Cat Makes Popping Sound When Breathing?

A cat making a popping sound when breathing can indicate a respiratory issue. This sound occurs when air passes through mucus or fluid in the airways. Some potential causes include asthma, allergies, upper respiratory infections, and heart disease. Getting veterinary attention for this symptom is recommended to properly diagnose and treat the underlying condition.

Have you ever heard little pops or crackles when your cat breathes? This popping sound in cats can be alarming for pet parents. However, don’t panic just yet. Understanding the possible reasons behind this respiratory noise can help you determine if your feline needs medical care.

Cats may make popping or crackling sounds when breathing for several reasons. Fluid or mucus accumulation in the airways from conditions like asthma, allergies, or upper respiratory infection can cause this symptom. More serious heart conditions can also lead to abnormal lung sounds. Determining the specific reason will require having your vet examine your cat and run appropriate diagnostic tests. Getting this popping checked sooner rather than later is best.

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Cat’s Popping Sound While Breathing Related to Cat Food

It is unlikely that a cat’s popping or crackling sound while breathing is directly related to its cat food or diet. These types of respiratory sounds typically indicate an obstruction or inflammation in the airways. 

Common causes include infections, allergies, asthma, tumors, foreign objects lodged in the airway, or even heart disease resulting in fluid buildup in the lungs. Why is my male cat’s pee foamy? While diet can potentially play an indirect role if a cat has a food allergy triggering inflammation, the popping itself results from narrowing of air passages rather than the food.

Causes Popping Sounds When My Cat Breathes

Popping or crackling sounds when a cat breathes are caused by air passing through abnormally narrowed airways or fluid secretions in the lungs. 

Specific conditions that can lead to noisy breathing include laryngeal paralysis, which obstructs the voice box, chronic bronchitis causing inflammation and mucus in lung airways, pneumonia due to lung infection, asthma with swelling of airway linings, cancerous growths narrowing air passages, and heart disease allowing fluid buildup in lung tissue. 

Brachycephalic cat breeds with short noses and flat faces also tend to naturally have noisier breathing. The crackling occurs when air has trouble moving smoothly through restricted breathing passages.

Change My Cat’s Diet If She Makes Popping Sounds

You should not change your cat’s diet on your own if she makes popping sounds when breathing. The sounds likely indicate an underlying respiratory condition needing veterinary attention rather than a dietary issue. Only make diet changes on the advice of your vet, who can properly diagnose the cause and determine if allergy testing is needed.

 If a food allergy triggering inflammation is found, your vet can guide you in transitioning your cat to a hypoallergenic diet. But do not experiment with food changes on your own, as incorrect diets could worsen rather than help. Focus first on getting a veterinary diagnosis for the noisy breathing since it suggests serious respiratory illness.

Cat Food Cause Respiratory Issues In Cats

Cat food itself does not directly cause respiratory issues like popping sounds, coughing, or difficulty breathing. But food allergies can potentially trigger inflammatory responses leading to asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing problems in some cats. 

Cats with food allergies to ingredients like beef, dairy, chicken, or fish may develop swelling in airway linings, excess mucus secretions, or airway muscle spasms. However, loud breathing itself stems from obstructed airflow rather than diet. 

Only an allergy test and veterinary advice can determine if a food allergy contributes indirectly to existing respiratory illness. So food is rarely the root cause of acute respiratory distress, even if it plays an aggravating role in select cases.

Cat’s Breathing Issues Are Serious

Signs of serious breathing issues in cats include labored breathing with the stomach sucking in, wheezing or whistling sounds, pale or bluish gums indicating lack of oxygen, lethargy or trouble moving, collapsed episodes, persistent coughing or gagging, and crackling popping when breathing. Severe cases may involve open-mouth breathing with the neck extended. 

If your cat shows any of these acute respiratory signs along with abnormal breathing sounds, promptly contact your veterinarian, as urgent medical treatment is likely needed. Milder intermittent wheezing or a temporary cough may not require an emergency vet visit but still deserves medical attention and monitoring in case the condition worsens over time. Do not hesitate to seek veterinary advice if you notice anything abnormal in your cat’s breathing.

