Shortness Of Breath & Apnea In Cats

In the event of severe shortness of breath, you must take your cat to the vet immediately as this is a life-threatening condition.


Cat flu rarely causes severe shortness of breath. Insect bites in the throat, for example, are dangerous. The swelling can block the larynx, preventing air from entering the trachea. Severe chest or head injuries, severe pain, and shock can cause shortness of breath. In heart disease, fluid can collect in the lungs and cause shortness of breath. All lung diseases are of course accompanied by shortness of breath.


A cat normally breathes 20 to 25 times per minute. If she is excited or strained, it can be up to 60 breaths per minute, but the animal’s breathing should quickly calm down again. If you notice accelerated breathing over a longer period of time, this is always a symptom of illness. The best way to count breathing is to look at your chest. If he raises, the cat breathes in. The rise and fall of the chest should be smooth, not strained. Cats rarely pant. As a rule, healthy animals only breathe through their nose, which is why so-called mouth breathing is always a warning sign.


If the shortness of breath occurs suddenly, look into the cat’s mouth. You may need to remove a foreign object. Try cooling bug bites by letting the cat lick ice or placing an ice pack on her neck. Call the vet so they can prepare. Ensure that the transport is as calm as possible because excitement makes shortness of breath worse.


Early detection of internal diseases, such as heart disease, and their consistent treatment prevent sudden shortness of breath from occurring.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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