Labored breathing in cats
If you compare the way and frequency of breathing in a dog and cat, they have a significant difference. Rapid breathing and sticking of tongue in dogs is a norm that is caused by body thermoregulation (thus they increase the area for moisture evaporation). Especially, you can observe rapid breathing in dogs in hot weather, after active host games, or fast running. Cats, on the contrary, breathe slower and their breathing is calm and evenly. As you have already understood, we will talk about respiratory procession in cats and breathing problems in cats.
Usually, cats don’t breathe with their mouths open and they don’t have such a cooling system. In addition, cats can sweat even the pads of their feet.
The range of chest movements ranges from 20 to 40 breaths per minute in healthy and adult cats. You can measure this amount simply by watching your cat’s chest move. Another way is to put the palm of your hand and feel the body part rising and falling.
The frequency and depth of breaths and exhalations depend on many factors
- from the age of a pet (little kittens breathe more often than adults), the younger a pet, the faster his metabolism;
- cat size; larger pets breathe heavier and slower than their tiny siblings (small cats have faster metabolism);
- pregnancy is also an important factor for females; pregnant cats or those who give their kittens milk breathe much more often than non-pregnant cats;
- the sex of the cat (males breathe slower than females);
- a breed of cat;
- the emotional state/stress of a fluffy pet (since cats may experience fear, aggression, tension, relaxation, contentment, and peace of mind, then the breathing will match the inner state);
- increased activity;
You should also consider the season. Logically, the cat will breathe more often and intensively in hot periods, when the house/street temperature is higher and it is more humid. But all processes slow down with the arrival of winter. The cat’s breath is evened out and becomes barely visible.
So, you may not have to worry if you notice that your cat’s breathing has changed due to the factors/reasons listed above. But when it comes to a heavy breathing cat or your cat having trouble breathing then you should look closely and make an appointment with your vet.
Labored breathing in cats or why is my cat breathing hard?
Unfortunately, animals can’t say that something is bothering them or that they don’t feel well. You make your own that there is something wrong with your pet because of its behavior, lack of appetite, low physical activity, meowing, or your cat breathing hard and fast. So, why is my cat breathing heavy?
The first and most common reason is a foreign object. Your cat may have (accidentally) swallowed or inhaled a small object. If the cat breathing heavy and not moving it means it is just trying to get rid of the foreign object. This airway cleansing is also often accompanied by sneezing and mucus secretions. If the object is stuck in the throat, the cat is breathing hard through the nose. The animal will try to get rid of it, you may even see gagging and breathing with its mouth open.
Diseases of the respiratory tract
Almost all diseases of the upper respiratory tract are accompanied by the fact that the cat breathing heavily and not eating. Pet can breathe heavily (even with whistling), you can also hear these symptoms are complemented by loud snoring while sleeping.
If an infection is the true cause of feline labored breathing then you may notice a yellow (green) discharge from the cat’s nose. It can affect emptying (diarrhea) and cause vomiting and ulcers on the animal’s tongue. Fever, lack of appetite, and indifference to games with the host are symptoms that may accompany kitten labored breathing.
A lung problem (pulmonary edema) is a common cause of feline breathing problems. Allergies, diseases of the liver, heart, kidneys, anaphylactic shock, and various injuries can cause fluid in the cat’s lungs.
Your cat (who has pulmonary edema) will simply lie down, refuse to eat, and breathe heavily in her stomach (grab air with her mouth open). If you listen to your cat’s chest area you may hear something gurgle and noise inside. Usually, your pet will not even react when you call it. Its mucous membranes will turn pale or even blue. This state of the cat is difficult to confuse with anything else and you should urgently consult your vet in this case.
The doctor will examine your pet, make a CBC (blood test), electrocardiogram, and ultrasound diagnostics.
Heart problems are also among the causes of feline breathing problems.
Especially, such problems are of genetic origin (some breeds are prone to diseases of the cardiovascular system).
Parasites in the lungs
Also, one popular reason why your cat may suddenly lose interest in everything, not eat, and still have trouble breathing. On top of that, it may have a dry cough and wheezing, even with the slightest amount of exercise.
But you should understand that any change in your pet’s well-being (especially those related to the process of breathing) should be checked by the vet.