Why Is My Cat Breathing Fast?

Have you ever noticed your cat breathing quickly while sleeping? If your cat is breathing rapidly, it can be a sign of a variety of issues from stress to heart disease. Cats are generally subtle in showing their caregivers signs of illness so cat caregivers must be especially vigilant to notice symptoms like rapid breathing.

One breath consists of your cats chest rising (inhaling) and falling (exhaling). A cat who is hot, stressed, or active may exhibit rapid breathing, but this should decrease after a few minutes.

Any breathing difficulty is a medical emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention. Rapid breathing in cats is a symptom of a variety of illnesses and injuries and should be evaluated by your veterinarian right away. Allergies Anemia Asthma Emotional distress Exertion Heart Disease Heat Pain Pleural effusion (abnormal accumulation of fluid within the chest cavity) Pulmonary edema (lungs filling with fluid) Foreign objects lodged in windpipe or other airway obstruction Respiratory infections Trauma, exposure to toxins, or injury Tumors in chest or throat

If rapid breathing continues despite removing the possible cause, seek veterinary attention. The veterinarian will perform an examination observing how your cat breathes, listening to their chest for evidence or abnormalities such as a heart murmur or fluid in the lungs, check the color of your cat‘s gums to indicate whether oxygen is being delivered to the organs effectively, and do a complete examination of the whole body. Your veterinarian will most likely perform blood tests to check for underlying conditions and take X-rays and/or ultrasound to examine the lungs and heart.

Rapid breathing is a symptom of an underlying medical issue and treatment varies depending on severity of illness and diagnosis. This will include providing oxygen, placing an IV catheter to administer emergency drugs and fluids intravenously. If your cat exhibits rapid breathing that resolves after a few minutes, keep a journal of details including how long it lasted, what was happening before and after, and the date to share with your veterinarian.

Is it normal for cats to breathe fast?

Breathing rate is an indicator of overall health – if your cat is suddenly breathing fast while sleeping (consistently more than 30 breaths per minute ), this could be an early clinical sign of heart-failure. Lower rates may be no cause for concern providing your pet is otherwise behaving normally.

When should I worry about my cat breathing?

1 Breaths should include small movements of the chest; if your cat’s sides are moving a large amount, this can indicate labored breathing. Be concerned if your cat’s breathing is abnormal. That means it’s unusually slow, fast, noisy (has a high, harsh or whistling sound), or the cat is having difficulty breathing.

What are the signs of cat dying?

Extreme Weight Loss. Weight loss is very common in senior cats. ….Extra Hiding. Hiding is the telltale sign of illness in cats, but can be hard to define. ….Not Eating. ….Not Drinking. ….Decreased Mobility. ….Behavioral Changes. ….Poor Response to Treatments. ….Poor Temperature Regulation.

Do cats breathe faster when stressed?

* Breathing: An extremely stressed cat will display increased respiratory effort. This often correlates to an increase in heart rate and pulse. A normal cat takes an average 20-30 breaths per minute. Open-mouthed breathing with panting is alarming and should be considered an emergency.

If your cat is breathing fast, its easy to panic – what could be causing this, and is it an emergency? Our Raritan, Somerset County vets describe whats considered rapid breathing, explain symptoms and potential causes, and provide insight on when to call a vet.

Respiratory infection Low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxemia) Low levels of red blood cells (anemia) Asthma Pulmonary edema (lungs filling with fluid) Bleeding into lungs Foreign objects lodged in windpipe or other airway obstruction Trauma, exposure to toxins, or injury Pleural effusion (abnormal buildup of fluid in the chest cavity) If your cat is breathing rapidly, you may notice several signs, including:

Coughing Panting or breathing with open mouth (like a dog) Nostrils flaring Rapidly rising and falling stomach or chest Blue-colored gums If your cat seems to be breathing faster than normal, look for any factors that may be contributing to the condition and remove them. For example, if your cat has been outside in the hot sun, or if emotional distress or anxiety are factors, move him to a cooler, quieter spot immediately.

Lower rates may be no cause for concern providing your pet is otherwise behaving normally. If you find that your cats breathing is consistently fast after keeping an eye on it for a couple of hours, contact our veterinarian as soon as possible, so they can recommend the next steps to take. Your vet will assess the stage and severity of your cats rapid breathing, listen to their chest for evidence of a heart murmur, fluid in the lungs or other cause, and check the color of your cats gums to identify whether the organs are receiving oxygen as they should.

