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How To Calm A Panting Cat? 9 Causes And Solutions

How To Calm A Panting Cat? 9 Causes And Solutions

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You have probably seen a cat panting at least once in your life. Although this behavior is more common for dogs, especially during the hot months, cats pant too. But, what worries most cat owners is the question – why is my cat panting?

As this behavior is not very common for cats, seeing your kitty panting is usually a sign of certain health issues that require special attention.

So, if you read this article carefully, you’ll find out the causes for this behavior and how to calm a panting cat!

How To Calm A Panting Cat?

Before I proceed with the answer to how to calm a panting cat, there are certain things that you should know about cat panting.

A cat panting is similar to when dogs pant, and it refers to rapid breathing through the cat’s mouth when they are usually resting. When cats breathe like that, it seems like they struggle or that they’re too tired.

However, causes for panting in cats may be completely normal issues or severe conditions that require special help. Normal panting can usually be solved by your assistance, but severe panting may require professional help.

Therefore, if you notice that your cat’s panting is followed by certain symptoms, make sure you pay special attention to your cat’s behavior and health, and it would be best to contact and consult with your vet.

Some of these symptoms include:

• Excessive hiding behavior

Weakness and lethargy


• Loss of appetite

• Noisy, heavy breathing

• A change in the color of the gums

Keep reading to find out the possible causes for panting in cats and how to calm a panting cat based on each issue. 

This article will also provide you with information about treating each issue and help you know when it is time to take your feline friend to the vet!

9 Causes And Solutions For Panting In Cats

Cause No. 1 – The Cat Is In Pain

black and white cat grimacing with his mouth open

The first cause of panting in cats that I’m going to discuss is pain. As cats pant very rarely, compared to dogs, it usually means that something’s not quite alright; however, this is not always the case.

If you suspect that your kitty is in pain, especially if it’s showing some of the previously mentioned symptoms, then you should start monitoring your cat’s behavior and examine it. 

One of the most noticeable symptoms that your cat is in pain is excessive hiding behavior. Cats do that frequently when they’re in pain in order to avoid being seen as fragile, weak, and vulnerable.

Try to read your cat’s body language in order to get more information about its condition so that you can eventually help it.

Possible Solution

If you cannot determine the underlying cause of your cat being in pain, then it is best to take it to the vet for a detailed examination. 

Before that, you should monitor your cat’s behavior and overall condition so that you can gather more information that can help the vet determine the exact cause of the pain.

After the vet examines the cat, they will be able to provide you with detailed information about the cat’s condition and treat it properly. The most common causes of pain in cats are broken parts of the body, digestive issues, or some other more severe conditions.

Cause No. 2 – The Cat Is Overheated

Cat languishes in the heat lying on the ground with its tongue out

Dogs usually pant due to heat during hot days, but that’s their way of cooling themselves down. 

However, when cats pant due to heat, they’re probably overheated and need your help to calm and cool down. Now, check out the possible solutions you can use in order to help your cat cool down.

Possible Solution

If your cat is in a hot place, first, it is best to move it into a shade or a cooler place. However, be careful and don’t move your cat into extremely cool places in order to avoid possible shock. 

Just do it step by step so that the cat can cool down gradually. First, move it into a shaded place, and when the cat gets better, then you can move it to an air-conditioned space. This will definitely help your kitty to cool down.

Another thing you can do to calm a panting cat that is overheated is to use water. After moving the cat into a shaded or cooler space, you can provide it with water to drink to make it feel better, or just wet its mouth and lips if it refuses to drink it. 

Moreover, you can soak a towel or a cloth with water and apply it on your cat, especially on their head which may help them cool faster in a safer way.

Nowadays, there are many different solutions for each problem; you can get a pet cooling pad which is very useful in these situations.

Finally, if you need to go for a car ride with your feline friend, also make sure that your car is cool and avoid leaving your kitty alone in a hot car, as that may end badly for your cat.

Cause No. 3 – The Cat Has Asthma

cat panting in the car

Another reason for panting in cats may be asthma, which is a very common condition in cats. Asthma is a condition that causes frequent lung inflammation and often leads to severe coughing and respiratory issues, which are difficult symptoms for cats to deal with. 

As asthma causes breathing difficulties, cats may start to pant in order to breathe.

