These Facts about Feline Asthma were taken from the Cat Fancy Article Fighting for Breath by Heitger-Casbon, Christy: . Cat Fancy Magazine, March 2001.
Feline asthma (also known as feline bronchial disease, allergic bronchitis, bronchitis, allergic airway disease and allergic asthma) is similar to human asthma. An allergic reaction causes spasms in the bronchi, prompting airway inflammation and swelling. This restricts airflow, causing respiratory distress, which can become life threatening in a matter of minutes.
In addition, glands in the lungs expand and discharge excessive amounts of mucus into the airways, clogging the little breathing space that remains. The end result: "The cat is probably left feeling like it's breathing through a straw," says Amy D. Shojai, of Serman, TX, and author of The Purina Encyclopedia of Cat Care: An Authoritative A-to-Z Guide.
Unfortunately, the discomfort and dangers associated with feline asthma are not limited to those during an acute attack, says Elaine Wexler-Mitchell,DVM, an Orange, CA veterinarian and author of The Complete Idiot's Guideto a Healthy Cat. Feline asthma can also cause permanent damage to your cat's lungs.