Why Do Cats Pant?

Live with a dog and you are intimately familiar with the sound, and smell, of your dog’s heavy breathing. They seem to love to do it right next to your face just as you are about to binge watch another season of your favorite series. Cats on the other hand are a little more considerate when they decide to share with you the smell of their breath. You are more likely to experience their unique stench as they lick your hair right before you drift off to sleep rather than with heavy breathing in your face after a hefty play session.

Panting, or heavy breathing with the mouth open, in cats can be a normal behavior if it occurs immediately after a big play session or right after kitty zoomies. Assessment of the immediate circumstances is needed to determine what course of action should be taken,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, author and owner of Cat Behavior Associates .

“They may pant briefly if they’re revved up with excitement and playing hard and running and jumping about,” says Theresa Entriken, DVM, a veterinary consultant located in Leawood, Kan. Ensure your cat buddy has lots of opportunities for play and enrichment every day so they have a healthy body and are mentally content. If that’s the case, your cat may need to find a cool spot on the kitchen floor and might even do a kitty sploot (adorable!

Our feline buddies can be susceptible to overheating, heatstroke , dehydration , or heat exhaustion just like usparticularly when it’s hot, humid, or especially warm outside. Like their canine counterparts, cats experience fear, stress, and anxiety and express those uncomfortable emotions through body language . If you see your cat doing this it may be an indicator that there are significant stressors in the home environment or their current situation makes them feel uncomfortable.

For instance, cats may pant while at the vet office, when strangers come to your home, or when you introduce a new furry family member . Try to give them space and freedom from unwanted interactions, offer up toys and opportunities to scratch on their favorite cat tree , keep your home quiet, keep visitors away for a while, and re-establish a routine that’s suitable to their needs. Vocalizing, changes in mood, not eating, hiding, obsessively licking an area of their body, and open-mouth panting can all be signs a cat is experiencing pain and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.

Why is my cat panting with her mouth open?

Panting is usually a sign that something isn’t right with your cat. Cats only breathe hard with their mouths open when they are very stressed, extremely hot, or a disease process is occurring. … Regardless of the cause, if your cat is panting, it’s important you visit your local Greencross Vets immediately.

Is it bad when a cat is panting?

Persistent cat panting might signal a breathing issue or heart problem. A hard time breathing is another reason why a cat might pant or breathe heavily. “Once they’re panting, they ‘re in respiratory distress, and it doesn’t really go away until we’ve treated the underlying cause,” Dr. Simpson says.

What causes a cat to pant?

Like dogs, cats may pant when they are overheated, stressed and anxious, or after strenuous exercise. This sort of panting should resolve once the cat has had an opportunity to calm down, cool down or rest.

Why do cats pant when hot?

This is a cooling mechanism similar to sweating: as the saliva evaporates off its fur, the cat will cool down. … Cats pant more rarely than dogs, but will pant to take on cooler air if they are particularly hot. Heavy panting could be cause for concern, however (see heatstroke, above).

We often see dogs panting and dont assume that it is a cause for concern. However, cats dont tend to pant often. So what does it mean when they do? And is there anything you can do to calm your cat down when it happens?

This is because they are learning to regulate their behaviour so may over exert themselves with excitement and then need to pant to calm down. If they are also restless, lethargic or drooling it is worth checking in with your vet to see if they have overheated.

Cats may also become stressed if strangers visit your home or if there is a new pet in the house. Any major changes to your cats home environment could cause stress and trigger panting. If your older cat is panting, this can be a sign of congestive heart failure .

Panting in cats can also be a sign of anemia, trauma, neurologic disease or a distended abdomen. Long-haired breeds are the most likely to pant particularly Persians (narrow nostrils), Maine Coons, and Himalayans. If your cat pants infrequently and/or after a serious play session this is generally not something to worry about.

If your cat has been chasing a fly across the room or you have had a vigorous workout with a feather toy then it is normal for it to pant. If the panting is combined with other unusual symptoms such as lack of appetite, lethargy, or anything else that isnt typical then definitely seek professional help quickly. If theyre inside then move them to a cooler part of the house or where there is an air conditioner or fan.

Make sure you get the air conditioning working, windows down and a cooler temperature before you let your cat get in. Many cats dont like big open spaces this is why it is important to have some type of carrier or backpack on hand so that they can get into an area where they feel safe. This can range from lots of meowing to loss of appetite to obsessive grooming and of course panting.

While dogs often pant in order to cool down, this behavior is not common in cats. Learn about the reasons your cat might be panting or breathing heavily, and when to seek emergency care for your pet.

Treatment for heartworm includes supportive care with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oxygen therapy in more serious cases. Congestive Heart Failure When fluid accumulates in and around the lungs, it can cause deep, rapid breathing, coughing, and panting.

