Why is My Cat Breathing Fast?

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Caring for a cat at your home is nothing less than caring for your one child. Those squishy tiny creatures may look quite aggressive and angry often, but they love to be pampered and cared for just the way we do.


Thus, while you are keeping a cat at your home, you must be aware of all the complications your pet might face. Breathing problem is one of such problems that cats might face often. Rapid breathing in a cat is marked as a specific medical condition that tells a lot about your feline’s health.


So, while caring for your cat, if you have noticed any signs of rapid breathing, then you have to take immediate action on it. But what makes your cat breathe so fast? Is it something to worry about? Is it any symptom of a disease? If so, then what can you do about it? These are some of the questions that you must know to understand this condition better. Hence, have a look.


First of all, why is your cat breathing so fast?

Rapid breathing symptoms in a cat are also known as tachypnea. It can be caused due to lowering the level of oxygen in the blood, which is known as hypoxemia. Also, it can be a sign of significant reduction of the red blood cell or anemia.  Rapid breathing in cats can also be an outcome of asthma.


If there is fluid build-up in the lungs of your cat due to heart failure, then it can show previous signs like rapid breathing. Fluid in your cat’s chest surrounding the lungs can also be another possible reason. Moreover, if there is any kind of tumor or bleeding in the lungs of your cat, then it will cause heavy breathing in the cat. Here are some other reasons which can result in a faster breathing rate in your cat.




 Disease name

How it affects your cat?

Emotional stress If your cat has any emotional distress like shock, fear, etc., then it can make your pet panting rapidly.
Allergies Allergies to any specific food or object can trigger rapid breathing in your cat.
Respiratory infection Due to any bacterial or viral infection in the respiratory tract, a cat can experience rapid breathing.
Heat Too much heat sometimes can make your cat become drained of energy faster, which causes faster breathing.
Heartworm Heartworm can be another reason why your cat is experiencing a breathing problem.
Windpipe obstruction with foreign objects  If your cat has gulped anything accidentally, then it can result in breathing complications in your cat.



What are the signs of rapid breathing in your cat?

How do you know your cat is experiencing breathing-related problems? Then you have to notice some of the very common symptoms in your cat. Here are some of the signs that you can see in your feline buddy if it is dealing with any respiration-related complications.


  • Faster moving belly and chest with each breath
  • Loud noise while breathing
  • Gagging
  • Lethargic or fatigue
  • Frequent coughing
  • Flaring of nostrils
  • Panting with an open mouth
  • Bluish gum


What can you do when your cat is breathing fast? 

If you notice any signs of difficulty in your cat’s breathing, then staying unbothered will ultimately risk the life of your cat. If you notice that your cat is panting breath rapidly, then keep an eye on it for some hours. Try to track if there is any progress or deterioration.


The next thing you need to do is, call your vet and book an appointment for your cat.  Your vet will perform some initial tests and will suggest medicines based on the severity of the situation. But if there are some other abnormal symptoms along with the rapid breathing, then it can result in an emergency very soon. In such cases, it would be better if you do not delay and take quick action.


How is it diagnosed?

The diagnosis of breathing-related problems includes a very detailed inspection. Your cat’s vet will assess the first stage and the severity of the situation.


Veterinarians often listen to their chests to understand the rapidness of breathing. He/she will also check the color of the gum to identify if there is any deficiency in oxygen delivery or not. In case of emergency, vets tend to stabilize their breathing using a supply of oxygen. Further diagnosis includes blood tests, ultrasounds, x-rays, etc.


What are the possible treatments for the rapid-breathing complexity in your cat?

Rapid breathing is the outcome of many underlying health complications in your cat. Hence the treatment of it takes place based on the severity of the condition and the diagnosis assessment.  If your cat is facing troubled breathing, then your veterinarian can supply oxygen to stabilize the situation.


Based on requirements, vets also consider using IV catheters and offer emergency drugs or intravenous fluids.

In case your cat is suffering from pleural effusion, then your vet will perform a thoracentesis to extract out the fluid from the chest.



If your vet suspects a heart-related complication, then he/she may suggest x-rays or an echocardiogram of the heart evaluate the performance and condition of the heart. Doctors can prescribe medicines such as anti-inflammatories to treat any kind of infection or inflammation.


If the breathing rapidness is caused due to any distress, then your vet will suggest the necessary tips on how to keep your cat calm.


Tips that you need to follow to keep your cat safe from such conditions:

Taking care of your cat can be a tricker, especially when your cat is experiencing troubled breathing. But you can follow up on some of the tips that will help you to keep your cat safe and away from any life-threatening situation. Here is what you can do about it.


  • Since the breathing issues can sometimes be the result of allergies, it is better to know which food and objects are harmful to your cat. You can ask your vet before you offer any food to your cat.
  • Keep your cat safe and secure to make sure your cat is not facing any kind of distress.
  • Do not allow your kitty to roam around unprotected in bad weather as it can cause respiratory infections or coughing.
  • Give them food that they can easily chew and gulp to make sure it is not choking their windways.
  • Make sure you are keeping all your cat’s belongings clean. For example, the litter box must be very clean to make sure it doesn’t spread any infections. You can buy Petsafe Scoop Free Ultra Self-Cleaning Litter Box.
  • If you notice any early signs of difficulty in breathing, contact your vet as early as possible.



Fast breathing can be a sign of many severe health-related issues. Thus, if you are seeing that your cat is experiencing troubled breathing, make sure you are not delaying taking your pet to a vet. It is better to keep a continuous eye on your cat’s health to know better if your cat is experiencing such problems or not.

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