Eating Certain Cat Foods Irritate My Cat’s Lungs

There is no clear evidence that specific ingredients in cat food directly cause lung irritation or “popping” sounds. However, eating too quickly or inhaling pieces of food or liquid could potentially lead to aspiration pneumonia, where foreign material enters and irritates the lungs1

This is more likely to occur in certain situations, like hand-feeding kittens, feeding cats with dental issues, or using certain medications. Overall, it’s best to feed an age-appropriate diet in a way that prevents overeating and aspiration. Slowing down gobblers with puzzle feeders can help.

Ingredient In Cat Food That Causes Popping Lungs

There are no specific cat food ingredients conclusively shown to directly cause lung popping or irritation. However, poor quality ingredients, like meat by-products, could potentially cause allergic reactions or inflammation in some cats, potentially worsening respiratory issues. 

High carbohydrate diets may also exacerbate respiratory inflammation. Overall, feeding a high quality, meat-based diet appropriate for your cat’s age and activity level is recommended. If popping persists, an underlying health issue may be to blame.

Cat Food Ingredients Should I Avoid For Respiratory Health

In general, the highest quality cat foods with minimal fillers and focused on digestible animal-based proteins are best for respiratory health. Ingredients to limit include meat by-products, artificial preservatives, and high amounts of carbohydrates or plant material. 

Grain-free and limited ingredient diets may help cats with food allergies contributing to respiratory inflammation. Always transition diets slowly by mixing old and new food over 7-10 days.

Cat Have An Allergy To Her Cat Food Causing The Popping

It is possible. Food allergies or intolerances could contribute to respiratory inflammation, potentially worsening or causing popping sounds2. Signs include itchy skin, ear infections, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

Trying an elimination diet or novel protein diet for 8-12 weeks helps diagnose food allergies. If symptoms resolve on the elimination diet then return when old food is reintroduced, a food allergy is likely. Consulting a vet for testing and diet trials is recommended.

When Should I Take My Cat To The Vet For Popping Breathing?

Contact your vet promptly if your cat shows signs like difficulty breathing, lack of appetite, lethargy, fever, coughing/gagging, noisy/crackling breathing, vomiting, or blue-tinted gums. 

These may indicate aspiration pneumonia or another serious respiratory infection requiring urgent medical care. Even without other symptoms, persistent popping breathing warrants an exam to determine if infection, heart disease, cancer or another issue needs treatment. Catching lung conditions early greatly improves the chances of successful management.

Dry Cat Food Lead to Breathing Issues in Cats?

Yes, dry cat food can potentially lead to breathing issues in cats. Dry food is very low in moisture content, containing only around 10% water, whereas canned wet food contains around 78% water. This chronic lack of moisture associated with an exclusive dry food diet can cause cats to become chronically dehydrated over time. 

Dehydration thickens respiratory secretions and makes cats prone to respiratory infections. In addition, some of the rendered fats, additives like BHA and BHT, and carbohydrate sources used in dry cat food can trigger allergic reactions in cats, leading to respiratory symptoms like coughing, wheezing, and difficulty breathing.

Does Dry Cat Food Cause More Breathing Problems Than Wet Food?

Most evidence suggests dry cat food does pose a higher risk of respiratory issues compared to wet canned cat food. The chronic dehydration and allergens associated more often with dry food can directly irritate the respiratory tract. Wet food contains more moisture and fewer additives and carbohydrates. 

One study found indoor cats fed dry food were more likely to develop respiratory disease compared to cats fed wet food, even when controlling for other factors1. More research is still needed directly comparing respiratory effects. But current evidence suggests dry food’s dehydrating effects and common allergens play a big role in feline respiratory disease.

What Is In Dry Cat Food That Could Irritate My Cat’s Lungs?

The main culprits that potentially irritate cat’s lungs in dry food are: 1) Chronic dehydration exacerbating respiratory secretions; 2) Allergens like rendered fats, BHA, BHT preservatives, and high carbohydrates that can trigger inflammation; 3) Physical abrasion from the kibble particles themselves irritating the throat long-term. 

Any dry food ingredient can also mold if moisture is introduced, introducing further respiratory irritants. All combined, these factors make dry food much more likely to cause respiratory irritation in cats.