Humidifiers and steam can help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier as your cat recovers. Other Conditions Trauma, anemia, neurologic disorders, abdominal enlargement, and pain can also cause cats to pant or exhibit heavy breathing.

Though its not a common occurrence, cats do sometimes pant depending on the situation. Most commonly, you may notice your cat or kitten panting if they are in a stressful situation, overheated, or tired from physical activity. In those cases, panting is a normal response and should subside once they have a chance to cool down or rest.1

Your cat or kitten will have their mouth open, tongue partially out, and be taking small shallow breaths in and out. These triggers can cause an asthma attack which could manifest as coughing, wheezing, panting, and increased respiratory rate.

Read our resource on cat asthma to learn more, including the symptoms, causes, and treatment. Heartworms are small parasites that can infect the heart and lungs of your cat or kitten. These small creatures can trigger a major illness known as Heartworm Associated Respiratory Disease (HARD) that causes your cat to pant, wheeze, or cough.

Heartworm and HARD can turn serious very quickly so its important you watch for additional symptoms accompanying any panting, including lethargy, hiding, lack of appetite, as well as wheezing, coughing, or other signs of respiratory distress.2 Heart failure can cause fluid to accumulate around the lungs, reducing lung capacity and restricting oxygen levels.3 Watch for panting, rapid breathing, and blue-tinged or pale gums as these can be signs of congestive heart failure. This can quickly become a critical situation and you should contact your veterinarian immediately or seek emergency veterinary care.

If you notice these symptoms, make an appointment with your veterinarian to ensure its being treated early before it evolves into something more serious.4 If they came from an abusive situation or experienced neglect, they may need special handling to help them through their traumatic experience. They may schedule an appointment for you or they may instruct you to go to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic depending on the severity of the other symptoms.

As soon as you notice your cat panting, take note of all the symptoms theyre experiencing and communicate them to your vet so he or she can start diagnosing. Knowing these symptoms can help your vet determine which tests need to be run to uncover the underlying issue. It could be as simple as adjusting the care of your cat or kitten to work through their trauma, or as complex and serious as emergency surgery.

Asthma and upper respiratory issues are relatively common in cats and kittens and have many treatment options available, including antibiotic pills or inhalers. Learn more about cat asthma treatment options , including different medications available, their efficacy, and potential side effects. For that reason, catching respiratory infections early is imperative to keep your cat safe and keep the condition from progressing to an urgent matter.

Learning how to recognize symptoms of panting and when you should be concerned will help you work with your veterinarian to determine the cause and best treatment for your cat or kitten.

5 Reasons a Cat Will Pant

“Panting means the cat is working very hard to get back to normal. Assessment of the immediate circumstances is needed to determine what course of action should be taken,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, author and owner of Cat Behavior Associates.Whether your cat just played hide and seek with that amazing Amazon box you forgot to throw away or your cat may have injured a paw after pushing your laptop off your desk, we examine five common reasons your cat may pant.

1. Play and Exercise

When your feisty feline is excited and full of beans, they might start to pant. “They may pant briefly if they’re revved up with excitement and playing hard and running and jumping about,” says Theresa Entriken, DVM, a veterinary consultant located in Leawood, Kan.Ensure your cat buddy has lots of opportunities for play and enrichment every day so they have a healthy bodyBe sure to let your cat rest and recoup after lots of exercise, and monitor them to make sure they have not become overheated.

3. Stress

All the pouncing, chasing, scratching, and jumping a cat does makes them hot. And when they have been active for a long period of time, they can get overheated (their body temperature becomes elevated). If that’s the case, your cat may need to find a cool spot on the kitchen floor and might even do a kitty sploot (adorable!).”To cool off, cats sweat a bit through their foot pads, lick their fur, drink water, hang out in shady spots, or stretch out on a cool surface to expose more of their body surface to release heat to cool down,” Entriken says.Our feline buddies can be susceptible to overheating, heatstroke, dehydration, or heat exhaustion just like us—particularly when it’s hot, humid, or especially warm outside. In situations like those, pay close attention to symptoms such as:Entriken says that if your cat is showing any of these concerning signs they need to be seen by a veterinarian right away.

4. Pain

When a cat is experiencing pain they will likely engage in behaviors that may seem out of the ordinary or out of context. Vocalizing, changes in mood, not eating, hiding, obsessively licking an area of their body, and open-mouth panting can all be signs a cat is experiencing pain and should be evaluated by a veterinarian.Johnson-Bennett notes that the pain could be due to a recent injury or an underlying medical condition. Cats don’t always tell us where they are hurting and it can be hard to pinpoint a cause of pain, especially if you have a very active kitty. But, if you think your cat may be experiencing pain, no matter the reason, take action.”It warrants a veterinary check up,” Entriken says.

