Causes of Cat Wheezing

Cat wheezing may be due to several factors; it may indicate that the cat wants to cough up a fur ball or something more severe such as asthma. Determining the causes of wheezing can help you know if you should be worried or if treatment is needed.

Fur Balls

Fur balls are a common problem in cats and usually you shouldn’t be worried if your cat has a fur ball; this will be coughed up. A fur ball is an accumulation of hair in the cat’s stomach due to constant self grooming, which results in the ingestion of loose hairs.

Fur balls will cause the cat to wheeze for prolonged periods of time. The cat may also vomit and cough, trying to eliminate the fur ball.

Talk to your vet about some medication (i.e. Laxatone) that will facilitate the elimination of fur balls.

You can also prevent the build up of fur balls by grooming your cat regularly, removing the loose hair that the cat may otherwise ingest. You may also give your pet a diet that is high in fibers, which will facilitate the digestion of hair.

Grass may also stimulate the vomiting the fur balls.


Allergies may cause wheezing. Allergies are provoked by different inhalants such as pollens, smoke or chemicals and will lead to nasal congestion.

The cat may also display skin itchiness, rashes, limb swelling, hair loss, sneezing and coughing; these symptoms may be seasonal, according to the source of allergies.

The allergies may be treated with antihistamines, steroids or steroid ointments or allergy shots.

Once you find the allergen, make sure to reduce your pet’s contact to it.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections affect cats.

Your pet will be wheezing, coughing, sneezing (sometimes blood), have nasal and ocular discharges and will be less active.

Respiratory infections can be caused by viruses, bacteria or fungi, so the treatment will depend on the source of the infection.


Asthma can cause wheezing and this will occur usually after extended sessions of exercise.

Asthma can be manageable, but it needs to be detected first.

Consult a vet if you have any concerns.

Heat Stroke

A cat that is exposed to sun or warm temperatures cannot regulate his body temperature in a suitable manner, so he may get heat stroke.

The cat may be wheezing, be lethargic and even experience seizures.

You must decrease you pet’s temperature immediately, as heat stroke may be lethal.

Use some warm compresses, but not ice packs.

Avoid warm temperatures and make sure your cat stays in the shade during sunny days.

Don’t allow the cat in overheated rooms or saunas, as these will cause heat stroke.


Cats may get infected with the heartworm. Even if the disease does not show too many symptoms, an infected cat may wheeze due to the pressure of the worms on the lungs. The wheezing is mostly present during the night.

A heartworm may cause sudden death and can be detected during a routine checkup.

Heart problems may also cause wheezing.