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Why Is My Cat Panting?


While most of us are surely used to the image of a dog panting, it’s one we don’t readily associate with cats. That’s because our kitties usually keep cool by licking their fur and sweating from the pads of their paws. Seeing your cat huffing and puffing, mouth open, might raise an alarm in your head, but don’t panic just yet! If your cat is panting, there are a few possible culprits.

While cat panting can be a bit scary, there are a few causes that are mostly non-threatening. Do keep in mind that panting for an excessive period of time is always cause for some alarm or at least attention. If you have any reason to be alarmed or concerned, call your cat vet! It’s always better to be safe, and a vet can determine if a visit is necessary.

If you need to schedule an appointment for a cat examination in Frederick County, MD, contact Village Vet of Urbana today.

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Non-Health or Life-Threatening Causes

While it’s certainly not as common for your feline friend to be panting, there are two non-health or life-threatening causes:

  • Overheating. Don’t be too quick to discount the possibility that your cat is just hot. Even though they don’t do it as often as dogs, cats also pant to keep cool when grooming and sweating from their paws aren’t enough. Ensure they have a cool, dry place to rest. An ice cube can also provide some measure of relief. The cube can be added to the water bowl, given to them for play, or rubbed lightly on fur (be sure to dry them afterward!).
  • Stress. Stress can be threatening if the cat remains stressed for too long, so be wary of the time frame. For many pets, the stress may come from a car ride or coming to a new place. The panting should subside when the ride is over or when they’re returned somewhere safe that they are familiar with.

Dangerous Disorders & Maladies Causing Cat Panting

There are a number of disorders and maladies that can cause panting in cats. These include:

  • Heartworms
  • Low blood oxygen levels
  • Hydrothorax (fluid in the lungs)
  • Fever
  • Infection
  • Respiratory complications
  • And others

Unfortunately, these are quite hard to determine on your own since most of these don’t display any outward symptoms aside from panting, listlessness, or panic. However, there are ways to determine when you need to call a vet.

If you think your cat may be at risk, contact Village Vet of Urbana for cat vet services in Frederick County, MD.

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Assessing the Threat

  • Your cat’s breathing becomes shallow, or the panting is loud, raspy, or very rapid.
  • Your cat is exhausted, tired, and has lost their appetite.
  • Your cat pants frequently on and off.
  • Your cat is hiding. (This is often a sign of distress.)
  • Your cat has discolored gums.

Any of the above are indications of a more serious issue, which should be addressed immediately.

Cat Respiratory & Heart Health With Village Vet of Urbana

At Village Vet of Urbana, we never want you or your cat to deal with stress or fear, so never hesitate to call us right away. We can put your cat on oxygen to calm them and assess the issue from there.

For cat vet care in Frederick County, MD, call (301) 228-0681. Emergency calls are welcome during business hours.

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Frederick County’s

Most Trusted Animal Hospital

Adamstown | Ballenger Creek |
Brunswick | Frederick | Green Valley |
Hyattstown | Mt. Airy | New Market

Learn More