Why do Cats Pant? 8 Reasons

Cats typically don’t breathe through their mouths. A cat’s normal breathing rhythm should be quite smooth with a normal rate being 15 to 30 breaths per minute on average. Panting means that your cat is putting quite a bit of effort into getting back to normal.So if your cat is panting it is best to take a look at why this might be the case and then figure out if you need to act.

1. They are excited

Kittens can pant more than older cats. This is because they are learning to regulate their behaviour so may over exert themselves with excitement and then need to pant to calm down.

2. They’re hot

Outdoor cats in particular can use panting to cool down if it is hot outside. To cool down cats will sweat a little through their paw pads, lick their fur, get somewhere shady or find somewhere cool to lie down.However, cats can suffer from heatstroke so if it is a particularly warm day try to move your cat to a cooler location. If they are also restless, lethargic or drooling it is worth checking in with your vet to see if they have overheated.

3. Stress or Anxiety

Cats can pant when they visit the vet. This could be because they associate the vet with pain or because the way they have gotten to the vet is stressful eg in a carrier or carrier and a car if they don’t often leave the house.Cats may also become stressed if strangers visit your home or if there is a new pet in the house. Any major changes to your cat’s home environment could cause stress and trigger panting.

4. Breathing Issues

Does your cat cough as well as pant? They may have respiratory issues such as cat asthma or some form of bronchitis. Up to 5% of cats are thought to suffer from feline asthma. Like humans, cat asthma can be controlled but major attacks can be life-threatening.

5. Heart Problems

If your older cat is panting, this can be a sign of congestive heart failure. Heart disease in cats often goes undetected until disaster strikes.

6. Heartworm

Heartworm in cats can cause panting and other breathing issues. This is a disease that is more associated with dogs than cats but cats can still develop the illness. Even indoor cats may be bitten by mosquitos if near an open window. My cat loves to lie in windowsills and this is another place where they may be bitten.Heartworm can be fatal so do see your vat quickly for treatment.

7. Other Medical Conditions

Panting in cats can also be a sign of anemia, trauma, neurologic disease or a distended abdomen.

8. Breed

Some cat breeds are known to pant more often than others. Long-haired breeds are the most likely to pant particularly Persians (narrow nostrils), Maine Coons, and Himalayans.Maine Coons are also more prone to be affected by hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Panting can be one of the signs of this condition.

How much Cat Panting is too much?

If your cat pants infrequently and/or after a serious play session this is generally not something to worry about. The panting to watch out for is the type that stays for a while. If your cat’s panting is persistent it is time to seek professional help.Do check for common sense explanations. If your cat has been chasing a fly across the room or you have had a vigorous workout with a feather toy then it is normal for it to pant. The same goes for if it is a hot day. However, normal panting won’t last very long in cats.If the panting is combined with other unusual symptoms such as lack of appetite, lethargy, or anything else that isn’t typical then definitely seek professional help quickly.

3. Why do cats dislike panting noises?

Panting is generally a sign of nervousness. If your cat sees you panting it may take this as a sign that you are going to challenge it. If your cat believes this it will react aggressively.

Heavy Breathing (Panting) In Cats

Some panting in cats is normal, while in other cases, it can indicate a serious problem that requires prompt veterinary care.If you notice that your is cat is exhibiting heavy breathing, start by assessing the situation based on the criteria below.Bring your cat to the vet if the heavy breathing seems out of the ordinary, or if it continues for a long period of time.

Normal Panting in Cats

In some cases, cat panting is normal. Consider what your cat was doing or experiencing immediately before you noticed the panting.Like dogs, cats may pant when they are overheated, stressed and anxious, or after strenuous exercise. This sort of panting should resolve once the cat has had an opportunity to calm down, cool down or rest.That being said, this sort of panting in cats is much more rare than it is in dogs. So if you’re not entirely sure why your cat is panting, it’s worth a visit to your veterinarian.

Abnormal Panting in Cats

If your cat isn’t stressed, too warm, or tired from exercise, heavy or labored breathing may be a sign of a serious medical problem. In this case, emergency veterinary care may be required.

Asthma

Asthma can cause cats to pant, wheeze, and cough, and can also cause increased respiratory rate. Asthma is treatable in cats and often involves medications called corticosteroids or bronchodilators.

Heartworm

Heartworm in cats can cause breathing difficulties. Treatment for heartworm includes supportive care with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oxygen therapy in more serious cases. Because heartworm disease can be fatal, it is important to keep your cat on a monthly heartworm preventative.

Congestive Heart Failure

When fluid accumulates in and around the lungs, it can cause deep, rapid breathing, coughing, and panting. Treatment may include draining the fluid, as well as medications to dilate blood vessels, get rid of excess fluid, and make the heart contract more forcefully.

Respiratory Infection

Respiratory infections can make it difficult for cats to breathe, resulting in heavy breathing. Respiratory infections are usually viral, but in cases where a secondary bacterial infection develops, antibiotics may be required for treatment. Humidifiers and steam can help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier as your cat recovers.