Why Cat Breathing Heavy?

Heavy breathing is not normal for cats, and it could be a sign of a health problem. Today, our Memphis vets discuss why your cat might be breathing heavily or panting and what you can do.

Cats Take Deep Breaths

Do you notice that your cat is breathing hard or has its mouth open? It could be a sign of a severe health problem that needs to be looked at right away by a vet.

If your cat is breathing hard or panting, follow the following guidelines to determine what’s wrong. If you are worried about your cat’s breathing or showing other symptoms, it is best to be safe and take your cat to the vet immediately for emergency care.

It’s normal for cats to pant.

There are times when it’s normal for cats to breathe out. Think about what your furry friend was doing or feeling right before you found them panting.

Like dogs, cats can pant when nervous, too hot, or after a hard workout. If your cat is panting because of one of these things, the problem should go away after your cat has had a chance to cool down, relax, or rest.

But it’s important to note that cats rarely pant like this as often as dogs do. So, if you’re not sure why your cat might be panting, we suggest you call your vet.

Why do cats breathe so heavily?


When a cat has asthma, the most common signs are panting, coughing, wheezing, and a faster breathing rate. Even though asthma in cats may not be curable, it can be well controlled with corticosteroids or bronchodilators.


Heartworms are another thing that could make it hard for cats to breathe. Supportive care with corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and oxygen therapy for more severe cases are ways to treat heartworm. Heavy breathing is not a normal thing for cats. Heartworm disease can kill, so it’s essential to give your cat a heartworm preventative every month.

Read More: Pneumonia in Cats – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Congestive Heart Failure and Hydrothorax

Hydrothorax is a condition in which fluid builds up in and around the lungs. Deep, rapid breathing, panting, and coughing could be signs of this condition. This condition can be treated by draining the fluid and taking medicines that widen blood vessels, eliminate extra fluid, and make the heart beat harder.

Infections of the lungs

If your cat has an infection in its lungs, it might be hard for them to breathe normally. When cats have respiratory illnesses, they may pant or have trouble breathing. Most of the time, these cat infections start as viral infections, but they often turn into bacterial infections. Your cat might need antibiotics to treat their condition so it can breathe better. As your cat gets better, humidifiers and steam can help loosen mucus and make breathing through her nose easier.

Something Else

Cats can also pant or breathe heavily if they have anemia, a neurological disorder, a wound, an enlarged abdomen, or pain.