Experienced and professional animal trainer provide their insights in answering this question :
A. It sounds likely that your cat may have asthma. It is relatively common. Please have him seen by a veterinarian to determine if that is the cause. Most cats can do well with asthma treatments that help alleviate the symptoms.

How to Identify Common Pet Problems ?

Our sources include academic articles, blog posts, and personal essays from experienced pet care professionals :

If a cat has been hiccupping for a prolonged period of time, especially if it`s an older cat, this could be a sign of a more serious problem, like asthma, a tumor or heart disease, or perhaps even parasites, foreign body ingestion or food allergies.
Feline asthma — Just like in people, some cats` lower airways can become inflamed when triggered by allergens, resulting in wheezing and difficulty breathing. Laryngitis — Infectious processes, trauma, and even tumors can cause inflammation in the back of the throat, resulting in breathing changes.
Asthma. Common signs of asthma in cats include heavy breathing with mouth open, panting, wheezing, and coughing, and increased respiratory rate. While asthma in cats may not be cured, it can be successfully managed with corticosteroids or bronchodilators.
Stridor: Noisy breathing with a high-pitched sound, which is usually caused by a blockage or issue in the larynx or windpipe. Stertor: Noisy breathing with a low-pitched sound that often occurs when inhaling, and is usually caused by an issue in the nose or throat.
Paradoxical breathing pattern in which the chest falls on inspiration and the abdomen expands rather than the chest rising with inspiration. Decreased lung sounds on thoracic auscultation.
Abnormal Breathing in Cats (Dyspnea)

If your cat is breathing heavily but isn`t too hot, stressed, or tired from exercise, their labored breathing could be a sign of a serious medical issue. That`s when, emergency veterinary care may be required.

Cats suffering from asthma may show signs of difficulty breathing, wheezing, rapid breathing, coughing or hacking, open-mouthed breathing, or vomiting. These signs can vary in intensity, ranging from acute respiratory crises to chronic, low-grade coughing, elevated respiratory rate, or increased respiratory effort.
Choking in cats is usually caused by a foreign object such as a bit of toy, bone or a hairball getting stuck in the throat. However, it can also be down to objects getting wrapped tightly around the neck. Symptoms of cat choking include extreme distress, pawing at the mouth and drooling.
While in some cases a wheezing cat isn`t cause for concern, it`s often indicative of an underlying health issue. “When a cat is wheezing, it can be a sign of stress, discomfort, or due to more severe concerns, such as respiratory or cardiovascular issues,” explains Dr.
Signs of Heart Failure

Coughing and difficulty breathing are the most common signs, although cats with heart failure are far less likely to cough than dogs with the disease. Increased breathing rate, loss of appetite, or reluctance to exercise may also be noted.

Cats that experience stertor while awake are also likely to snore when sleeping. Stertor indicates airway obstruction and is most common with such conditions as nasopharyngeal polyps, nasopharyngeal stenosis, and neoplastic masses that occlude the airway.
A grunting sound can be heard each time the person exhales. This grunting is the body`s way of trying to keep air in the lungs so they will stay open. Nose flaring. The openings of the nose spreading open while breathing may indicate that a person is having to work harder to breathe.
Paradoxical respiration (seesaw motion) is a hallmark of inhibition of gas exchange due to diaphragmatic or respiratory muscle fatigue (ie, chronic obstructive lung disease)1 or traumatic injury to the thorax (flail chest), which may require urgent mechanical ventilation.
In “see-saw” breathing the whole anterior chest wall is pulled inwards and downwards as the abdomen expands. There is much shifting back and forth from one pattern to another. The fourth stage begins several weeks after birth and is characterized by a return to more stable rhythms and respiratory patterns.
Shock Lung in Cats. Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) involves severe inflammation of the lungs which ultimately leads to acute respiratory failure and death in affected cats. This is a life-threatening problem, causing death in a majority of patients despite life saving efforts and treatment.
Signs of an acute respiratory illness include labored breathing, periodic blackouts or fainting; pale or bluish lips, gums and nose tissue; irregular heartbeat; and gastrointestinal upset. A severe acute attack is likely to result in a cat`s death if veterinary treatment is not immediately available.
Presentation. Most infections occur in children and most are asymptomatic. Patients may present with immunologically-mediated symptoms including cough, dyspnoea and wheeze which may present as asthma or bronchitis. Presenting signs may include hepatomegaly, splenomegaly and ocular lesions.
Capillaria aerophila and Aelurostrongylus abstrusus are two of those most commonly found parasites in cats. They may cause such symptoms as coughing and shortness of breath (dyspnea). The coughing is caused by the worm larvae that are laid in the airway, which in turn causes difficulty breathing and mucus accumulation.
While specific asthma-causing agents typically remain unidentified, suspected allergens include tobacco smoke, dusty kitty litter; vapors from household cleaning solutions and aerosol sprays; pollen from trees, weeds and grass; mold and mildew; dust mites; smoke from fireplaces and candles; and even some foods.
Chronic bronchitis is defined in part by the presence of a daily cough; asthma is defined in part by acute bronchoconstriction that may resolve spontaneously or with treatment. Bronchoconstriction may or may not cause cough in an individual cat (known as cough-variant asthma).
Symptoms and Types

Cats with oral dysphagia often eat in an altered way, such as tilting the head to one side or throwing the head backward while eating. Food packed in the cheek folds of the mouth without saliva are also typical signs of oral dysphagia.

