was very timely and important.

      I voted up and all the way. Thanks for sharing your amazing writing talent. I live in Hamilton, Ala., a Mayberryish-like town two hours west of Birmingham. I have my roots in rural Alabama, but I have more than one tooth. Just so you will not be nervous about knowing someone from the south.

      I would consider it a great honor if you checked out a few of my hubs, and then became one of my followers. I am going to leave you some mail now and follow you.

      Much success and happiness to you.