by Alexander Thompson
Aug 31, 2022
2 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Higher Respiratory Rate (Rapid Breathing) in Cats Explained
- Normal Breathing in Cats
- Abnormal Breathing in Cats
- In Conclusion
Unlike dogs, cats hardly breathe heavily or pant. If your cat has been doing this recently and you wonder why this is so, this blog is for you.
Higher Respiratory Rate (Rapid Breathing) in Cats Explained
The healthy breathing rate for a resting or sleeping cat is 20 to 30 breaths per minute. Anything higher than this is abnormal and calls for concern. You will detect minimal movements of the chest during normal breathing. Disruptive or irregular movements, either fast or slow, may indicate difficult or abnormal breathing. You should also watch out for noisy breaths, usually with a whistling, harsh, or high sound. All of these show breathing difficulties.
The best time to measure the respiration rate of your cat is to count her number of breaths while asleep. A cat inhales and exhales during a complete breath cycle. You can set a time of 30 seconds and count the number of breaths within that period. The next step is multiplying the number of breaths recorded by two, so you get the number of breaths per minute. If this number is more than 30, your cat is most likely experiencing tachypnea.
Normal Breathing in Cats
Panting can occur in cats but only in rare cases. If you see your cat panting, see what they were doing just before the panting started. Panting in cats may be a response to anxiety, overheating, or strenuous exercise. And like dogs, they return to their average breathing speed once they rest.
Like we said earlier, cats do not frequently pant or breathe heavily. If your feline friend pants more frequently than usual and you are unsure why this happens, please consult your vet.
Abnormal Breathing in Cats
A cat that is not tired from strenuous exercise, too hot, or overly stressed should not pant. However, if you detect labored breathing without any of these background causes, your cat may be suffering from any of the medical issues identified below:
Viral and bacterial respiratory infections prevent cats from breathing normally, forcing them to breathe heavily instead. If the infection is bacterial, your vet may recommend antibiotics. You may also need steam and humidifiers to loosen mucus and ease your cat’s breathing during recovery.
Congestive Heart Failure
The buildup of fluid around the lungs may impair breathing in cats. The apparent signs include panting, coughing, and rapid, deep breathing. Your vet may drain the fluid and provide medications that dilate the blood vessels to remove the excess fluid. All of these force the heart to contract.
Cats may find it difficult to breathe if they are suffering from heartworm. Common treatments include supportive care, including corticosteroids. These medications help to reduce inflammation. Your vet may recommend oxygen therapy under challenging situations. Heartworm disease can be fatal, so it is best to have your cat on monthly heartworm preventative.
Asthma is a leading cause of panting in cats. It also causes coughing, wheezing, and a higher respiratory rate. Your vet will recommend a few medications—mostly bronchodilators or corticosteroids—to treat the problem.
Other common causes of irregular breathing in cats include abdominal enlargement, neurological disorders, anemia, and trauma.
If you are bothered about how your cat breathes, you should immediately speak to a veterinary doctor. Early diagnosis is essential and increases the chances of the recommended treatment working. You cannot take chances when it involves the well-being of your cat, and even the slightest delay may worsen the situation and cost you more money.
Prioritize your cat’s health and never take your eyes off them.
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