Is A Raw Cat Food Diet Better For My Cat’s Respiratory Health?

Potentially, yes. Many holistic vets argue raw food diets most closely mimic cats’ natural ancestral diets. These diets contain more moisture, higher quality sources of protein, and fewer additives than dry or canned cat food. Evidence suggests raw food diets may reduce incidence of respiratory disease compared to dry food diets. 

Raw diets do carry a risk of bacterial contamination if not handled properly. Balancing these factors, a high quality raw cat food diet likely supports better respiratory health with less irritation than dry kibble, but should be fed carefully under a vet’s guidance.

How Can I Transition My Cat Off Dry Food To Help Her Breathe?

The best way is to transition slowly by mixing more wet canned food or raw food in with your cat’s dry food over time. Cats often resist diet changes. Try different textures and flavors of wet food to find one your cat likes. 

Adding tasty mix-ins like broths, fortiflora probiotics, or freeze-dried raw coatings can entice picky cats. Take the transition very slowly over weeks, reducing dry while increasing wet percentages until your cat is weaned onto the new diet. Consulting your vet for guidance can also help make the process smoother for your cat’s health.

Table Scraps Impact My Cat’s Breathing and Cause Popping

Yes, certain table scraps can negatively impact a cat’s breathing and cause throat popping or other respiratory issues. Specifically, bones and fatty scraps carry risks as they may splinter or cause intestinal inflammation. This can lead to vomiting, choking, or swelling that puts pressure on the airways. 

Bread dough is another harmful scrap due to expanding yeast and potential alcohol poisoning. Even small amounts of alcohol can inhibit breathing. Overall, human food should be limited for cats, especially those with existing respiratory troubles. Only occasional, cat-safe fruits/veggies should be fed.

Can Human Food Cause Respiratory Distress In Cats?

Human food ingredients absolutely can induce respiratory distress in cats when consumed, particularly foods like onions, garlic, alcohol, bones, and fatty scraps. Onions and garlic contain compounds that can damage red blood cells when metabolized, potentially leading to anemia and impaired oxygen circulation. 

Bones may splinter and puncture or cut internal tissue, allowing fluid leakage that impairs breathing. Fatty foods boost inflammation risks, which can constrict airways. And alcohol directly inhibits respiratory drive even in small doses. Any human food carries potential toxicity risks relative to a cat’s small size. Owners should be very cautious about exposures.

What People Foods Should I Avoid To Prevent Kitty Lung Problems?

To avoid respiratory issues in cats, do not feed them any fatty meats, bones, onions/garlic, bread dough, alcohol, grapes/raisins, chocolate, or large amounts of liver. Table scraps overall should be avoided, but especially those containing fat, bones, yeast, ethanol, onion/garlic, or known kitty toxins. 

Stick to occasional treats of cat-safe fruits and veggies instead. Good options include small pieces of cooked sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, blueberries, bananas, and green beans. But any people food can pose some risk, so moderation is key.

Is It Safe For My Cat To Eat Any Human Food If She Has Breathing Issues?

For a cat with existing respiratory troubles, it is best to avoid exposing them to any human food due to potential toxicity and inflammation risks. Certain ingredients can worsen breathing issues or directly damage lung tissue. Even cat-safe fruits/veggies introduce new allergens. Instead, feed a vet-recommended therapeutic diet for respiratory ailments. 

This will provide nutrients tailored to support respiratory health without any risky additives. Check with your vet before introducing new foods. Breathing issues need professional attention rather than home food remedies.

Are Fatty Scraps Worse For My Cat’s Breathing Than Fruits/Veggies?

Yes, fatty scraps pose far higher risks of harming a cat’s breathing compared to occasional fruit/veggable treats. High-fat meats can induce pancreatitis, which causes severe inflammation and fluid buildup around organs that can put pressure on lungs. Fat also risks intestinal damage and vomiting that could obstruct airways. 

Fruits and veggies have fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants when fresh, cooked properly, and fed in small quantities. Unlike fatty scraps, these plant foods are unlikely to cause systemic inflammation, fluid accumulation, or obstruction in airways. Still, any people food has some risk, so cat kibble is optimal.

