Asthma is present in around 800,000 cats, or 1 percent, of the domestic cat population in the United States. Although asthma is incurable in felines, researchers are developing ways to understand the causes of asthma and to treat it.
Currently, scientists cannot find many factors like age, gender or genetic makeup that seem to predispose cats to feline asthma. The only factor that seems to affect a cat's chances of having asthma is the amount of time that it spends outside because cats that spend more time outside are exposed to more allergens.
There are also a number of allergens that scientists believe can trigger asthma attacks in cats. These allergens include tobacco smoke, dust from kitty litter, vapors from cleaning solutions, aerosol sprays, pollen, mold, mildew, dust mites, smoke from fires or candles, and even some foods.
Typical signs of an asthma attack in a cat include suddenly stopping all motion, breathing rapidly, breathing with the mouth open, abnormal movement of the chest and abdomen and wheezing. There are various drugs that cats can take in pill, injection or inhaler form to prevent or end asthma attacks, however, these drugs can have unwanted side effects like pancreatitis and diabetes.