Fibrotic Hardening of the Lungs in Cats Also called pulmonary fibrosis, a form of pneumonia leading to inflammation and scarring in the lungs

Fibrotic Hardening of the Lungs in Cats Photo by Hiang Kanjinna:

The progressive condition known as fibrotic hardening of the lungs causes the lung tissue to thicken and stiffen, making it challenging for the cat to breathe. Learn more here.

Fibrotic hardening of the lungs, commonly known as feline lung fibrosis, is a serious condition that affects cats. This progressive disease causes the lung tissue to become thick and stiff, making it difficult for the cat to breathe.

In this article, we will explore the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for fibrotic hardening of the lungs in cats, as well as ways to manage and prevent the disease.


  • Idiopathic: In many cases, the cause of fibrotic hardening of the lungs in cats is unknown and is referred to as idiopathic lung fibrosis.

  • Environmental: Cats that are exposed to certain irritants, such as dust, smoke, or chemicals, may be at a higher risk of developing lung fibrosis.

  • Infections: Certain types of lung infections, such as feline infectious peritonitis, can lead to lung fibrosis.

  • Cancer: Lung tumors can cause lung fibrosis as a secondary complication.

  • Genetic: Some cats may be predisposed to lung fibrosis due to a genetic predisposition.

  • Trauma: Lungs injuries can cause fibrosis as a repair mechanism.

It's worth noting that fibrotic hardening of the lungs can be caused by a combination of factors, and the underlying cause may not be identified in all cases.


  • Coughing: Cats with fibrotic hardening of the lungs may develop a persistent, dry cough.

  • Shortness of breath: As the lungs become stiff, the cat may have difficulty breathing and may pant or struggle to catch its breath.

  • Difficulty exercising: As the disease progresses, the cat may become fatigued easily and may have difficulty climbing stairs or playing.

  • Weight loss: Cats with lung fibrosis may have a reduced appetite and weight loss.

  • Rapid breathing: The cat may have an increased respiratory rate.

  • Bluish tint to the gums and tongue: due to lack of oxygen.

  • Abdominal distension: due to a fluid buildup in the abdomen brought on by heart failure.

It's important to note that the symptoms of lung fibrosis can be subtle in the early stages of the disease and may not be noticed until the disease is advanced.

Treatment Options

It's important to note that treatment for lung fibrosis in cats will be tailored to the individual case and will depend on the underlying cause of the disease. Instead of curing the illness, the aim of treatment is to enhance the cat's quality of life and control symptoms.

Preventive Measures

  • Environmental control: Minimizing the cat's exposure to irritants such as dust, smoke, and chemicals can help to prevent lung fibrosis.

  • Vaccination: Keeping cats up to date on their vaccinations can help to prevent certain infections that can lead to lung fibrosis.

  • Early detection: Regular check-ups and screenings with a veterinarian can help to detect lung fibrosis in its early stages when treatment is most effective.

  • Good nutrition: Feeding cats a balanced diet can help to sustain a strong immune system, which can help to prevent infections and other diseases.

  • Avoiding Trauma: Keeping cats indoors or supervising them while they're outside to prevent them from getting injured.

  • Monitoring respiratory rate: Regularly monitoring the respiratory rate of cats can help detect early signs of lung fibrosis.

It's important to note that since idiopathic lung fibrosis (without a known cause) is common in cats, preventive measures may not always be possible. However, good general health care, monitoring, and early detection can help to improve the cat's quality of life and prognosis.

Was this article helpful?