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My Cat is Panting: Is That Dangerous?

There can be several reasons for a cat gasping. One of them: she chokes out a hairball. Even if there is usually no need to panic, you should go to the vet with your rattling kitty.

If your cat gasps or wheezes, it sounds unsettling at first. Sometimes the wheezing sounds like a dry cough too. Or like the kitty is choking up a hairball. Except that nothing comes up when the cat gasps.

You are probably wondering what this is all about. The answer is, something is likely to be affecting your cat’s breathing. Veterinarian Dr. Sasha Gibbons explains to the magazine “Catster”: “Coughs and wheezing in cats are mostly associated with allergies or asthma.”

“Wheezing can also be triggered by benign growths called polyps in the paranasal sinuses or in the throat. Sometimes foreign bodies in the airways also cause wheezing, ”the expert continues.

Why is Your Cat Panting?

An overview of the possible causes of wheezing in cats:

  • Hairballs;
  • Allergies – for example to pollen or mold;
  • Foreign bodies in the airways;
  • Stress;
  • Respiratory infections;
  • Heartworms or lungworms;
  • Bone structure on the face (especially in flat-faced cat breeds).

Heartworms are tiny parasites that lodge in the veins of the lungs and heart. They cause a respiratory disease that can make your cat cough and wheeze. You can often recognize the disease by the fact that the kitty is also lethargic and loses its appetite, explains “Trudell Animal Health”.

Wheezing in cats can also be a symptom of asthma, according to WebMD. And that is not so rare with velvet paws: around five percent of cats are said to be affected. With asthma, vomiting, weakness, and breathing problems can also occur.

Is My Cat Coughing or Panting?

Some cat owners find it difficult to tell the difference between coughs and rattles in their kitties. Often both sound very similar. However, coughing is limited to the lungs. Wheezing can be triggered by different parts of the respiratory tract, including the nose or throat. In addition, coughing occurs rarely with heartworms, lung tumors, or other diseases, but especially with asthma and respiratory infections.

Cat Gasps? Better to Go to the Vet Then

If you notice your cat gasping or gasping but not vomiting a hairball, you should take them to the vet. Especially if your cat is coughing and gasping for more than a minute at a time, or if it looks like it is breathless. Then you shouldn’t waste any time.

How to tell if your cat’s wheezing is an emergency:

  • Wheezing is accompanied by coughing or choking noises;
  • Cat continues to gasp even though no hairball comes;
  • Slight wheezing for a long period of time;
  • Wheezing gets worse for a short time;
  • Lethargy;
  • Cat no longer eats or drinks;
  • Gums are colored blue;
  • Cat is breathing hard or fast.

If the situation is less urgent, filming your cat’s panting once can help. This allows the vet to examine the type of wheezing and more easily assess the underlying problem. A visit to the veterinarian’s office is especially important because your cat’s gasps can have very serious causes. Therefore, do not take this symptom lightly.

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