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Why Do Cats Pant? Is It Normal, Or Should You Be Worried?

Why Do Cats Pant? Is It Normal, Or Should You Be Worried?

It is rare to see your cat pant but is not unusual, so it’s not something we need to worry about a lot. Sometimes our cats get very heated up, which causes them to pant a little bit. Just like us when we get tired or feel exhausted.

Most cats pant when they are in an overly hot environment or when they are stressed or anxious. Cats, unlike dogs, do not pant all the time, so it is unusual to see them do so. When this happens, simply take him to a place where he feels safe and fresh, and the panting will stop.

It is typical for your dog to pant from time to time, if not all of the time, because their skin texture causes them to be overheated more frequently. On the other hand, Cats are more relaxed and hardly pant, which can be unsettling for us. In this article, we’ll look at the most common reasons why your cat does this and when to worry.

Is It Normal For My Cat To Be Panting?

The short answer is: it is normal, but it depends. As human beings, we tend to pant or suffocate when we run long miles or when we feel anxious. Cats are no different because they also feel exhausted or dehydrated when exposed to an environment of high heat or high tension.

Usually, the breathing of a cat is smooth and relaxed. Therefore when we see them panting, we get worried and wonder if there’s something wrong with their health or if something is bothering them, which might be the cause. Cats will pant when they feel stressed, overheated, or if they feel sick. Another important reason that felines pant is when they feel very anxious.


Reason For Cat Anxiety

There are several reasons why your cat may feel anxiety or change its normal behavior. It often starts slowly, caused by an object, an unpleasant sound, an unusual event, or a change in diet. Cats are creatures of habit, so when something around them changes, they will not like it and will get stressed, irritated, or anxious.

We need to be on a high alert when our pet’s behavior changes so we can identify it on time and be able to act on it with the correct techniques that will keep them calm or prevent them from panting. If you are going on a trip by driving and taking your cat, remember to take some water with you and put your A/C on since they tend to get overheated.

If your cat does this while you’re at home, start looking for a possible event that has happened recently that could cause them to act differently. Sometimes a loud sound will make them feel uncomfortable. Cats are also very intuitive, so if someone is visiting that they don’t like immediately, their behavior will change drastically, from constantly meowing to panting.

Also, if you spend a lot of time with your pet, they will feel some of your emotions. It might sound cliche, but whenever you feel anxious or sad, your cat will feel it too. If you have adopted a cat, and he starts to show signs of anxiety, try to look up the history of the cat and make the new space familiar to them.

Separation Anxiety

Cats could suffer from separation anxiety, which makes them constantly pant, be more aggressive around others, and defecate outside their litter box or hyperventilate. Some of the reasons your cat might have separation anxiety are if they are not used to being alone for long periods of time, and they have grown up in an indoor environment.

Mostly female cats tend to feel this type of anxiety, so if you are thinking of going away for too long trying to have someone to watch them or bring a new pet. A new pet will make them feel calmer while you are gone and could also prevent them from being depressed and unmotivated. Which are two of the main reasons they pant.

Depending on the signs and symptoms your cat starts developing, you will instantly know if there’s something wrong with them. But if everything seems to be expected, the environment hasn’t changed, the food is the same, the temperature is not too hot, and they keep panting, you should probably take them to the vet for a diagnosis.

Main Reasons Why Your Cat Could Pant


They have been playing too much: It is normal for them to pant after playing for a long time and feeling suffocated. It is important to give your cat a lot of time to play and exercise because this could be very helpful for their health, so after you do this, make sure to give them a big bowl of fresh water, and they will immediately start to calm down.

Overheated environment

Cats’ fur is much lighter than that of dogs, but if they are exposed to excessive heat or insufficient ventilation, they will pant or feel suffocated, especially if it’s hot or warm outside.


Like us, animals are not left out of the feeling of stress. We might show fatigue or pain whenever we feel stress, and cats do with their bodies. Body language is an important element when we are looking for a sign of discomfort for our cats. So if they feel like the environment is uncomfortable, they will open the mouth and stiffen the tongue outside, which is panting.

When this happens, give some freedom to your cat, letting them play with their favorite toy, use their scratcher or separate from any unwanted interactions they might be receiving at that moment and place them in a more suitable place for their needs. After doing that, you’ll see how he will calm down and take some rest.


Another important thing that could cause panting in your cat is pain. There are different signs your cat can give you whenever they are feeling pain, such as not eating, licking a part of their body repeatedly, panting, or a drastic change in their mood. When this happens, take them to the vet immediately to find out what is going on with your kitty.

Medical Conditions

If your cat suffers from a respiratory condition like asthma, they will constantly be panting, coughing and their nose may water down from time to time. Make sure to get them the medication necessary to keep your cat healthy and maintain their well-being.

Aside from asthma, your cat could also present a respiratory infection resulting in heavy breathing and panting. If this happens, look for cat humidifiers, and the steam that will come out of them will clear their nose area, lose the mucus, and open the nasal area to make them breathe better.

Other conditions should be:

  • Trauma
  • Eating disorder
  • Neurologic disorders
  • Calorie-dense foods
  • Abdominal pain.

When Should I Be Worried?


If your cat is panting nonstop and you’ve tried everything: changing the water, changing the temperature room, or trying to calm them down and still looks like he is suffocating, here are some signs and symptoms that you should take your cat to the vet:

  • Constant vomiting after panting
  • Signs of aggression like snarling a lot of crying
  • Excessive meowing
  • Hiding
  • Not drinking enough water after changing it
  • Not eating or a change in their appetite
  • Heavy and strong breathing
  • Constantly following someone around

Final Thoughts

When something is wrong with your cat, you will notice it instantly because of the change in its behavior. So when you see an unusual panting on your cat and nothing has changed on their routine, you must take action and get them to the nearest veterinarian.

In the meantime, make your cat feel relaxed, put a wet towel around them to prevent them from getting overheated, and give them water and little amounts of food.

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