Why is My Cat Panting?


Cats are admired for their courtesy and elegance, so it can be extremely unsettling to see your companion cat panting. Panting in cats is not as normal as it is in dogs, and it can be an indication of a medical issue. Understanding why your cat is panting is crucial for their well-being. In this article, we will explore the potential reasons behind a panting cat and what you should do about it.

cat panting


Below are the possible reasons why your cat is panting:

Overexertion or Heat Stress

One possible reason for your cat’s panting is overexertion or heat stress. Cats, especially those with long fur or in warmer climates, have trouble maintaining their body temperature. If your cat has been playing actively or exposed to a warm environment, gasping may be their way of cooling down. Assure that your cat has access to clean water and a refreshing, shady area to rest. If the panting lasts for a longer time or coincides with other symptoms consult your veterinarian asap.

Stress or Anxiety

Due to cats’ tactful nature, they can pant when under tension and anxiety. Situations like moving to a new home, raucous sounds, or disruptions can trigger anxiety in cats. If your cat pants during these conditions, it may indicate their distress. Creating a secure and tranquil atmosphere, offering hiding spots, and using pheromone diffusers can help reduce their nervousness.

To minimize your pet’s stress, create a peaceful atmosphere before going to the vet, and consider using relaxing remedies suggested by your veterinarian. Gradual exposure to new animals can also help reduce their stress levels.

Respiratory Issues

Sometimes panting can be a sign of root respiratory issues. Conditions like asthma, pneumonia, or heart disease can cause difficulty in breathing, leading to panting. It is necessary to get emergency veterinary care if your cat is whooping, wheezing, or opened-mouth breathing. These respiratory issues require professional diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Feline Hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism, a common hormonal condition in senior cats, can lead to panting. Cats with an overactive thyroid may display symptoms such as weight reduction, increased hunger, and restlessness. If you notice these signs, schedule a visit to your veterinarian for a comprehensive evaluation. Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis and appropriate treatment options can be explored.


Obesity is a prevailing issue among domestic cats and can contribute to panting. Corpulent weight puts a strain on cats’ respiratory systems, making it difficult for them to breathe efficiently. Talk with your veterinarian about a weight management strategy. Adopting a balanced diet and engaging in physical activity can help your cat drop those extra pounds and improve their overall health.

Medications or Anesthesia

Certain medications or anesthesia can cause temporary panting in cats. If your cat recently underwent surgery or started a new medication regimen, panting may be a side effect. However, it’s essential to discuss these concerns with your veterinarian to ensure that it is not a sign of an adverse reaction or complication.

Heart Problems

Heart disease can affect cats, and panting may be a symptom of an underlying cardiovascular issue. If your cat pants during rest or appears lethargic, has a decreased appetite, or experiences weight loss, it could indicate a heart problem. Early detection and proper treatment are vital for managing cardiac conditions in cats, so seeking veterinary advice is essential.

How Long Does Cat Panting Last?

Normal Panting

In normal conditions, cats may pant for a brief period, such as a few minutes, after engaging in vigorous physical activity or experiencing an abrupt increase in body temperature due to external conditions like heat. Once they cool down or their activity level decreases, the panting should subside within a relatively short time.

Abnormal Panting

Abnormal or excessive panting in cats is generally a cause for concern and may last for an extended period.


The specific treatment and diagnosis will depend on the suspected cause:

Physical Examination

The veterinarian will go through a complete medical examination of the cat, including monitoring heart pulse and respiration rate, checking for any anomalies, and gauging overall health.

Medical History

The vet will collect information about the cat’s previous medical history, including former illnesses, medications, recent changes in behavior or environment, and any other pertinent details that could aid in the diagnosis.

Diagnostic Tests

Depending on the cat’s symptoms and the vet’s findings during the examination, additional diagnostic tests may be recommended. These may include:

Blood Tests

Bloodwork can provide valuable information about the cat’s overall health, organ function, and detect any abnormalities such as anemia or thyroid disorders.

X-rays or Radiographs

These imaging techniques can help assess the condition of the lungs, heart, and chest cavity, providing information about potential respiratory or cardiac issues.


An ultrasound examination can give a more thorough assessment of the heart, lungs, and other internal organs, assisting to detect any abnormalities or diseases.


Once a diagnosis is made, the veterinarian will develop an appropriate therapy plan based on the underlying cause. Treatment options can vary widely depending on the specific condition. They are listed below:


The doctor may prescribe medications such as bronchodilators for asthma, antibiotics for respiratory infections, or medications to manage heart conditions.

Lifestyle Changes

In some cases, lifestyle adjustments may be necessary. This can include reducing stress, providing a calm environment, managing weight through diet and exercise, or avoiding triggers that exacerbate panting.

Surgical Intervention

In certain instances, surgery may be required, such as in cases of airway obstructions or tumor removal.

Contact Orlando Vets if You’re Concerned About Your Cat Panting

Panting in cats should not be ignored or dismissed as normal behavior. It is essential to pay attention to your cat’s overall health and behavior to identify the underlying cause of panting. While some cases may be harmless and temporary, others may require medical intervention. When in doubt, always consult with your veterinarian, who can provide the best advice and care for your feline friend. Remember, your cat’s well-being is of utmost importance, and timely attention can make all the difference to its health and happiness. For more information, or if you would like to speak to a veterinarian, contact Orlando Vets by calling one of our locations. We will get to the cause of your cat’s panting and come up with the best plan moving forward.

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