Why Do Cats pant

I’m sure you’ve witnessed a panting dog at some time, but what about cats?

The first thing to keep in mind is that cats are not little dogs, thus the same actions in a cat vs a dog might signify different things. It’s critical to be aware of some of these variations in order to properly care for your cat and spot medical emergencies.

One of those variations is cat panting, which you should keep an eye out for in your cat. What you need to know about cat panting is provided here.

Panting or Heavy Breathing in Cats

While some instances of cats’ heavy breathing are entirely natural, other instances may indicate a significant medical issue.

If you notice your cat is panting or breathing more heavily than usual, consider some of the factors we’ll discuss below as you make your assessment. Take your cat to the clinic if you see that it is still panting a lot so they can discover the right cause.

What does it mean if my cat is panting like a dog?

Normal breathing patterns for cats should be unlaboured and fluid. Panting is typically a symptom that your cat isn’t feeling well. Only when they are really anxious, excessively heated, or when a disease process is taking place can cats breathe heavily with their jaws open.

Cats may pant to some extent, but it’s crucial to consider context if you suddenly observe panting. If it is feasible to do so without disturbing your cat, examine your cat’s gum color.

If it is a normal pink to light pink color, then you can monitor for a short amount of time. For instance, if your cat was exercising vigorously just before panting, it may be hot or it may be agitated.

If the panting was caused by an anxiety attack that has now passed or physical activity, it should stop within 5 to 15 minutes, on average.

Your cat may not be getting enough oxygen if the color of their gums appears to be a very pale pink (more than normal), white, grey, blue, or purple, or if their breathing is labored (e.g., they seem to have trouble getting air into their lungs). If this is the case, they should be examined by a veterinarian right away.

The rapid onset of labored panting can be caused by a variety of diseases, and since cats are known for delaying the onset of sickness until it is severe, this behavior should never be disregarded.

Senior cats should be identified as being much more likely to be a cause for concern since they are less likely to exercise as kittens and are more susceptible to medical issues.

Older cats are most definitely NOT the only ones who pant; younger cats are also prone to physical conditions and viral infections that can impair breathing.

Heart illness, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleural effusion, cancer, viral diseases, and problems with red blood cells, including damage and blood loss, are a few examples of major medical disorders that can cause respiratory discomfort and panting in cats.

All of these ailments are significant, need veterinary care, and have the potential to quickly become life-threatening.

No of the reason, it’s critical that you visit your neighborhood Greencross Vets right away if your cat is panting. In order to give your pet the greatest chance, call your local veterinarian as soon as you get there. Depending on the severity of the situation, certain instances may need to be referred to an emergency veterinary facility.

Depending on how your cat looks when they examine it, your veterinarian can do a variety of tests to confirm or rule out particular disorders to find out what might be causing the panting.

Blood analysis to check for organ problems and changes in red blood cells, imaging (x-rays and/or ultrasound) to evaluate the heart and lungs, and blood testing to determine the source of your cat’s panting are a few examples of tests your veterinarian may advise.

Give your vet as much information about your cat’s symptoms as you can, and do your best to assist them understand any possible causes of your cat’s panting.

Knowing details like the issue’s beginning (even if it was more modest in the past), how frequently it occurred before being examined, and any other clinical indications noticed at home is very beneficial for the veterinarian.

Why Do Cats Pant?

We list five typical causes of panting in cats, including if they have been playing too hard or anything more serious.

If you have a dog, you are quite familiar with the sound and smell of their labored breathing. When you are going to binge watch another season of your favorite series, they seem to like doing it right next to your face.

Cats, on the other hand, choose to share the scent of their breath with you in a somewhat more… compassionate… manner. Instead of heavy breathing in your face after a vigorous play session, you are more likely to notice their distinctive odor when they lick your hair just before you fall asleep.

While cats don’t continually pant (we’re talking about breathing here, not cat pants, and definitely not cats in trousers!) to control their body temperatures as dogs do, you are more likely to witness your cat panting sometimes.

