Why Is My Cat Panting?

When a cat pants, the first thing we have to do is worry. It is not normal for these animals to pant. But if the one who does it is a kitten, the case could be even more serious if possible. Because his life could be in danger.

There are a few physiological causes why your cat may pant with its mouth open. It is necessary that you take it into account to know if you have to go to the vet. 

Why Is My Cat Panting

With this in mind, we have to know why is my cat panting. And also, we need to know what to do so that the situation does not get worse.

Situations in which you have a panting kitten, and you should not worry: 

Physical effort 

Suppose your cat exerts excessive physical effort, either playing or chasing a small animal. In that case, it may be that his breathing accelerates. This can happen, especially in cases of young cats that are playful or move around a lot. You may see your kitten panting with mouth open. In these cases, the cat may need extra oxygen. So it will pant for a while until it returns to its normal breathing rhythm.

Stressful situation

In case your cat is subjected to a stressful situation, it may also be that he pants promptly. For example, if he is afraid during a certain situation, for example, when crossing with another animal. Another example is cats panting in car (when he has to get in the car). These are all examples of situations in which the cat may suffer an episode of stress. It is normal and should not alarm you. 

Changes in the environment

Likewise, your cat may react in this way to changes in the environment. This feeling of stress can cause your cat to pant. But, as we said, it must be punctual. At least, it must be evident that the cause is the stress caused by a particular situation. There is a clue to know if the kitten panting is normal. Pay attention to whether it is breathing that gradually returns to calm,

Hot weather

Another of the cases in which a cat can start panting is if it goes outside where it is hot. Here, you may see a cat panting like a dog. Panting would fulfill one of the functions it fulfills in the case of dogs. That is the fact that it prevents their body from getting too hot. 

Thus, panting also helps cats to self-regulate their body temperature. It makes them cool down in situations where they are very hot. For this reason, it is better that the cat does not leave the house on very hot days. 

In any case, we must also take into account what was stated in the previous point. This panting will not be a sign of any anomaly in your cat’s health as long as it is punctual. It ends when your cat’s body temperature drops. Another important thing to keep in mind: on hot days, cats should be able to take cover in the shade. 

Why Is My Cat Panting: When Should I Be Concerned?

The points that we have just seen are not problematic because they are occasional gasps. They pass by themselves when the cat returns to an optimal state of calm. But, on the other hand, there is some pathology that can make cats pant with their mouths open. They may often require a visit to the vet.

Here are some situations when you need to be concerned:

Heart disease

Cat panting heavily is associated with a number of heart problems. For example, a panting kitten could suffer from congenital heart disease.


If your cat is gasping and rapid breathing, hisses with every breath and coughs, he may be suffering from asthma. This respiratory disease is caused by an allergic reaction to a substance that is irritating to the cat. When the cat comes into contact with the allergen, it has an asthma attack. Feline asthma must be treated with corticosteroid or bronchodilator drugs.

Feline heartworm disease

This parasitic disease is treated with corticosteroid therapy, drugs that reduce inflammation. Sometimes if the cat cannot breathe, it may be necessary to resort to oxygen therapy.

Congestive heart failure

Shortness of breath and panting, accompanied by coughing- can happen by the accumulation of fluids in the lungs. Fluids build up when the heart fails to pump blood properly. Treatment consists of draining excess fluids and dilating blood vessels. It allows the heart to contract again normally. To prevent the disease, make sure your cat gets enough Taurine.

Viral or bacterial respiratory infections

 If your cat is infected with a virus or bacterium, you can observe cat huffing and severe breathing difficulties. In the case of bacterial infection, the vet may prescribe antibiotics. Among the natural remedies, steam and humidifiers are very effective. A humid environment at home will help loosen the cat’s mucus, which will help them breathe more quickly.


As in the case of dogs and many animals, hyperthermia can also cause your cat to pant. Hyperthermia occurs when your cat reaches higher body temperatures than usual. For example, as a result of heatstroke. 

In these situations, if your cat is in a humid, very warm, and poorly ventilated environment, it may start panting. These symptoms are an indication that the cat is suffering. The problem with these anomalies is that, if it is not acted on in time, the insolation can increase. Eventually, it can cause great damage to the cat, both at the internal organs and even brain damage.

Feline infectious peritonitis

The FIP is a viral disease that causes the accumulation of fluid in the body. Unfortunately, there is no cure. The efficacy of the vaccine is still under discussion, which is why many vets advise against it. In the case of FIP, the vet can only prescribe glucocorticoids to relieve the symptoms of the virus.

