It can be alarming to see a cat panting with its mouth open wide, but this is expected behavior. If you've never seen it before, you might be alarmed. Seeing any unusual behavior in cats is concerning, and although they don't pant as much as dogs do, it's not typical to see a cat panting with its mouth wide open. Most cats will relax when they open-mouth breathe or "cat pant," but seek veterinary care immediately if your cat seems overly stressed or has difficulty breathing. You are better equipped to understand your cat than anyone else. If you notice anything unusual or abnormal, take precautions and seek medical attention.
In general, cats pant when they're hot, anxious, or stressed. Sometimes, they can also do so due to problems related to health or aging. With open-mouth breathing, context is critical - it isn't an atypical response if your cat has just finished exercising. Still, it may be alarming otherwise. If your cat doesn't calm itself down after a short time, it may be essential to seek help from a professional.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Breathing Heavily
Panting is determined by the specific situation in which your cat does it. For example, many cats breathe through their mouths as they drive, a stress-related reaction resulting from unfamiliarity with the vehicle. You should carefully observe your cat's breathing to determine what they were doing before they started panting: Were they taking a walk outside on the leash, or were they in a new location or a stressful situation?
While it may seem intimidating, trusting your cat's instincts and paying attention to how they can help you figure out what to do. If you aren't sure, consult your veterinarian or schedule an appointment—they are professionals and may be able to suggest why your cat is open-mouthed breathing.
You may consider the following as red flags:
1. Panting for several minutes.
Panting is a sign of distress in cats if it persists for long periods. If your cat is panting excessively after exercising or experiencing a stressful event, it's a sign that something more serious may be going on. If your cat continues to pant after exercising or an anxious event, it might mean something more serious such as a heart or lung condition or something else. Take your cat to the vet as quickly as possible if you notice him panting excessively.
Several cat ailments and disorders cause feline dyspnea, a condition in which the cat has difficulty breathing. Open-mouth breathing is a common sign of many of these diseases for obvious reasons - it indicates respiratory distress or difficulty. A veterinarian can assist you in diagnosing the condition if it lasts for weeks or months.
2. Panting happens after a stressful environment or a particular event.
Your cat may be able to recover from a sudden fright if they develop a pattern of open-mouth breathing after a specific event (for example, loud noises in or around your home, traveling, or interacting with other animals).
Traveling With Your Feline Friend
It's essential to recognize that your cat may be panting for various reasons, including fear and breathing difficulties resulting from traveling, among others. Fortunately, you'll be able to pinpoint the cause of your cat's panting, but it still won't be enjoyable to see your little friend meow with distress.
Even if your cat does not like being in a crate while you drive, keeping them there might help keep them calm and safe. After a while, your cat will become accustomed to the feel of being in the vehicle and will begin to relax. To help keep your cat relaxed during a car or plane ride, you may offer cat CBD, pheromones, or calming treats. Your veterinarian may advise sedatives to help keep your cat calm for a more extended time.
Is It Patterned or Once In A While Open-Mouth Breathing?
If you see a repeated pattern of open-mouth panting or panting when something stressful occurs in your home, you may want to consider taking your cat to the veterinarian. Is this a repetitive behavior or an accidental reaction to a specific situation? If your cat pants after exercising, let them calm down on their own but offer them water and an excellent spot to relax. If they do not relax after a little while, you may want to seek veterinary care.
Your relationship with your cat plays a significant part in feline parenting. You know your feline friend better than anybody else. If your cat pants, ask yourself whether it has previously done so, and then decide. If you don't have a veterinarian, don't be afraid to ask for help.
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