After enjoying their new cat tower or during a game of pounce and chase, or both, your cat may start breathing more deeply than usual. But when your cat starts to pant heavily without any exercise or all of a sudden, it might be alarming and indicate that a trip to the clinic is necessary.

Normal Panting

We’ll start by discussing typical instances of panting. Cats do occasionally pant, albeit these instances are quite uncommon. Consider what your cat was doing right before you became aware of the labored breathing.

Cats can start panting after a vigorous game of running and leaping. In this instance, the cat is merely exhausted from the effort and needs a time to recover. This is very typical and ought should only last a short duration.

The same as dogs, cats may pant when they’re agitated, worried, or hot. If you think your cat is panting for one of these causes, you should keep an eye on how long it continues before deciding whether or not to take it to the clinic. In cats, panting still happens seldom.

How to help your panting cat

The best thing you can do for your panting cat is to get him out of there.

If they have already started to perspire, stopping the automobile would be helpful (if the movement was what was causing the painting),” Dr. Coppola said. The best advice is to remove them from the automobile environment as soon as you can if nothing else.

It also helps if you use a cat carrier to make your cat feel safe and at ease throughout the automobile trip before he starts panting.

Dr. Coppola noted that sometimes putting a cat in a carrier for the travel would help reduce tension and stop the panting.

The good news is that soothing your cat should stop it from panting because it’s usually a sign of stress in cars.

Portable cat soothing devices, such as calming collars or pheromone sprays, might be used for this.

For $13.99, try this Feliway travel soothing spray from Chewy.

for $7.65, or this Sentry soothing collar from Chewy.

However, if it looks like your cat has been panting for some time, make sure to see your veterinarian.

Dr. Coppola advised immediate consultation with a vet if a cat’s open-mouth breathing did not stop in a short period of time.

Your veterinarian will be able to establish if your cat’s panting is genuinely a sign of a medical problem or whether he simply needs some additional assistance managing his anxiousness.

If you are already aware that your cat feels anxious when riding in a vehicle, Dr. Coppola advised speaking with your DVM about the potential use of medication therapy.

Don’t worry if your cat starts panting while you’re driving. Instead, focus on calming him down. If the panting doesn’t cease, speak with your veterinarian to learn ways to reassure and reassure your BFF.

8 Reasons a Cat Will Pant

Panting is a sign that the cat is putting in a lot of effort to return to normal. According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, author and proprietor of Cat Behavior Associates, a thorough evaluation of the current situation is necessary before choosing the best course of action.

We look at five typical causes of your cat panting, from playing hide and seek with that fantastic Amazon box you forgot to throw away to your cat perhaps hurting a paw after knocking your laptop off your desk.

Respiratory Infection

Cats have trouble breathing when they have respiratory illnesses, which are often viral in origin. Your cat may endure laborious or difficult breathing as a result of this.

Your cat may require antibiotic treatment if a subsequent bacterial illness manifests itself. While your cat is recovering, you can use humidifiers or steam to assist remove the mucus and help your cat breathe more easily.

Play and Exercise

Your feisty cat may begin to pant if they are very animated and enthusiastic. Theresa Entriken, DVM, a veterinary consultant based in Leawood, Kansas, notes that if a dog is excited, playing hard, racing around, and temporarily panting.

Make sure your feline friend has plenty of opportunities for play and enrichment every day to promote both physical and mental well-being. Offer them scratching, kicking, and chasing toys and games, but make sure the pursuits are appropriate for your particular cat.

When they are worn out from exerting themselves, cats may pant. According to Johnson-Bennett, this could happen if a cat parent engages in too vigorous play with the cat.

After a vigorous workout, be sure to give your cat some downtime to recover while keeping an eye on them to make sure they are not overheating.

Congestive Heart Failure

Unfortunately, heart issues in cats and kittens can occur often and go undetected. Your cat could not exhibit any outward indicators until the ailment has worsened and turned into an urgent problem, depending on the exact heart condition.

