What To Do If Your Cat Is Panting

cat is panting

It isn’t everyday we see that our cat is panting, which can cause us to worry. Although it isn’t a common occurrence, it might be an indication of something. Here is everything you need to need to know and what to do if your cat is panting.

Seeing a cat pant is pretty weird. It isn’t part of their normal, everyday behavior. However, it isn’t always necessary to worry or rush them to the vet. Instead it is important to look at the situation before you panic. Maybe it’s a really hot day or they are stressed. If it isn’t anything like that, it could be more serious.

What Does It Look & Sound Like When A Cat Is Panting?

When a cat is panting it looks and sounds similar to how a dog pants. However, it isn’t nearly as common. Dogs pant because that’s how they cool down because they don’t sweat. Cats on the other hand do sweat, sort of. When cats groom and lick themselves the saliva evaporates and gives a cooling effect. Similarly to how human’s sweat evaporates of their skin.

When a cat pants, their mouth will be open and tongue partially out. They will often take small shallow breathes in and out. Often times the cat will be lying down or standing up looking alert if they are stressed about something happening around them.

What does it mean when a cat is panting?

There are various reasons that might cause a cat to pant. It could be a psychological or a physical issue. If you are unsure and the panting continues, speak to a vet.

Normal Panting in Cats

Sometimes it can be normal for a cat to pant. What was your cat doing before it began to pant? Just like dogs, cats pant when they are overheated, stressed, anxious or after a lot of exercise. This form of panting will stop when the cat cools down or rests.

It is important to note that panting in cats is more rare than in dogs. If you aren’t sure the cause, talk to a vet for guidance and reassurance.

Abnormal Panting

If your cat has been in you sights all day and nothing unusual happens but panting occurs, it could be a sign of a medical issue. These are some common health problems that might be the reason why your cat is panting.

  • Asthma – Causes panting, wheezing and coughing. It is treatable and usually requires medications.
  • Heartworm – Can cause breathing difficulties. This disease can be fatal without the proper medications and treatments. Monthly heartworm is important to keep your cats (and dogs) healthy.
  • Respiratory Infection – Can lead to heavy breathing and are usually viral infections. They are often treated with antibiotics and humidifies can help loosen any mucus to make breathing easier.
  • Congestive Heart Failure Heart problems are common in cats and can easily go unnoticed. Watch for panting, rapid breathing, blue-tinged or pale gums as signs for heart failure. It can quickly become a serious situation, if you are concerned speak to an emergency vet.
  • Stress or Trauma – Just like people, all cats react differently to trauma and stress. Reactions can be hiding, shaking, peeing accidents, vocalizing and panting. Depending on the trauma the symptoms can go away once you calm the cat. If you adopt a cat who was in an abusive situation they may require therapy.
  • Pain – Cats are stoic, meaning they hide pain as a defense mechanism. Panting is a sign that your cat might be in pain. If they are aggressive, vocalizing, excessive purring, changes in eating or changes in mobility, they could be in pain and need medical assistance.
  • Anemia – Anemia is when you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. This could cause rapid, heavy breathing and panting.
why is my cat panting
Timothy Meinberg

What To Do About Your Cat’s Panting

If your cat’s panting is situational like they were running around or it’s a very hot day, it is most likely normal. Let them rest and see if the panting stops before you visit the vet. Additionally, if something is stressing your cat out like a dog or other triggers, remove it and let your cat relax.

However, if you’re cat is continuously panting and they display other symptoms, schedule a vet visit or go to an emergency vet. 

Common Treatments

Depending on the reason your cat is panting there are numerous treatments they could receive.

  • Asthma inhalers
  • Antibiotics for infections
  • Heartworm medications
  • Surgery for injuries or heart conditions
  • Therapy for stress or trauma

If you are worried about your kitty, talk to a vet about your concern.

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