Blood tests will be performed to check for underlying illnesses or diseases, then x-rays and/or ultrasounds will be done to examine the heart and lungs. At our hospital, we use in-house diagnostic tools to provide the most accurate diagnosis of medical conditions and customize treatment plants to the needs of your pet. Along with the steady supply of oxygen, an IV catheter may be placed so emergency drugs and fluids can be administered intravenously.

If your cat finds traveling stressful, your vet can give some tips on transportation. Always have your cat evaluated by a trained veterinarian at the first sign of rapid breathing. If the rapid breathing resolves after a few minutes, start to record details of the duration of the episode, what was happening before and after, and date these occurred to share with your veterinarian.

Heavy breathing and panting is often associated with dogs because that’s how they cool down. However, this behaviour isn’t usually seen in cats. Here our Argyle vets explain the reasons why your cat could be breathing heavily/panting and when you should call your vet.

If your cat isnt stressed, too warm, or tired from exercise, heavy or labored breathing can be a sign of a serious medical problem. Treatment for heartworm includes supportive care with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oxygen therapy in more serious cases.

Congestive Heart Failure When fluid builds up in and around the lungs, it can cause deep, rapid breathing, coughing, and panting. Humidifiers and steam may help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier as your cat get’s better.

Hearing your cuddly companion wheeze, cough, or noisily breathe with difficulty is alarming. Though rapid breathing can be the result of activity or excitement, it is often a sign of serious underlying conditions. Cats of any age and breed can experience rapid breathing. If your cats breathing irregularly, its time to seek immediate veterinary care as this is a potentially life-threatening issue.

A breath counts both one inhalation and one exhalation (when your cats chest rises and falls). If your kittens respiratory rate is higher than 30 breaths per minute, irregular, or shallow, seek veterinary care, just as you would for your cat.

If your cats respiratory rate is higher than 30 breaths per minute, it may be time to seek veterinary care. Watch this video to learn how to count the resting respiration rate of your cat. Asthma Heartworm Injury or Trauma Pain Allergic reaction Pneumonia Nervousness/Anxiety Upper Respiratory Infection Anemia (low red blood cell count) Respiratory infection Pulmonary edema Heart failure or heart disease Heart murmur Tumors Fluid build-up Foreign objects blocking windpipe Pleural effusion

If your cat is having difficulty breathing and theres no obvious cause, it may be time to call the veterinarian. Since anxiety and stress can cause rapid breathing, its important to keep your cat calm. Treatment of rapid breathing will be customized to each cat based on their health history and the underlying condition causing the problem.

You will need to go over your cats health history, talk about when symptoms began, and any incidents that could have caused this problem. Vets will first observe how the cat breathes and listen to their chest for any evidence of a heart murmur or fluid buildup. Vets will determine the underlying cause through blood work, endoscopy, and other methods.

Vets may use x-rays or ultrasounds to examine the heart and lungs to identify any tumors, foreign objects, or fluid build ups. Severe rapid breathing problems will require a stay at the veterinary hospital. Vets can constantly monitor cats while they administer oxygen, fluids, or medication.

This DVM speaks about breathing problems and how veterinarians handle cases of respiratory distress at animal hospitals: In many cases, cats can make a full recovery from rapid breathing as long as immediate veterinary care is taken.

What Is Rapid Breathing in Cats?

Rapid breathing (tachypnea) is a serious and life-threatening condition in which the cat breathes rapidly due to dysfunction of the respiratory system and/or reduced oxygen. There are several types of breathing disorders which can affect cats, but this article will focus on rapid breathing. When measuring your cat’s respiratory rate, rapid breathing would be defined as anything higher than the normal 16 to 40 breaths per minute. A cat who is hot, stressed, or active may exhibit rapid breathing, but this should decrease after a few minutes. If the breathing does not subside or worsens, it is a symptom of a serious condition that needs to be addressed by a veterinarian immediately.

Symptoms of Rapid Breathing in Cats

Counting your cats’ breaths can help indicate your cat is breathing fast, but there are also a number of other signs that can occur progressively over time or be sudden in onset. Any breathing difficulty is a medical emergency and requires urgent veterinary attention.

Diagnosis of Rapid Breathing in Cats

If your cat is breathing rapidly, consider any factors that may be causing it and remove them from your cat‘s environment. Some factors include emotional distress and heat. If your cat is panting due to heat, for example, get them out of the heat as soon as possible and make sure to have water available to them. If rapid breathing continues despite removing the possible cause, seek veterinary attention.The veterinarian will perform an examination observing how your cat breathes, listening to their chest for evidence or abnormalities such as a heart murmur or fluid in the lungs, check the color of your cat‘s gums to indicate whether oxygen is being delivered to the organs effectively, and do a complete examination of the whole body.Your veterinarian will most likely perform blood tests to check for underlying conditions and take X-rays and/or ultrasound to examine the lungs and heart.

