Why Do Cats Pant? We Have the Answer…

Panting White Cat on Carpet

If you have an active cat chances are you have seen him pant a time or two.

Is panting a natural behavior in cats? Should you be worried by your cat’s panting? What are the common causes?

These are all questions you likely want to know the answer to and today you will find out all the answers and more.

For the average cat the most common time for panting to occur is after strenuous activity. If you have ever seen the TV show “My Cat From Hell” you have likely seen Jackson Galaxy exercising cats until they have reached a point of exhaustion and they begin panting.

In this instance, panting signifies something good, that your cat has had fun and is now tired. All of our cats could benefit from more exercise and this type of panting.

Another common time panting can occur is when a cat is experiencing severe anxiety or stress.
You may notice it on the car ride to the vet, after a loud party at your house, or a night of fireworks. Depending on the sensitivity of your cat you may see this behavior a little more or a little less.

When you notice your cat panting in fear or distress it’s best to remove them from the situation and get them somewhere they feel safe.

Vet visits are important trips, so you may not always be able to get your cat somewhere calm, but do your best.

White Cat Panting

If your cat is neither stressed, nor tired from playing, panting is a serious matter.

Cat’s don’t generally pant in the same way dogs do, so if your kitty is just laying on the couch panting it’s likely an indication of a medical condition.

Get your kitty into the vet as soon as you can so that your vet can give your kitty a wellness exam.

It’s likely that when you get to the vet they will want to do some diagnostics. A full blood work panel that will check your kitties organ functions and thyroid levels will be a great base for getting started.

If your cat’s blood work comes back perfect you will still benefit from knowing what her normal values are so that when she gets sick in the future you have something to compare it to.

Your vet will likely also want to test your kitty for diseases like FIV, Feline Leukemia, and heartworms.

While heartworms are rare in cats, they can sometimes become infected with them, and a large infestation could lead to pulmonary distress and panting.

FELV Positive Cat

Radiographs are another diagnostic test your vet may want to perform on your kitty.

Growths in the nasal cavities and lungs can cause panting and should be visible in radiographs. A radiograph of the stomach may also be helpful as well, as severe stomach pain could cause panting.

If none of these tests reveal the cause of your cat’s panting, your vet may recommend you visit a specialist to have an ultrasound done of the heart and the abdomen.

Though radiographs can usually pick up tumors, they can’t always detect fluids in the lungs or surrounding areas.

While your vet is working to determine the cause of your kitties panting, he may want to begin treatment for the other symptoms.

If your cat has been panting for a very long time, it’s likely she also hasn’t be drinking or eating much.

Your vet may want to start your cat on fluids, antibiotics, or even give her a blood transfusion depending on what the results of the diagnostic tests have been and what he feels is wrong with her.

Don’t worry if you aren’t able to get an immediate diagnosis, your vet will work with you to figure out exactly what is ailing your kitty!

Cat Whiskers Up Close

Cats are mysterious creatures and there is a ton we still don’t know about their behavior and their health.

Until we have them completely figured out we must do our best to make sure they are eating the right foods, getting enough exercise, and getting all the love and attention they need.

If you aren’t a cat owner yet, but are considering getting one or if you have a kitty but want more information be sure to check out these other articles on nutrition, declawing, and training.


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