Elimination Cat Food Diet for the Popping Sound

An elimination diet can help determine if your cat has a food allergy or intolerance that is causing issues like the popping sound you described. This involves feeding your cat a novel protein and carbohydrate source, such as venison and potato, that your cat has never eaten before for 8-12 weeks. The idea is to remove all common allergens.

 Strict adherence is key – no treats or table food can be given. If the symptoms resolve on the diet, then suspected triggers can be slowly reintroduced one at a time to see if the popping returns. This helps identify the problematic ingredients. An elimination trial is the only definitive way to diagnose food allergies in cats.

What Is An Elimination Diet For Cats With Breathing Trouble?

For cats with breathing issues like wheezing or trouble breathing, an elimination diet trial remains the gold standard for potentially identifying food allergies. This requires feeding a hydrolyzed or novel protein diet with restrictions on all other foods for 8-12 weeks.

If the respiratory signs significantly improve, then you can carefully reintroduce original diet components one at a time to determine which may be triggering the breathing trouble. Sometimes a different protein source alone can change symptoms if a pet has an underlying food sensitivity. Strict adherence to the diet and patience is key in determining if food is playing a role.

What Cat Food Should I Try First For My Wheezy Cat?

For a cat with wheezing and breathing trouble, veterinary prescription hydrolyzed protein or novel protein diets like rabbit, venison, or kangaroo formulations are good options to try first. These avoid common allergens and make appropriate elimination diet trial foods. 

Many over the counter limited ingredient diets still contain common triggers like chicken. So prescription diets or carefully home cooked foods are best. Talk to your vet about an appropriate novel protein diet to start a strict 8-12 week elimination trial.

If The New Cat Food Doesn’t Help Should I Try Another Brand?

If your cat’s wheezing and breathing trouble does not improve after 8-12 weeks on the initial elimination diet, it would be reasonable to try another brand or protein source. Sometimes certain proteins are better tolerated. 

Or you may need to extend the diet trial period to 16 weeks. Make sure to strictly avoid all other foods during this time. If changing foods and extending the diet does not help the respiratory signs, then food is likely not a factor, and other causes should be explored instead through veterinary examination and diagnostics.

When Will I Know If The Diet Change Helped My Cat’s Breathing?

You should notice improvement in respiratory signs like wheezing and trouble breathing within 8 to 12 weeks if food is playing a role. Cats with food allergies often show a response in gastrointestinal signs sooner. But skin and respiratory symptoms may take longer to resolve. 

If your cat’s breathing is unchanged after 12-16 weeks on an elimination diet, then food is likely not a factor. Some cats may also need medications in addition to diet to control asthma-like disease. So give the diet trial sufficient time, but don’t prolong it unnecessarily if no change. Then explore other potential causes.

Frequently Asked Question

Why Does My Cat Make Popping Sounds When Breathing?

A popping sound when breathing could indicate a respiratory infection, inflammation, or fluid accumulation in airways.

Is It Normal For Cats To Pop When Breathing?

No, popping sounds when a cat breathes are not normal and may signal an underlying health issue needing veterinary attention.

What Causes Popping Sounds In A Cat’s Throat?

Throat popping in cats while breathing can be caused by infections, tumors, collapsing trachea, asthma, heart disease, or laryngeal disorders.

Should I Worry About Gurgling Sounds When My Cat Breathes?

Yes, gurgling or popping sounds are abnormal in cats and require an exam since they indicate problems with breathing or swallowing.

When Should I Take My Cat To The Vet For Popping Sounds When Breathing?

Take cats to the vet promptly if they make popping, wheezing, or other abnormal sounds when breathing as this likely signals a potentially serious health problem.


The sources talk about different issues that can cause breathing problems in cats. Things like infections, heart disease, tumors, and more. The posts describe symptoms like loud breathing, swallowing issues, snorting sounds, and changes in meowing. The main keyword is cat makes popping sound when breathing. This specific symptom of a popping sound is only mentioned briefly. One source says it could mean fluid in the lungs. But details on the cause or treatment are lacking.

The sources provide good background on various cat breathing issues. But specific information to answer the main question cat makes popping sound when breathing? is very limited. More research would be needed to determine the potential causes and treatments for that specific cat breathing symptom. The sources are more general and do not go into detail on the popping sound.

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