in cats, normal breathing rhythm should be smooth and unlaboured. Panting is usually a sign that something isn’t right with your cat. Cats only breathe hard with their mouths open when they are very stressed, extremely hot, or a disease process is occurring.
Why does my cat breathe quickly?
For you to know when your cat is breathing fast it’s helpful to recognise the normal cat breathing rate. A healthy cat will take between 20 and 30 breaths per minute. And this is known as the cat respiratory rate.
You can take your cat’s heart rate by feeling over the left side, just behind the front leg. Use a stopwatch or your Smartphone to time the number of beats in 15 seconds. Then times by 4 to get the beats per minute. A normal heart rate is between 140 and 220 beats per minute.
To take the respiratory rate count the number of chest movements in 60 seconds. Or do 15 seconds and multiply by four as before. A relaxed cat will measure on the lower end of the scale.
Rapid breathing in cats indicates that your cat is unable to get enough oxygen into the lungs. The breath rate increases and may become shallow. This can become serious and sometimes fatal. Your cat is breathing fast? Probable reasons and warning signs are listed here…
A cat breathing fast with rapid and shallow actions could be related to serious medical conditions. The key signs to look for are:
- Loss of appetite
- Blue gums
- Lack of energy
- Cat breathing fast when sleeping
- Quick, shallow breaths
When your cats breathing fast and not eating this is a possible sign of dyspnea. This is respiratory distress that may result in your cat panting. Difficulty in breathing may cause:
- Cat noisy breathing
- Nostrils to flare
- Open mouth
- Extended neck and head held low
- Abdomen and chest movements
Panting My Cat
Cats will pant in extreme circumstances and you need to look for:
- Shallow breaths
- An open mouth
- Cat fast breathing
Reasons for Rapid Breathing in cats
My cat is breathing fast is a common statement. And there’s a range of potential causes including:
- Pulmonary oedema
- Respiratory infections
- Shock or stress
- Tumours in throat or chest
- Allergic reaction
- Foreign objects
Determining the Cause
Remember that purring can indicate distress as well as happiness. Your cat breathing fast and purring could mean asthma or cardiac disease. Your vet will need to know a thorough history and if your cat is breathing fast but otherwise normal.
It’s important that you inform your vet whether your cat is allowed outdoors. This could help diagnose trauma, injury due to a fall or fight, and other causes of pain. And try to provide times when symptoms started and when they seemed better or worse.
Dr. Hanen Abdel Rahman