Why Do Cats Pant? Common Health Issues

Cats are amazing pets. They’re cute, cuddly, and they can be trained to do tricks! They are also a great company to children because of their playful nature. But there is one question that has perplexed cat owners for years – why do cats pant? It turns out that it’s not just because of the heat or a lack of water. There are many reasons cats might pant, and some of them have nothing to do with being hot or thirsty at all! Let’s find out!

Why do cats pant? Cats are among the animals that pant due to various reasons. They could be anxious, stressed, overheated, or may have done a strenuous activity. However, this is something that happens for a short time and resolves immediately they have a rest. Panting is not so common in cats as it is in dogs. It could also be due to medical conditions. If your cat is panting abnormally, it’s important to pay a visit to the vet.

How does cat panting sound and look like?

Cats pant, but it is quite different from the way dogs do. Most cats have their mouth open while their tongue is partially out. Your cat will mostly pant while laying down. Cats can as well pant while standing because they are alert due to something stressing them out.

Can panting be normal in cats?

Yes. Panting of a cat can be normal sometimes and not a reason to raise the alarm if you know your cat’s activity before that. It can also be normal if the cat is stressed, overheated, had a strenuous activity, or anxious. In normal panting, a cat can go back to normal once it keeps calm.

What are the signs of abnormal panting in cats?

Panting cannot always be normal, especially what caused it is not caused by stress, vigorous activity, or anxiety. Sometimes it might be a sign of concern due to an underlying medical condition. 

There are chronic respiratory diseases like the bronchial disease that could cause abnormal panting of your cat. Other issues could be congenital heart disease or something else. Consulting your veterinary when your pet is panting without any visible cause would be a great thing. In most cases, panting in young kittens could be a sign of congenital heart disease.

Common Health issues that could lead to abnormal cat panting

Here are some medical conditions that can cause your cat to experience abnormal panting.


Heartworm is a small thread-like worm that infests animals’ hearts, and it’s common in dogs. The heart of a cat can also be affected by heartworm. This results in difficulties in breathing which causes the cat to pant.

 If your suspect that your cat might be having heartworm, take it to the vet for treatment. It can be treated by oxygen therapy if the case is critical or supportive of corticosteroids to minimize inflammation.


Cats with asthma can cough, pant, or produce a wheezing sound. It occurs when your cat inhales particles that increase allergic reactions. Cats with asthma should be monitored closely and treated quickly when symptoms arise. 

You can keep an eye and observe what signs of an attack are on your cat to get medical attention right away. Keep track of how often they have attacks and report any changes to their vet as soon as possible!

Treatment for asthma in cats often involves medications called corticosteroids or bronchodilators. If your cat has asthma, talk to your veterinarian about the best treatment options for them. 

Congestive heart failure

Cats are often diagnosed with congestive heart failure when they show symptoms such as coughing, breathing difficulties, and weight loss. Congestive heart failure in cats is a common ailment that your veterinarian can treat. 

Treatment options include medication to control the cat’s blood pressure, diuretics to remove excess fluid from the body, and antibiotics for infections. If you suspect your cat has congestive heart failure or any other medical condition, it’s important to contact your vet right away so they can diagnose and treat them properly!

Respiratory infection

Respiratory infection is caused by either a virus or bacteria and can be treated with antibiotics if the secondary bacterial infection develops. Humidifiers and steam can help loosen mucus and make nasal breathing easier.

 If your cat has a respiratory infection, it’s important to take it to a veterinarian for treatment as soon as possible.


When pain or trauma in cats is severe, it can cause them to pant. It’s crucial to know the source of the pain so that you can help it recover.


An illness in your cat could be the underlying cause of anemia which might cause them to pant. Due to little blood in their body, they may not get enough oxygen in their tissues. If not treated, it can lead to sudden death. 

A vet will help you deal with the underlying cause of anemia in your cat. Once it fully recovers, there will be no abnormal panting.

When should you be worried about the panting of your cat?

Panting is less of a cause for concern if it happens following a lot of physical activity. However, if your cat is panting heavily or other symptoms accompany the panting, it can indicate a more serious underlying health concern. 

Contact your veterinarian when you notice any of the following symptoms:   

  • Panting accompanied by rapid breathing or wheezing
  • Loss of appetite or lethargy
  • Rapid, raspy, or loud panting
  • Panting for a while, stopping, then starting to pant again
  • Shallow breathing of the cat
  • Aggression or hiding
  • Pale gums

What can you do when your cat is panting?

Sometimes you can save the situation when you notice your cat is panting. Here is what to do.

Understand why your cat is panting

This is the first crucial thing that will help you know the next step. It could have just been running or jumping around and needs a rest. If your cat is hot and panting in a car, it could be stressed for not being used to being in the car. The temperature then goes up, causing it to overheat and become hot.

For this reason, try to find a way of cooling it down. Below are ways to cool down a cat that is panting due to overheating.

  • Move it in a cooler location. You can move to a cooler location if your cat was outside the sun.
  • Cool it down with water. Give your cat some water to cool down. Even though cats don’t like drinking water, please give it some, and the little you give will cool it down.
  • If it fails to drink, soak some cold water on a towel and apply it to the cat’s paws, neck, and ears. You can also wet its head slightly.
  • If you were having an adventure in a hot place and the cat starts panting, it’s high time to start going back home.
  • You can as well cool your car if it is very hot and why your cat is panting. Open the windows for air to vent in. When it starts cooling down, shut the windows, then start recirculating the air to keep your car cool.

Besides hot temperatures, your cat could also be stressed due to an external factor. Try to understand what is stressing it. 

It could be running water, an animal, an insect, or something else. Try your best to remove it from the thing that is causing it to be stressed. Please put it in our area it’s going to be comfortable.

If your cat continues panting despite all yoru efforts to keep it calm for a long time, rush to a vet because it might eb another underlying condition.

What are other treatments for a panting cat?

When you communicate with your vet about your cat’s symptom that is leading to extreme panting, he or she will begin the diagnosing process. With the symptoms you observe, your vet will perform some tests to find out the underlying issue.

Below are some possible treatments your cat may get:

Heartworm medication_ This is when your cat pants and the vet confirms that it has heartworm.

Asthma inhalers: If your cat is panting due to asthma, you will be given inhalers to control the issue.

A therapy plan: Your cat may be traumatized, and the best treatment for this is a therapy plan

Surgery: Like human beings, cats with heart conditions that cause them to pant can undergo surgery.


Panting in cats can only be treated depending on what causes it. That’s why the treatments vary. It’s always crucial to observe your cat when it’s panting. As we mentioned earlier, normal panting in cats can only occur for a short time because of an activity or stress due to external factors. However, continuous panting for a prolonged period could be a dangerous sign. If this happens, get in touch with your vet immediately before the situation gets worse.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary care. Always talk to your veterinarian about questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition. Do not delay seeking professional veterinary advice because of something read on the internet.