Why is my cat breathing heavy? (Step by step guide)

My cat breathing heavy breathe fast, profoundly, or laboriously. See a vet if it persists or is accompanied by other worrying signs. As a cat caretaker, you understand the significance of your cat’s health. When your cat begins breathing deeply, you should be concerned. Dyspnea, or excessive panting, is a common symptom of more severe health problems in cats. Respiratory tract infections, asthma, heart disease, and even cancer can all contribute to your cat’s labored respiration.

Excess weight, tension, and body temperature can also play a role. If you observe any changes in your cat’s breathing, you should take them to the vet immediately. Other symptoms, such as coughing, sneezing, wheezing, fatigue, and lack of appetite, may accompany heavy breathing. This article will go over some of the most common causes of my cat breathing heavy in cats, as well as some solutions you can try to assist your pet. You should act if you observe any worrying symptoms in your cat because early detection and treatment are crucial to effectively managing any underlying medical conditions.

Signs of My cat breathing heavy:

Some telltale symptoms of rapid breathing in cats are as follows:

  • Overly short or rapid breathing:

A symptom of respiratory distress in your cat would be an increased respiration rate or the appearance of difficulty breathing.

  • Breathing through the mouth:

If you see it breathing through its lips, your cat is having difficulty breathing. Your cat may be hot or in pain, which this behavior can indicate.

  • The Nose Flares:

The flaring of your cat’s nostrils during breathing may indicate an obstruction caused by mucus or an item.

  • Blue-tongued lips:

If you notice a bluish tint to your cat’s gums or tongue, it indicates that they aren’t receiving enough oxygen and should be taken to an emergency vet immediately.

  • Panting:

It’s not typical for a cat to pant like a dog, and it could indicate respiratory distress or overheating if you notice this behavior.

  • Congestive heart failure:

A respiratory problem could cause your cat’s hack and wheezing.

  • Lethargy:

Your cat may be in trouble if you notice that it is breathing heavily, is listless, or appears weak.

Cats Causes of My cat breathing heavy:

  1. Diseases of the respiratory system:

Upper respiratory illnesses in cats can lead to congestion and inflammation. Besides rapid breathing, this can cause signs like sneezing, coughing, and nasal or ocular discharge.

  1. Asthma:

Asthma is a disease that produces inflammation of the airways and rapid or shallow breathing in cats. Allergic reactions and worry are two common asthma triggers, and both can necessitate medication use.

  1. The Heart Disease:

Fluid accumulation in the lungs is a common symptom of feline cardiac disease, and it can cause the cat to breathe rapidly and shallowly. Symptoms of heart illness can include a lack of energy, an inability to concentrate, and an insatiable cough.

  1. Trauma:

In cats, chest or head trauma can lead to trouble inhaling and rapid breathing. Accidental injuries, broken bones, and other forms of bodily trauma fall into this category.

  1. Allergies:

Inflammation of the lungs, brought on by allergies, can cause irregular or shallow breathing. Dust, pollen, mildew, and other airborne particles are common allergens.

  1. Overheating:

If your cat gets too warm, it may breathe quickly to dissipate the heat. Heat stroke, a medical emergency requiring urgent veterinary care, maybe the cause.

  1. Anemia:

Insufficient oxygen in the bloodstream brought on by anemia can prompt rapid respiration. The symptoms of anemia can be mild to severe, depending on the underlying reason.

  1. Anxiety and stress:

Rapid breathing and other anxiety symptoms are common in stressed or anxious cats. Causes include environmental shifts, social relations, and health problems.

Types of Heavy Breathing in Cats:




1: Panting:

There are several potential reasons why you’re panting in Cats.

Panting in Cats Symptoms Cause
Coughing Asthma and bronchitis
Lack of hunger Anxious or frightened cats
Hiding Anxious or frightened cats
Lethargy Asthma and bronchitis, overheating


How to treat a cat’s excessive breathing depends on what’s causing it. If anxiety or stress is to blame for the excessive panting, eliminating the cause or creating a soothing atmosphere may help. Moving the cat to a colder area and giving it access to water can help if the panting is due to overheating. A doctor is needed to administer medication or perform other medical treatments if the cause of the panting is respiratory distress. You should take your cat to the vet immediately if you observe any unusual symptoms, including excessive panting.

2: Tachypnea:

When a cat has tachypnea, its respiration becomes rapid and shallow. It’s important to see the vet immediately because it could indicate something more serious. In cats, typical triggers for tachypnea include:

Symptoms of Tachypnea Causes
Shallow breathing Anxiety or Panic Attack, Obesity, Pulmonary embolism
Difficulty catching breath Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Pneumonia, Lung cancer
High-pitched wheezing Asthma, Allergic Reaction, Anaphylaxis
Rapid breathing accompanied by fever and chills Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Tuberculosis


If you know what’s causing your cat’s tachypnea, you can address it more effectively. Oxygen therapy, medication, or other medical interventions to enhance breathing may be used to address respiratory distress. Medication to increase heart function and decrease fluid accumulation may be part of the therapy for heart disease. Blood transfusions are just one of many possible treatments for anemia, depending on the underlying reason.

3: Dyspnea:

Cats may suffer from dyspnea, a disease characterized by labored breathing, for various reasons. Dyspnea in animals can result from several different things.

Symptoms Cause
Pressure in the chest Different medical conditions can cause dyspnea in cats, including many conditions.
You have to make an effort to take long breaths. Dyspnea is a symptom that can be caused by a variety of various conditions in cats, including malnutrition, heart failure, and infections brought on by heartworms.
Stridor or wheezing Trauma, an obstructed airway, or a negative reaction to medication are other potential reasons for cat dyspnea.


Dyspnea treatment in cats should be tailored to the underlying reason. Oxygen treatment may be required to improve the cat’s breathing. Doctors may recommend bronchodilators, steroids, or antibiotics to combat respiratory illnesses. Medication to enhance cardiac function may be given for cardiac diseases. In instances of airway obstruction, surgical intervention may be required.


Keep an eye on your feline friend if you discover that they are breathing more heavily than usual, and take them to the doctor if the problem continues or is accompanied by other symptoms. Several medical conditions, including respiratory distress, heart illness, and anemia, can manifest through symptoms like heavy breathing. Your cat’s health and well-being depend on prompt diagnosis and therapy. A veterinarian may recommend X-rays, bloodwork, or urinalysis after a physical exam to diagnose the ailment.


Hi, I am Sehrish Kiran a blogger. The main motive to create this Harpersatelier site is that I want to share knowledge about Pets Information, Stories, Pet Breeds, and tips for grooming with all the pet lovers out there.