Heavy Breathing Cat Diseases Problems and Treatment

Is your cat breathing hard and does it happens more frequently for your pet. Heavy breathing cat is in fact a normal issue when your pet runs faster or it plays too much. Just like as the humans if your pet plays too much then some times the cat breathing heavy and we can say its normal. But if a condition that without any stress or without any walk or play if your cat breathing fast then it has a problem that must be cured and diagnosed.

Difficult breathing in cats is a symptom that can mean different things from a respiratory infection to heart failure. If you think your cat has any difficulty breathing this is an emergency and you should take your cat to your veterinarian immediately and cure your pet cat heavy breathing. If you want  to know more about why my cat is breathing heavy then simply check our article and know more about your pets.

Heavy Breathing Cat

There are many reasons for a cat breathing problems which needs to be diagnosed very quickly. If your cat is having a respiratory problem then it must be labored breathing in cats and see below about the complete information. You can see more information on why does my cat knead me then simply check from us.


Is My Cat Breathing Hard

A normal cat should always breathe with small movements of the chest. If the sides of your cat move excessively this may indicate difficult breathing. Unlike dogs, cats should never pant. You can also try to observe any increase in abdominal movements with your pet’s breathing. If your cat breathes normally you should not see any excessive movement in the abdomen or any obstacle so you can breathe normally.

In some cats you can see hard breathing with exercise or stress. If your cat pants after running outside on a hot day or playing with his favorite toy this may be caused by normal effort. Other cats will gasp or breathe quickly when they have to travel in the car.

cat breathing heavy

Sometimes cats will keep their mouths partially open when they breathe. This may indicate that your cat is congested from the nose or in the sinuses. You can also hear your cat breathe harder than normal. See more information on buprenorphine for cats.

Why Does My Cat Breathe Hard

Your cat may be breathing heavily for several reasons. If you think your cat may be breathing hard it is important that your veterinarian evaluates it immediately.

Diseases of the Respiratory Tract

Cats can develop heavy breathing with diseases of the respiratory tract. According to Pro Meris these affect your cat’s ability to carry oxygen to the bloodstream. As a result your cat will breathe faster and with more effort to try to compensate. Respiratory diseases include:

  • Feline asthma
  • Pneumonia
  • Pulmonary edema

One of the most common causes of heavy breathing in cats is pulmonary edema it is an accumulation of fluid inside the lungs. This is often caused by heart failure but it can also occur with non-fatal electrocution, non-fatal choking due to various causes asphyxia, cancer or other systemic diseases.

Pleural Effusion

Cats can also develop fluid buildup in the chest in a space that is located outside of the lungs. This happens in an area called pleural space. When fluid accumulates in the pleural space of the lungs can not inflate as much as they should. Your cat will develop shortness of breath and heaviness to breathe as more fluid fills this space. Some causes of pleural effusion include:

  • Heart failure
  • Cancer
  • Chylothorax: an accumulation of fatty fluid
  • Pyothorax: a very serious infection in the chest
  • Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)

Upper Airway Problems

Many cats will develop an upper respiratory infection at some point in their lives. Symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Cough or nausea
  • Snotty eyes

Audible Nasal Congestion

Some cats become so congested that they can not breathe through their noses. When this happens your cat can keep its mouth partially open to breathe. This is the only time that home care for heavy breathing in a cat may be appropriate these occurs in calico cat personality too. You can use a cotton ball and warm water to clean any discharge from your cat’s nose. Place your cat in a humid environment such as a bath while running hot water or in front of a humidifier. If your cat is not eating then it seems lethargic or has excessive congestion then you will have to see a veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis and possible medication.

labored breathing in cats

While it is more rare than upper respiratory infections some cats may have a physical obstruction of the airways that will cause heavy breathing. Some of the possible causes of this may include a nasopharyngeal polyp a foreign body or a tumor.


For cats that have suffered a blow heavy breathing is a serious symptom. Trauma can cause bleeding in the lungs a punctured or punctured lung a hernia that puts pressure on the lungs or other internal bleeding.

How are These Problems Diagnosed

Your veterinarian can diagnose some of these medical conditions with a basic physical examination. For other cases a chest x-ray will be needed. If your cat has trouble breathing it may not even be safe for your vet to take a chest x-ray right away. See the heavy breathing cat and its diagnosis.

  • For cats with pleural effusion it is important that your veterinarian drains a sample of the fluid from the chest. This can sometimes help diagnose the problem, but it can also make your cat feel better.
  • If congestive heart failure is suspected your veterinarian may recommend that your cat have an echocardiogram. This is an ultrasound of the heart and can say much more about the structure of the heart compared to an x-ray.
  • Feline asthma is often diagnosed on an x-ray but in severe cases, it may be necessary to refer to a specialist for bronchoscopy and special cultures.
  • If your veterinarian suspects an airway obstruction or a nasopharyngeal polyp your cat may need to be sedated for an oral examination, skull or neck x-rays or an examination of the ears.

cat breathing problems

What Treatment is Available for My Cat

The exact treatment for difficult breathing in cats will depend on the underlying cause you can give some medicines like benadryl for cats for your pet treatment. Frequently some treatment should be initiated to facilitate breathing before an accurate diagnosis can be made.

  • Pulmonary edema is treated with oxygen and a diuretic medication such as furosemide (Lasix).
  • The pleural effusion is usually drained to help re-inflate the lungs.
  • Cats with asthma may need to take a steroid medication or learn to tolerate a special inhaler for cats.
  • If your cat has an upper respiratory tract infection that you may only need some antibiotics and nursing care for a short period.
  • Unfortunately if your cat is diagnosed with cancer or PIF treatment options may be limited and are designed to keep your cat more comfortable.

Early Identification for the Best Result

Remember that if you think your cat has abnormal and difficult breathing, this is an emergency. It is always safer to evaluate your pet at the first sign of heavy breathing cat. With much attention to your feline friend you can find the help you need and keep him by your side for a long time.

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