“Coughing and wheezing in cats is most commonly associated with respiratory allergies or asthma,” Dr. Gibbons explains. “Wheezing can also happen with benign growths called polyps that occur in the sinuses or throat. Occasionally, wheezing can happen with foreign bodies trapped within the respiratory tract.”
Stridor is a harsh, higher-pitched wheezing noise that may be caused by blockage in the larynx or windpipe and is usually heard on inspiration. Wheezing is a continuous high-pitched whistling sound produced on expiration caused by narrowing or obstruction in the lower airways.
Shallow or laboured breathing. Persistent coughing. Gurgling or rattling respiratory sounds.

Relevant Questions and Answers :

the most relevant questions and answers related to your specific issue

Q. Why do cats meow?
ANSWER : A. Cat parents often wish they could better understand what their favorite feline friends want or desire. A cat’s meow can be interpreted in many different ways and can indicate an array of feelings and needs. Here are some of the most common reasons for your cat’s vocalizations:

1. Greeting- Many cats will meow as a greeting when you enter your home or walk into a room. Cats will also meow at another cat or animal in the household to extend a hello and acknowledge the other animal’s presence.

2. Attention – An exuberant meow followed by leg rubbing or another attention seeking behavior may indicate your cat is looking for some quality time spent together. Some petting or rubbing behind the ears may be in order.

3. Hunger – A meowing cat is often a hungry cat. This is one of the most common reasons for a cat to vocalize to their owners. A cat will meow to get your attention at feeding times or even when they want extra food.

4. Sickness – A sick or hurt cat may begin to meow excessively, warranting a visit to the veterinarian. There are numerous reasons for a cat in distress to meow—whether it is related to an upset stomach, an injured leg or a urinary blockage. These meows should be carefully investigated.

5. Entering or leaving – Most cats will vocalize when they want to be let in or out of a room. You may notice when you are in the bathroom or behind the closed door of a room that your cat begins to meow, scratches at the door, and often reaches its paw under the door. This is a clear indication that the cat wants to be where you are.

6. Angry – An agitated cat may meow to warn their owner or another household pet that they are upset and would like to be left alone. This angry meow may increase in sound volume as the cat becomes more stressed or agitated. Often a cat will exhibit this type of meow at the veterinary office when they are unhappy with their examination or restraint.

Each feline is different and so are their vocalizations. Learn to understand the variety of meows your cat uses on a daily basis. This will help you develop a better relationship with your cat and help them live a more trusting and happier life.

Q. My cat continues to scratch on furniture and carpets. He has plenty of scratching posts around the house. Please help!
ANSWER : A. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats that can be frequently frustrating for pet owners who want to keep their furniture from being shredded on a constant basis. The texture of furniture and carpet is very appealing to cats and this why they frequently choose to spend their time on this activity as opposed to playing with their own cat toys. Here are some suggestions to help curb this unwanted behavior:

1. Purchase a cat scratching post or cat tree that is covered in carpeted or textured material. Place it in an appealing spot that your cat would be inclined to spend time (eg. in the sun). You can also place catnip on the scratching post or cat tree to make your cat even more interested in the new object.

2. You can utilize double sided tape on the ends of the furniture because you cat will not like the sticky feeling and will learn to not scratch in that region. Use the tape that has a lighter adhesive in order to prevent any permanent damage. Other materials, such as aluminum foil or bubble wrap can also be placed on the furniture to discourage the scratching.

3. Keep nails trimmed short by either learning to do this on your own at home or using a veterinary technician, or groomer. Nails can usually be trimmed every 6-8 weeks.

4. Redirect the unwanted behavior. If your cat begins scratching, use a favorite or new toy to distract the cat from the scratching. Give your cat positive praise for not scratching.

5. As a last resort you can use a spray bottle full of water to spritz your cat when he or she is scratching inappropriately at your furniture. Generally, cats do not like water and this will discourage them from continuing the behavior.

Have patience with your cat because it can takes time to understand this is an unwanted behavior and that furniture is not another toy for them to use. You can always consult your veterinary or veterinary behaviorist to help with ideas or further solutions to this problem.

