Have you ever witnessed your cat panting? If so you might be left wondering what causes them to do this.
In this guide, you’ll find what you really need to know about cats and their panting behavior. You’ll also find out what could be the cause of your cat panting and if it’s something to be worried about.
For dog owners, seeing their pups pant is completely normal. We rarely associate panting with cats since this isn’t a trait commonly shown by felines.
When you see your cat panting, you might wonder if it’s normal or not. It may seem strange, especially for new cat owners. But rest assured this is a perfectly normal behavior depending on the circumstances.
Dogs pant to cool down but cats usually cool down by sweating from the pads of their paws or by licking their fur.
When your cat pants, it’s usually nothing to worry about, just like your cat can get the hiccups, they can also pant. At times, your cat might pant after some serious play or strenuous exercise.
A cat may also pant during stressful events such as car rides or visits to the veterinarian. Their panting should stop once they have had time to settle and calm down.
Some cats will pant if they are pregnant and close to giving birth as they are in some discomfort.
While rare, panting in cats is normal if it experiences overheating, anxiety, physical exhaustion, and stress.
Panting should subside when you’ve returned them to a place they’re familiar with or they no longer feel stressed.
For instance, switching vets may be stress-inducing to cats. Not only would they need to travel by car with their owner, but they’d also be in an unfamiliar place.
External stimuli may also trigger anxiety and stress for your pet. High-frequency sounds like whistling tea kettles can cause anxiety.
Thunderstorms and fireworks will commonly make a cat panic and sometimes pant. Sometimes, even other animals may cause stress to your cat.
Strong aromas such as citrus and peppermint, while pleasant to us humans, can also stress out felines given that their sense of smell is 14 times stronger than ours.
Always pay attention to how long your cat pants. If your pet pants quite infrequently, say, only a few minutes then you probably have nothing to worry about.
Certain cat breeds are known to pant longer than others. These include long-haired breeds such as Himalayans, Persians, Maine Coon, and the like.
Again, if it’s transient and simply goes away on its own, there is little to be concerned about.
If the pet remains stressed for too long, it might likewise take longer for them to compose themselves. Inconsistent huffing and puffing in cats are completely normal under stress.
Transient, inconsistent panting is not at all unhealthy for your cat. Similar to other animals like dogs, panting is a natural way for the cat to adapt its bodily functions to its physical environment.
If your cat pants for an excessive period, it may be a cause for concern or at least some attention. Anything persistent is something to be worried about.
If your cat is exposed to heat, strong smells, high-frequency sounds, and other external stimuli, make sure to move the cat away from the stimuli.
If the cat is showing stress, make sure to bring it back to a place it’s familiar with.
Should your pet continue to pant over a long duration of time, and should they exhibit excessive sleepiness, lack of appetite, or anything else that is off, then maybe it’s time to call or go to the nearest vet to have them checked.
Panting always accompanies some explanatory behavior. Naturally, felines would need to cool down after a rousing round of play outside or in a hot place.
Panting is a way for the cat’s body to adjust to physical changes. In other words, the cat may just be huffing and puffing to restore their breath.
Thus, a cat panting after exercise is completely normal, although not commonly exhibited by cats especially by older ones.
Young kittens, on the other hand, show more exertional panting. They would chase small objects or simply run around like crazy, making them plant for a short period.
If your cat pants over long periods of time, make sure to pay attention to the cat’s behavior and the external stimuli that surround it.
If you think they’re panting because of the heat, move your pet to a cooler location when it is too hot outdoors.
Signs of heat related stress are, bright red tongue or gums, vomiting, or lethargy are only a few indications that your cat is suffering from heat stress.
If your cat isn’t stressed, tired from strenuous exercise, or too warm, panting may signal an underlying and more serious medical issue. Panting may only be the first sign.
A variety of cat ailments from asthma to pleural effusion, among others, may be signaled by consistent and excessive panting. The most common ailments are the following:
- Anemia: If your pet is not getting enough oxygen to their tissues, then they might be suffering from severe anemia, leading them to pant to catch a breath.
- Asthma: This one is quite common in cats. There may be different causes for different cases, but experts concur that cat asthma would be triggered by allergens and irritants that force the immune system to respond excessively. This includes panting.
- Congestive heart failure (CHF): This means the heart can no longer supply the oxygen demands of the cat’s tissues. CHF can lead to panting. Note that this is a serious situation as fluids may collect in the feline’s lungs.
- Heartworm disease: Heartworm parasites will cause inflammation in the respiratory tract, making the cat pant.
- Upper respiratory infection (URI): A clogged up nose, severely infecting upper respiratory functions, may cause cats to pant.
Generally, panting is quite normal for cats. Panting is a natural way for them to adjust to stress, anxiety, heat, and other physical stimuli. It is even common for energetic kittens after vigorous play.
However, if your cat’s panting doesn’t subside over a long period of time, something else may be going on. Labored breathing may be a symptom of cat ailments that need veterinary attention.
Why is my cat panting with her mouth open?
Cats, like other animals, pant to catch up on breath and keep cool. An open mouth enables the cat to release more heat each time she exhales through her mouth.
As blood flows through the feline’s mouth, the inflow of air cools the blood. This helps your pet restore oxygen in its body.
How can I calm my cat from panting?
When your cat is panting, stay calm, offer her some water. Make sure that she is in a relaxing, cool place for her to restore breath.
Is cat panting dangerous?
Cat panting helps felines adapt to bodily and environmental changes. Inconsistent and transient panting is not at all an issue.
However, prolonged and unexplained panting may signal some cat ailments that deserve a pet owner’s attention.
These ailments include heart problems, respiratory issues, and parasitic presence. Go to a vet immediately to make sure that your pet is safe from any of these ailments.