Home Cat Health Cat Panting or Breathing Hard: Why and What To Do

Cat Panting or Breathing Hard: Why and What To Do

Some panting in cats is completely normal. An excessive amount of panting or heavy breathing could be a sign of a serious health complication. If you notice you cat panting or breathing hard, you’ll need to assess your pet and monitor him closely to decide whether or not you need to seek veterinary care.

We typically think of dogs when we think about an animal panting. You may not expect to see your feline friend panting, but it is possible – and usually completely normal. Panting in cats looks similar to panting in dogs. Your cat may have his mouth open, tongue hanging out slightly, and you will be able to see/hear him taking short, shallow breaths.

No matter what the symptoms are that your cat is displaying, it's best to consult your veterinarian if you're worried. You know your pet better than anyone. If something seems off with his behavior, it probably is. It's better to be safe than sorry in these circumstances, so check with your vet if you're concerned.

Cat Panting or Breathing Hard
why and what to do

cat panting or breathing hard

If your cat has been playing hard, spending time outside on a warm day or stressed by a certain trigger, panting is completely normal. Get your cat to take a break and relax, help cool him down or remove any stressors from the environment. The panting should stop after a few calm minutes.

If your cat’s heavy breathing lasts for an extended period of time, you need to seek veterinary care immediately. If the heavy breathing is sporadic, without a cause or accompanied by any other symptoms, you should call your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Other symptoms to watch for include:

  • coughing
  • loss of appetite
  • lethargy
  • choking or gagging
  • pale or bluish tint to gums

If the panting or heavy breathing doesn’t seem to be caused by heat, stress or excessive activity, an examination by your veterinarian is a MUST. This could be a sign of serious health conditions including asthma, congestive heart failure, respiratory infection or heart worm.

If left untreated, any of these conditions could become fatal. They cannot be treated with home remedies, and over-the-counter remedies may end up making your cat feel worse. The best thing to do if you are concerned that your cat is having trouble breathing is to contact your veterinarian for a consultation.

READ NEXT: Why Cats Stare

Samantha’s biggest passion in life is spending time with her Boxer dogs. After she rescued her first Boxer in 2004, Samantha fell in love with the breed and has continued to rescue three other Boxers since then. She enjoys hiking and swimming with her Boxers, Maddie and Chloe.