Why are my Cats Breathing Fast?

Why are my Cats Breathing Fast?

Our catties are curious beings. They would always want to know what are we cooking or what’s inside that interesting delivery box? Have you ever noticed that their respiratory rate increases when they play around? Well, that’s normal! But what’s NOT normal is cats breathing fast who is resting for a while. In fact, that could be a sign of an underlying illness or condition.

Cats Breathing Fast | Cats Health
Cats Breathing Fast | Cats Health

Let’s take a look and be aware of the reasons of heavy breathing in cats and heavy breathing types. Also, let us deep dive into ways to diagnose havy breathing in cats and treatment approach.

Dorky Owl will help you find out what can one do as a cat owner.

Let’s Find Out

What Is Normal Breathing In Cats?

At first, we must understand what normal breathing is when it comes to cats. While resting, a healthy respiration rate in cats is between 20 – 30 breaths per minute. Yes, that’s quite fast if we try it out. As for us humans, the normal respiration rate ranges from 12-15 breaths per minute. Each breathing cycle is one complete inhalation followed by a complete exhalation.

Check if your cats breathing fast

Follow the steps below: –

  1. Ensure you take the observations when you cat is sleeping.
  2. Open the stop watch in your smartphone
  3. Count the number of complete inhales and exhales for a period of 30 seconds.
  4. Multiply that number by 2.

Anything upwards of 30 breaths per minute is heavy breathing. Do share the respiratory rate in comments below.

Three Types | Cats Breathing Fast

Let’s take a look at the 3 types cats breathing fast

Heavy Breathing In Cats

Heavy Breathing In Cats | Cats Health
Heavy Breathing In Cats | Cats Health

Heavy Breathing in cats, also known as Dyspnea is a serious condition. In Dyspnea, a cat finds it difficult to breathe. Dyspnea itself is not a disease, rather it’s a clinical symptom. Dyspnea is derived from the Greek language. ‘Dys’ = Difficulty and ‘Pnoia’ = Breathing.

Symptoms of Heavy Breathing In Cats

  • Cats extend their head and necks since they have breahting difficulty
  • Heavy breathing in cats is often noisy; heart murmur
  • Cats nostrils might flare open with each breath
  • Belly and Chest move more than normal during breathing
Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Health
Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Health

Causes of Heavy Breathing In Cats

As per experts, the most potential causes of heavy breathing in cats which cause Dyspnea

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Foreign objects in windpipe
  • Viral diseases
  • Excessive stomach fluid.

Rapid Breathing In Cats

Rapid Breathing In Cats |  Heavy Breathing In Cats
Rapid Breathing In Cats | Heavy Breathing In Cats

Tachypnea also known as Rapid Breathing in cats is a little more serious. It can suggest an underlying health condition or serious disease. While Dyspnea is uncomfortable in cats, your cats could be unaware of Tachypnea. This makes it all the more critical for you to keep an eye on their cats respiratory rate.

Symptoms of Rapid Breathing In Cats

Besides, shallow breathing or rapid breathing in cats, following are the symptoms: –

  • A blue tint across the gums or nose
  • Fatigue as a result of depleted oxygen levels
  • Excessive Lethargy

Causes of Rapid Breathing In Cats

  • Hypoxemia: Lack of Oxygen in blood
  • Pleural effusion (fluid accumulation within the chest cavity)
  • Anemia (Decrease in number of RBCs in cats)
  • Fever can also cause Tachypnea as a means to reduce body temperature

Panting In Cats

Panting is like Tachypnea but with mouth open. This behavior is often seen in dogs but rarely in cats. Cats breathing fast with their mouths open for a long period of time is panting. This is their mechanism to reduce the heat in the body in case of over exertion.

Causes of Panting In Cats

  • Cats pant when they feel hot. It’s like their thermoregulation mechanism.
  • Feline Asthmatic is a major culprit
  • Stress is another reason why cats pant. If left in enclosed spaces or if they’re scared they tend to pant a lot.
Panting In Cats | Cats Health
Panting In Cats | Cats Health

What can we do to help them?

Let them play

Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Breathing Fast
Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Breathing Fast

The only case wherein you do not have to take action is during playtime. When you see cats exhibiting the clinical signs like running or playing, you can relax. But do take notice if these signs are prevalent for an extended period of time. It is normal for cats to breathe fast after a stressful activity plus it does wonders to cats health.

Cool them down

It is a good idea to let your cats cool down before we take action. Ensure there is enough water accessible around them. Try and cool the surroundings by reducing the temperature in their room. It will help if you give them their favourite belly rub.

Panting In Cats| Cats Breathing Fast
Panting In Cats| Cats Breathing Fast

Plan a vet visit

Rapid breathing in cats or heavy breathing in cats both are life threatening conditions . If we observe prolonged symptoms, it is best to avail veterinary care. The diagnosis performed by a veterinary doctor are thorough and professional. One must give Veterinary medicine prescribed to cats as per the schedule advised.

Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Health
Rapid Breathing In Cats | Cats Health

Under extreme conditions like Plural Effusion or Cancer, the vet might suggest surgery or other surgical procedures. Do take a second opinion to be sure.

Wrapping Up

Our felines are our responsibility. Be alert and closely monitor in case you note anything unusual. Do keep a regular check on their respiratory rates (count the breaths) on a weekly basis. Do not shy away from a visit to the vet. After all, an expert opinion can guide you about cats breathing fast. That’s all for now!

Cats Breathing Fast | Cats Health
Cats Breathing Fast | Cats Health

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References

https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/dyspnea-difficulty-breathing

https://heartsmart.vet.tufts.edu/difficulty-breathing-dyspnea/

https://heartsmart.vet.tufts.edu/difficulty-breathing-dyspnea/

https://www.wedgewoodpharmacy.com/blog/posts/how-to-treat-breathing-difficulties-in-cats.html