Why is my cat breathing fast?

Rapid breathing in cats is also known as tachypnea. First, let’s establish what a healthy respiratory (breathing) rate for a cat is. They’d usually take between 20 to 30 breaths per minute.To find your cat’s resting respiration rate, count the number of breaths he or she takes while resting. One breath includes inhaling (when the chest rises) and exhaling (when the chest falls). It’s important that your cat not be purring when you count their breathing rate. The sleeping rate is usually a little lower than their resting breathing rate.Time them on your phone or a watch to count how many breaths happen in that 30-second period. Then you’ll multiply the number of breaths you counted by two to arrive at the number of breaths your cat takes in one minute.

Diagnosis of Fast Breathing in Cats

Your vet will assess the stage and severity of your cat’s rapid breathing, listen to their chest for evidence of a heart murmur, fluid in the lungs or other cause, and check the color of your cat’s gums to identify whether the organs are receiving oxygen as they should.Your kitty will also be stabilized provided with a steady supply of oxygen. Blood tests will be performed to check for underlying illnesses or diseases, then x-rays and/or ultrasounds will be done to examine the heart and lungs. At our hospital, we use in-house diagnostic tools to provide the most accurate diagnosis of medical conditions and customize treatment plants to the needs of your pet.

Heavy Breathing & Panting In Cats

There are situations when it is normal for your cat to be panting however, sometimes it could be a sign of a serious condition that requires immediate veterinary care.If you see your cat breathing heavily, start assessing the situation following the criteria listed below.Bring your kitty in for veterinary treatment if their heavy breathing is out of the ordinary or if it’s been happening for a long time period.

Normal Panting in Cats

Sometimes panting is normal for cats. Think about what your cat was experiencing or doing right before you noticed the panting.Like dogs, cats can pant when they are overheated, stressed, anxious, or after exercising. This kind of panting should resolve once the cat calms down, cools down or rests.Although, this type of panting in cats is significantly more rare than it is in dogs. So if you aren’t completely sure why your cat is panting, visit your veterinarian.

Abnormal Panting in Cats

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

Asthma

Asthma can also be a reason for cats panting, wheezing, and coughing, it can also increase their respiratory rate. Asthma is treatable in cats and often requires 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. Since heartworm disease can be fatal for cats, it’s essential to keep your kitty on monthly heartworm preventatives.

Congestive Heart Failure

When fluid builds up in and around the lungs, it can cause deep, rapid breathing, coughing, and panting. Treatment might 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 very hard for cats to breathe, causing heavy breathing. Respiratory infections are usually viral, but when a secondary bacterial infection develops, antibiotics might be needed for treatment. Humidifiers and steam may help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier as your cat get’s better.

Panting

Panting is heaving breathing with the tongue hanging out. Though panting is sometimes a sign of heat or exhaustion, it should decrease after a few minutes. Cats may also show open-mouth breathing by gasping, gagging, or gulping.

Causes of rapid breathing in cats

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if your cat is breathing normally or having breathing difficulties. These symptoms can gradually increase over time or onset suddenly. These signs include:

Be a smarter pet parent

Sign up for the best pet advice you can get

How vets treat rapid breathing in cats

Treatment of rapid breathing will be customized to each cat based on their health history and the underlying condition causing the problem. You will need to go over your cat’s health history, talk about when symptoms began, and any incidents that could have caused this problem.Vets will first observe how the cat breathes and listen to their chest for any evidence of a heart murmur or fluid buildup. They will check the color of your cat’s tongue and gums.Vets will determine the underlying cause through blood work, endoscopy, and other methods. Vets may use x-rays or ultrasounds to examine the heart and lungs to identify any tumors, foreign objects, or fluid build ups. If it’s a suspected heart issue, vets may run an ECG (electrocardiogram).Cats may get medication or antibiotics, either by mouth or intravenously. If the cause is due to an infection or pneumonia, vets may prescribe antibiotics to fight off the infection. If the cause is allergies, vets may prescribe antihistamines.Severe rapid breathing problems will require a stay at the veterinary hospital. Vets can constantly monitor cats while they administer oxygen, fluids, or medication. Vets will sometimes offer oxygen via a face mask in an emergency. Hospitalized cats will receive oxygen in an oxygen cage.This DVM speaks about breathing problems and how veterinarians handle cases of respiratory distress at animal hospitals: