We present a new hardware-efficient paradigm for universal quantum computation which is based on encoding, protecting and manipulating quantum information in a quantum harmonic oscillator. This proposal exploits multi-photon driven dissipative processes to encode quantum information in logical bases composed of Schr\"odinger cat states. More precisely, we consider two schemes. In a first scheme, a two-photon driven dissipative process is used to stabilize a logical qubit basis of two-component Schr\"odinger cat states. While such a scheme ensures a protection of the logical qubit against the photon dephasing errors, the prominent error channel of single-photon loss induces bit-flip type errors that cannot be corrected. Therefore, we consider a second scheme based on a four-photon driven dissipative process which leads to the choice of four-component Schr\"odinger cat states as the logical qubit. Such a logical qubit can be protected against single-photon loss by continuous photon number parity measurements. Next, applying some specific Hamiltonians, we provide a set of universal quantum gates on the encoded qubits of each of the two schemes. In particular, we illustrate how these operations can be rendered fault-tolerant with respect to various decoherence channels of participating quantum systems. Finally, we also propose experimental schemes based on quantum superconducting circuits and inspired by methods used in Josephson parametric amplification, which should allow to achieve these driven dissipative processes along with the Hamiltonians ensuring the universal operations in an efficient manner.