Read Full Q/A … : I found Pickle on

Q. My cat is pooping outside of the litter bix. He is 2 1/2. He did this as a kitten. It stopped then started about 3 months ago. Litterbox is clean.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination or house soiling can be a frustrating problem but with a bit of detective work on your part, there is hope. First, before deciding that this is a behavioral issue, any medical problems (diarrhea, constipation, fecal incontinence, pain on defecation, etc.) need to be ruled out and/or treated. If your cat receives a clean bill of health from your vet but is still eliminating outside the litterbox, then we need to consider that something about the box itself might be aversive to your cat. Cats can be quite finicky about their litterbox and toileting habits. Below I have listed common recommendations and cat preferences for litterbox use. Review the list and make any changes that could account for your cat’s aversion to defecating in the litterbox:
* Soft, fine-grained clumping litter (vs, coarse-grained, non-clumping litter)
* Unscented
* 1 – 1 1/2 inch depth (especially older cats or cats with hip problems)
* Larger pans (especially for large cats) – want to get whole body inside – poop just outside the box might mean the box is too small
* Open, non-hooded
* At least one shallow side to get in and out easily
* Easy to get to – not hidden away, preferably in areas they spend time in or near – and not near appliances that make scary, unpredictable noises (washers, dryers, refrigerators)
* Scoop minimum 1X/day – preferably 2
* Clean the litterbox with soap and water and put in fresh scoopable litter at least once/month (instead of just continuously adding)
* Some cats prefer to urinate in one box and defecate in a separate box, so you may need 2 boxes even if you just have 1 cat. Multi-cat households should have 1 box/cat plus 1 extra.

Q. My cat will not stop going to the toilet on my carpet, bed, washing pile etc.. Also uses its litter box occasionally? I don’t understand why this is?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.
If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.
The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. I have a cat that defecates in the litter box but always urinates outside the box. It is very annoying.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. My cat started to pee outside the litter box. What should I do?
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate bathroom use in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his defecating outside the box.

Once medical issues are ruled out, it’s time to take a look at other explanations. Has there been a lot of activity that wasn’t normal? Were you away and your cat was left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox located in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet, or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Have you changed the brand of litter or kind? Or is there something about the spot he has chosen to use that is attracting him in some way? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out as a way of expressing their dissatisfaction.

The general rule of thumb is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped at least daily, if not more often and changed completely on a weekly basis, and washed with soap and water.

You can also offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystal kind, since it makes a hissing sound when wet that can startle some cats and make them reluctant to use it again.

The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litterbox. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation.

Q. Our cat of six years has on two separate occasions has defecated on the living room rug and recently pee’d on the skirt of the Christmas tree.
ANSWER : A. Inappropriate elimination in cats is often a behavioral problem rather than a medical problem, so the first step is to have him seen by your vet to eliminate any kind of illness or condition as a cause for his eliminating outside the box.

If medical issues are ruled out, take a look at other reasons. Has there been a lot of unusual activity? Has you cat been left at home or boarded? Is the litterbox in a busy area? Has anything happened recently in this area to make him reluctant to use it again? Is there another cat, pet or person that is preventing him from getting to the box? Have you changed it from a hooded to an open box, or vice versa? Is it big enough? Have you changed the type or brand of litter? Is there something attractive about the spot he uses? Cats dislike disturbances to their routine and may act out to express their dissatisfaction.

The general rule is one litter box per cat in the household, plus one. That way each cat can have a place of their own to go in case the box is occupied or another cat has claimed it as territory. They should be scooped daily, if not more often and changed completely weekly, washed with soap and water only. You can offer one kind of litter in one box and another kind in another to see if there is a preference. I don’t recommend the crystals, it makes a hissing sound when wet that startles some cats and make them reluctant to use it again. The litter boxes should be located in a quiet, low-traffic area so that the cat can use them in peace. Make sure any other pets or people aren’t giving them a hard time around or in the litter box. It may take some investigation and experimentation to find your cat’s preference and accommodate him so that everyone is satisfied with the situation. And, when cleaning up pet accidents, don’t use any cleaner containing ammonia. This leaves behind a scent similar to urine.

Q. I want to know from a veterinarian that has owned indoor cats if they agree with declawing? Also, is the whole digit still removed?
ANSWER : A. I am not a veterinarian, but a certified dog trainer. I have studied cat behavior as well, so I have some knowledge in that area. Cats need their claws in my opinion. When a cat is declawed, it can sometimes cause serious anxiety and frustration in the declawed cat. This is because the cat can not de-stress by digging at a scratching post, and a cat feels defenceless without its nails. It is a sad sight to see when a cat who is declawed is dealing with anxiety. I’ve met declawed cats who seem very unstable. It’s difficult to tell whether or not the cats would be so unstable had they not been declawed, but I’ve never seen a cat who has all of its nails act the way a declawed cat acts.

That’s just my two cents.

Read Full Q/A … : snopes.com: Declawing cats