Fluid buildup around the lungs due to heart failure can reduce lung capacity and limit oxygen levels. Congestive heart failure might be indicated by panting, fast breathing, and blue-tinged or pale gums.

You should seek immediate veterinary treatment or contact your veterinarian since this might soon turn into a serious scenario.


The illness known as asthma can cause cats to cough, wheeze, or pant. The higher respiratory rate you see in your cat may possibly be caused by it. Similar to asthmatic people, cats with similar symptoms are frequently treated with drugs like bronchodilators or corticosteroids.


A cat becomes heated from all the pouncing, chasing, clawing, and leaping they perform. Additionally, they are susceptible to overheating after being active for a prolonged amount of time (their body temperature becomes elevated). If so, your cat might need to locate a cool location on the kitchen floor and may even sploot (adorable!).

According to Entriken, cats will stretch out on cold surfaces to expose more of their body surface in order to release heat and cool down. They will also lick their fur, drink water, hang out in shaded areas, and hang out in shady regions.

Just like us, our feline friends are prone to overheating, heatstroke, dehydration, or heat exhaustion—especially when it’s hot, muggy, or exceptionally heated outside.

Stress Or Trauma

Stress and emotional trauma cause distinct reactions in all cats and kittens. Symptoms include running away, trembling, restroom mishaps, vocalizing, and panting.

These symptoms will go away if the trauma’s trigger is eliminated or you are successful in soothing your cat or kitten, depending on what it was that caused the trauma. They could require particular care if they were neglected or come from an abusive environment in order to get over their traumatic experience.


Your cat may experience respiratory difficulties as a result of heartworm. Regular checks are crucial for your cat since the condition itself can be deadly if not properly managed.

A monthly preventative medicine can also be given to a cat in order to stop the condition from developing in the first place. There are, however, treatments available if your cat has already received a diagnosis of the illness.

Typically, corticosteroids are used in supportive treatment for this condition to assist decrease inflammation. Your cat could require oxygen treatment in more serious situations.


When a cat is in pain, it’s probable that it will act in ways that appear unusual or out of character. A cat may vocalize, change in mood, stop eating, hide, persistently lick a certain region of their body, or pant with their mouth open as indications that they are in discomfort and need to be examined by a veterinarian.

According to Johnson-Bennett, the discomfort may be brought on by a recent accident or an underlying medical issue. Cats don’t always let us know where they are in pain, and it can be challenging to identify the source of pain, particularly if your cat is highly active. But regardless of the cause, intervene if you believe your cat may be in discomfort.

What To Do If Your Cat Is Panting

Your cat may be panting if it has been playing or racing about. Your cat or kitten’s respiration should return to normal after giving them some time to relax.

Take them to a cooler location and give them lots of water if they are overheated as a result of being outside or in a warm environment. When they have calmed down and relaxed, they should cease panting.

Your cat may be anxious and afraid as a result of a trauma-related trigger. Be aware of potential triggers and try to eliminate them. People, dogs, and other animals are frequent triggers, as well as loud noises.

Call your veterinarian right away if any of the other symptoms mentioned above also appear along with the panting. Depending on how severe the other symptoms are, they may tell you to visit your local emergency veterinarian facility or plan an appointment for you.

What Should You Do If Your Cat Is Panting in a Car?

If your cat is panting, get them out of the car as quickly as you can. Get your cat to the clinic as soon as you can if they are drooling excessively or look weak.

The most crucial thing you can do to assist your cat if they become worried in the automobile is to maintain their composure and work to lessen their tension.

Frequently, a cat will only travel in a car to the veterinarian. In order to help your cat settle down fast if it is panting and straining, phone your vet while you are on the way and ask them to assist you in finding a quiet area as soon as possible.

The best approach to keep your cat secure and comfortable is to prepare ahead of time. Before a vehicle travel, some cats respond well to pheromone sprays, natural relaxing treats, or pharmaceutical calming drugs.

Before putting your cat and their carrier in the car, open the windows or turn on the air conditioning. To ensure that the cat feels some cooling breeze, place the front of the carrier next to the air conditioning vents.