A cat’s natural breathing flow should be smooth, long and through their nose.
Small, shallow breaths, with an open mouth and a tongue that’s partially sticking out, is generally a sign that something isn’t right.
If they are struggling with their breathing, it could be because of one of the following reasons:
- Overheating. If a cat’s body temperature begins to rise they may begin panting in an attempt to cool themselves down.
- Stressed or anxious. An elevated heart rate brought on by stress (car journey, new pet, change in routine) can lead to panting.
- Overexertion. Cats can end up in respiratory distress when they get over excited during playtime, or push themselves too far while exercising.
- Pain or discomfort. A cat in pain may have a tendency to begin open-mouth panting as a way of coping with the discomfort.
- Underlying medical condition. Seemingly innocuous behaviours like panting can sometimes be symptomatic of a larger problem. Contact your vet if you think this may be the case.