Defining Bronchitis in Cats
Bronchitis in cats, also called tracheobronchial irritation, is a condition that involves inflammation of a cat’s airways, called “bronchi,” and sometimes also involves inflammation of the trachea, commonly known as the “wind pipe.” Bronchitis tends to cause cats to have a chronic cough that can’t be attributed to cancer, pneumonia, congestive heart failure or other conditions that typically lead to persistent coughing. The underlying cause of chronic feline bronchitis often is never discovered. The condition usually is slowly progressive due to inflammatory damage to the lining of the airways. In severe cases, cats may develop increased lung resistance and a reduced ability to breathe normally. Bronchitis is fairly common in companion cats in the United States and throughout North America. Unfortunately, it can mimic the symptoms of other feline respiratory tract diseases. Cat owners should be attuned to the sounds of their cat’s normal breathing, so that they can identify breathing abnormalities when they occur.