The rupture of a duct of the lymphatic system in the chest

Fluids pouring into the chest can cause breathing difficulties.


Whether it is a kitten that goes outside or not, another reason that your cat is panting is poisoning. In the home and outside, there are several products that are toxic to him. Once ingested, in addition to panting, you will have 

  • Trouble breathing, 
  • Excessive drooling, 
  • Difficulty standing, nausea, and/or seizures. 

In these cases, the animal should be urgently taken to the vet.

Has something in the mouth

For example, they may have problems with their mouth or jaw. For example: When something strange is stuck in their mouth, or if an insect in their mouth has bitten them. When this happens, you will see how your cat eats less. He will keep his mouth open all the time, panting or drooling. He may even have bad breath.


If your cat is panting and/or has an open mouth, it may be caused by anemia. The cat has fewer red blood cells. RBC is responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood, and he must breathe faster and pant to achieve this. In this case, it is important to go to the vet to know how to help him.


Is your cat over 8 years old, and you have noticed that he is panting? It is important to go to the vet to rule out hyperthyroidism. If he suffers from this disease, you will also have noticed that he is losing weight. However, he has not lost his appetite. He eats more but loses weight.

Cats Panting: When to Contact the Vet

The vet should be contacted whenever the cat has breathlessness. There is no cause to justify shortness of breath, such as having just run around the house like a demon. If you notice any other symptoms, such as a cough and open mouth, call your vet or email him. Describe any suspicious signs. He will tell you what to do to ease the breathlessness. He will suggest if the cat needs a visit to his office and other tests. In addition to a physical exam, electrocardiograms, X-rays, blood tests may be needed.

Among the symptoms that should alarm you are:

  • Lethargy;
  • Bluish or purplish gums;
  • Loss of appetite;
  • Noisy breathing;
  • The cat stands or crouches with the knees away from the rest of the body and the head and neck extended;
  • The cat is hiding.

Treatment: What to Do When the Cat Is Panting?

Treatment of panting or gasping depends on the underlying cause. As you have seen, there are tons of diseases that can cause panting in cats. Only the vet will be able to diagnose and prescribe a treatment.

  • If you take your cat to the vet, try to minimize stress. Put it in its carrier. Carrying him in your arms could make it even more difficult for him to breathe.
  • If your cat is sick at home, strictly follow the instructions of the veterinarian. Give him the medications in the doses prescribed by the doctor. Stick to his advice on diet and other precautions to relieve his discomfort.
  • If your cat is anxious or stressed, avoid touching him every second or reassuring him constantly. Act normally so as not to risk agitating him evens more.

Prevention: How to Avoid Such Situations?

As we always recommend, a veterinarian is the one who can give you the best indications. Because he will study your cat and will be able to know exactly what the root of the problem is.

Even so, there are several issues that you can take into account on your part to prevent these problems.

  • If the panting is the result of a scare or specific stress, do not try to force your cat to do anything. If he has hidden, leave him until he calms down. For your part, prevent them from suffering stress by making the fewest possible changes in their day-to-day life. Provide them with peace of mind, affection, and a good diet.
  • Do not allow your cat to be exposed to the sun without the possibility of taking refuge in the shade. Felines love to soak up the sunshine, and it is good for them. But only when they can be in the shade whenever they want. Also, don’t forget to always make fresh water available to them.
  • If you are playing with your cat and notice that it begins to pant, stop the game. Let him calm down a bit. And then, if you want to pick up, do an activity with a little more light.
  • Keep chemicals, toxic plants, and inappropriate foods away from your cat. If even so, your cat is poisoned urgently call a veterinarian because of a malicious person. He will indicate the steps to follow while you transfer him to a clinic. It is absolutely necessary that you be seen by a professional immediately!
  • As for diseases, you should avoid a sedentary lifestyle and feline obesity. Make your cat do some daily exercise and offer him a balanced diet. Other diseases that cause panting will be accompanied by more symptoms. So it is very important that you perceive them and go for a consultation.


In short, Why is my cat panting? In most situations, when you see a cat panting and meowing, it is advisable to stay alert. Watch it for the next several hours. Panting can be an indication that your cat is in pain.

Taking into account the above, panting in cats can be a sign that something is wrong. Or it can be a natural reflection of their body. What is recommended is to use common sense and spend some time observing your cat. Think if there is a very obvious cause of panting. As we have explained above, some of these causes can be exertion, excitement, stress, having been in an environment that is too hot, etc.

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