Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats
Is a lung disorder that can affect all cats not just young orphans

Aspiration pneumonia in cats is a lung disorder that has long been associated just with young, orphaned kittens.

However  that is misleading as it can and does affect cats at any age.

This condition can be caused by liquid entering into the lungs, or from inflammation that is caused by the inhalation of something foreign, chronic vomiting, or regurgitation.


This is a very serious situation in all cats, but in young kittens it can be fatal.

Aspiration pneumonia, especially in young orphaned kittens, occurs as the result of being fed milk re-placers by a tube.

Once this happens, it places the kitten at immediate risk of being overfed or the tube being accidentally passed into the kitten’s trachea instead of the esophagus.

If the tube is not placed correctly, it can also cause the formula to enter into the kitten’s lungs as they are not fully developed.

If the kitten has a cleft palate, they are in even more danger of developing aspiration pneumonia.

A clef palate is a skeletal disorder that is found in every breed of kitten, and is the result of the bones that form the roof of the mouth not growing normally.

As a result of this, there is an opening in the roof of the mouth that allows liquid to enter.

If you do have a kitten that is tube feeding and milk comes out of their noses, it is also going into their lungs.

Bottle feeding in an orphaned kitten very slowly can help to aspiration pneumonia in cats.

In more mature cats, it can be caused by the inhalation of some type of a foreign matter, vomiting regurgitation, or it can be the result of a neuromuscular disorder.

A disorder of this type can cause difficulty in swallowing as well as trouble with the esophagus.

If it becomes serious, it could cause paralysis of the esophagus.


There are several symptoms that you can watch for with aspiration pneumonia in cats that are mature.

The first symptom will be coughing and this symptom in a cat under any circumstance is not a good sign.

With this condition, if the coughing persists, respiratory stress in your cat is the next symptom that they will show.

This will consist of very rapid heartbeats and then difficulty in breathing which can cause your cat to become extremely stressed.

Other symptoms to watch for with Aspiration pneumonia in cats will be a sudden and then chronic nasal discharge as well as resistance to any type of exercise.

However, the most telling symptom as well as the most chilling will be a condition called cyanosis, which is a blue coloration in your cat’s membranes.

This symptom means that your cat is not getting enough oxygen.


Aspiration pneumonia in cats can also be caused by liquid entering into the lungs, inflammation that is caused by inhalation of something foreign, vomiting, or regurgitation.

However, there are also several other potential causes.

Owl CatEsophageal disorders may be a potential cause

Oropharyngeal disorders are one of the major causes of this condition, and result difficulty in swallowing in your cat.

This disorder can affect cats of all ages and breeds.

It is the result of congenital abnormalities or some type of a structural damage like cleft palate that affects older cats as well as kittens.

The cause may also be from a disease in your cat’s larynx which is the part of the respiratory tract that is between the pharynx and the trachea and contains your cat’s vocal cords.

A recent surgery on the larynx could also cause this condition.

Esophageal disorders could also be the underlying cause of aspiration pneumonia in cats.

The esophageal is the membranous tube that is the passageway for food in your cat from the pharynx to the stomach.

Any type of an obstruction from foreign bodies by a mass growth or tumor could be the cause.

Megaesophagus is also a very strong possible cause of Aspiration pneumonia in cats.

This condition occurs when the esophagus in your cat has lost its muscle tone, allowing liquids, food, or other substances to block the esophagus.

The esophagus wall in your cat is made up of muscles that move in wave like contractions that help to push recently ingested food into the stomach.

Under normal circumstances, it takes about five seconds for this reaction to happen.

With Megaesophagus, these contractions are more like thin waves that move much slower due to the loss of the muscle tone pushing it.

Polymyopathy, which is an inflammation or immune disorder in cats, could also be the cause. Although it is not very common in cats, it is believed to be caused by feeding your cat a vegetarian diet.

Vegetarian diets in cats are extremely controversial for many reasons, and this is one of them.


Treatment of Aspiration pneumonia in cats will all depend of the severity. It your cat’s condition is severe, they will have to be hospitalized and given intravenous fluids.

If it is a kitten, and they are severe, they may not survive it. In a few cases, surgery may have to be done to remove an object or mass that is causing the blockage.

However, in most cases, you can assist your cat be loosening the secretions that may be causing blockage as well as developing fluid.

By simply thumping gently several times on your cat’s chest wall, this may loosen whatever is stuck and will allow your cats system to take over from there.

Placing a humidifier next to where your cat sleeps can also help loosen most anything stuck as well as comforting your cat.

However, contrary to some misconceptions, do not use Eucalyptus in the humidifier. Eucalyptus contains phenols which are compounds that are toxic to your cat’s liver.


It also contains chemical called ketones which can cause brain damage.

Aspiration pneumonia in cats can be very serious, especially for kittens, but if your watch for the symptoms and keep their immune system strong with vitamins and minerals.

They should very easily be able to fight this condition with their natural immune system.

Source of Treatments for Aspiration Pneumonia in Cats

Cat Vitamin Store

More About Digestive & Respiratory Problems in Cats

Bronchial Asthma in Cats

The symptoms are coughing, wheezing, and in some cases, dyspnea, which is shortness of breath.

Colitis in Cats

Is an inflammation of the lining of the colon or the large intestine and comes in two different forms; acute and chronic.

Chylothorax in Cats

Is a condition where your pet has developed an excessive accumulation of fluid in the pleural cavity.

Drooling in Cats

Is also referred to as Pytalism and it may be triggered by smells, excitement, or it can be the result of your cat getting overheated.

Dysphagia in Cats

Is best described as a condition where it has become very difficult for your pet to swallow.

Hairballs in Cats

Is a serious treat and there have been reported cases where hairballs that have been removed have been as large as a baseball.

Hernias in Cats

The most common are diaphragmatic hernias and they come in two types, and the less common include hiatal and umbilical hernias.

Megacolon in Cats

Is an extremely difficult condition to treat as in the majority of cases the actual cause is never fully known or understood.

Melena in Cats

Is caused by a lower gastrointestinal disease and although it can becomes serious, it is usually just a minor occurrence.

Panting in Cats

In most situations will be the result of overheating or when they have become extremely stressed by some type of a traumatic event.

Patent Ductus Arteriosus

Is a birth defect that affects the ductus arteriosus in kittens when it fails to close properly.

Pneumothorax in Cats

Is a condition where there has been an abnormal amount of air that has entered into your cat’s chest cavity and it is restricting their lungs.


Is a backward flow of fluid, mucus, or undigested foods, and in most all cases it will appear to be totally effortless.

Respiratory Distress

Also referred to as Dyspnea, has a litany of potential causes ranging from fluid on the lungs to the beginning stages of heart failure.

Sneezing in Cats

Should be treated with a sense of urgency and you should immediately check your cat for any type of a nasal discharge.

Stomach Ulcers

In most every case develops in their stomach or duodenum area which is the first section of the small intestine.

Tachypnra in Cats

There are three other potential causes; upper respiratory, lower respiratory and non-respiratory conditions.

URI in Cats

Is so contagious that it can be passed by your pet by simply coming into contact with objects that have been exposed to the infection.

Vomiting in Cats

Can be a symptom that your cat’s gastrointestinal system has been disturbed or it may be secondary condition to some type of a disease.