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Panting Cat

Panting is not very common in cats and there are many reasons behind it. This article provides information on the causes, symptoms, and treatment of panting in cats.
CatAppy Staff
A panting cat is not a common sight to observe, though you may have observed the same in dogs. This is the reason why it usually makes owners nervous. A panting cat will usually have its tongue sticking out, taking shallow breaths that are slow and rapid, with an open mouth. This is not usually considered to be normal cat behavior. However, it is common to see a cat panting after it plays a lot, when in stress, or even when frightened. It may even be a sign of a serious cardiac disease or some metabolic problems.
Panting may be termed as a normal behavior in a young cat that gets pumped up after a rough play. Sometimes, extreme heat and humidity may also lead to it. Cats do not sweat like humans to dispel heat, and have small surface areas on their paw pads and the skin of their ears for evaporation. Panting is a way of lowering the cat's body heat if the cat is overheated. Cats do not normally over exert themselves when the temperatures outside soar. Thus, a panting cat is not a common sight to observe. If you see your cat panting on a hot day, then you need to check the color of its tongue. A normal pink-colored tongue indicates that the cat is overheated. However, if the tongue is dark or blue in color, it means that you need to seek veterinary help. Other serious causes are as follows.
Respiratory Problems
A panting cat may indicate upper respiratory problems like blocked nasal passages or an abnormal growth in the nose or pharynx. In case of the lower respiratory tract, there may be problems with inadequate gas exchange, pulmonary edema, and even asthma.
Cardiovascular Disorder
There are a few cardiac diseases that may cause panting. These disorders include heartworm, thrombosis, or even stroke. The lungs may be affected with pulmonary embolism.
Neurological Problems
Head trauma, brain tumors, or respiratory muscle dysfunction may lead to neurological problems that may be indicated by panting as one of the symptoms.
Other Health Problems
Anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, or blood diseases are some probable causes. Other causes may include abdominal pressure built up in a pregnant cat, fluid in the abdomen, drug poisoning, etc.
When you observe a panting cat, you need to look for signs of coughing, breathing difficulty, and blue color of the mucus membranes. Also, you should worry if your cat is having a poor appetite, losing weight, drinking excessive water, vomiting, having diarrhea, and even having fatigue. In case your cat displays this behavior after play, exercise, from fear, excitement, or heat, you need to give it some time to relax. If the panting continues after some time, you should seek medical help.
The vet may advise strict rest and oxygen therapy to the cat before the test results come in. The diagnosis may be done with blood chemistry, chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, etc. Sometimes, the vet may recommend an echocardiogram to be conducted for diagnosing cardiovascular disease like HCM. It also helps the cardiologist or radiologist to visualize the heart, valve function, thickness of the wall, and possible clot formation.

Treatment may include IV therapy in case of fluid loss due to diarrhea, blood transfusion in severe anemia, and antibiotics and anti-inflammatory drugs in case of inflammation. After the test results, the vet will decide the line of treatment according to the reports, depending on your cat's health.
Panting after play, from pain, fear, heat, or even excitement may be termed as normal. However, if you cannot find any of these events as the cause, then speak to your vet. Observe your cat for a while and if its condition does not improve, seek medical intervention. Keep the cat in a cool environment and do not allow it to over exert itself. With proper care, your cat will be able to overcome its health problems and recover soon.
The information offered on this site is not to be used as a substitute for professional veterinary diagnosis or treatment. The reader is advised to consult a veterinarian before taking any home remedies, supplements, or following any treatment advised by anyone on this site. A veterinarian will be able to provide the reader with advice that is safe and effective for the individual pet's specific needs and diagnose a particular health problem based on the pet's medical history.