If your kitty suffers from asthma, then that may be one of the causes for panting. However, if your cat starts panting all of a sudden, it may have developed this issue over time and now requires a vet’s help.

Possible Solution

If your kitty has already been diagnosed with asthma, then you probably know that this issue may lead to the cat panting, and you already know what to do in that case.

However, if your cat has never had asthma before, then here’s what you need to do. First of all, you should take your cat to the emergency vet clinic and ask for professional help. Make sure you remember the cat’s symptoms and body language so that you can help the vet determine the underlying cause. 

After the examination, if the vet determines that the main cause for your cat panting is asthma, then they will provide you with further information on how to treat it.

There are three different treatments that are often used for asthma, and they include oral, injected, and inhaled drugs. 

The most common medications used to treat feline asthma are corticosteroids. You can consult with your vet on which type of treatment you should use or which one is the most effective.

Still, there are some things you can do to decrease the risk of feline asthma occurring and these things include:

• A clean, dust-free environment

• Using fragrance-free cat litter

• Avoiding heavy perfumes or harsh chemicals

• Changing air filters frequently

• Not smoking around your cat

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Cause No. 4 – The Cat Has Respiratory Issues

 British Lilac Shorthair kitten panting

A severe condition that can cause cats to pant is related to respiratory issues or respiratory infections.

Respiratory distress usually happens as a result of a cold, just as in humans, and the most common symptoms in cats are:

• Coughing


• Wheezing

• Weakness and lethargy

Stuffy nose

Watery eyes, etc.

Because of these respiratory issues, cats may have breathing difficulties which may cause them to pant. Still, the reason for cats panting may also be due to some type of respiratory infection. 

These issues can usually be treated at home, but I always suggest a vet visit as they can help you better and prescribe the appropriate medications for a specific issue.

Possible Solution

In order to calm a panting cat due to respiratory illnesses or infections, I advise you to visit the vet, just in case. Of course, the vet will first examine the cat and, based on the diagnosis, prescribe appropriate treatment. 

While a simple cold can be treated at home, respiratory infections require professional help. Therefore, after the examination, the vet will prescribe certain antibiotics that will clear the infection up properly and solve the panting issue.

Cause No. 5 – The Cat May Have Heart Failure

Funny red Scottish fold cat portrait looking shocked

Panting may be a common issue for cats who are prone to congestive heart failure or other heart problems. 

As the disease progresses, cats may have breathing difficulties due to the fluid build-up around the lungs and heart. That usually happens in severe cases, which may cause cats to pant as they’re in great pain.

Cats with heart diseases often show symptoms such as coughing, lethargy, breathing difficulties, shortness of breath, and similar signs that can help cat owners determine the underlying cause of panting in cats.

Possible Solution

If your kitty pants due to heart failure, a vet visit is essential. In severe cases, the vet may decide to hospitalize the cat until it gets better. Usually, during that time, the cat receives oxygen therapy and similar treatments in order to get better. 

If your cat starts feeling better and its overall condition is good, the vet will decide to release the cat home with prescribed medications.

Cause No. 6 – The Cat Accidentally Ingested A Foreign Object

exhausted calico maine coon cat outdoors in summer heat panting

The reason why your cat is panting may be that the cat accidentally ingested a foreign object. We all know that felines are curious creatures. 

Because of that, if they come across an interesting small object, that may be dangerous as they may ingest it accidentally while exploring or playing with it. 

Therefore if you’re a cat parent, you should be very careful to keep such objects away from your cat.

If your cat ingests such a foreign object, it may get stuck in the cat’s throat and block the airways, which is why they start panting as they cannot breathe normally.

Possible Solution

A cat ingesting a foreign object, resulting in panting, is a serious situation that requires an emergency vet examination.

When you come to the vet, ensure to tell them certain information about the cat’s condition, for example, how long has it been panting for, have you noticed any other symptoms, and similar.

After the vet examines the cat, they will be able to remove the object from the cat’s throat. In severe situations, the cat will need to be put under general anesthetic in order to safely remove the object.

Also, find out why is your cat coughing with its tongue out!

Cause No. 7 – The Cat Is Painting Due To Overexertion

British Shorthair Silver Tabby Male Cat panting

It’s possible that your cat is just panting due to overexertion. This issue happens often in older cats who are still playful and start panting after playtime, running, or jumping around without taking a break, and similar. 

In these situations, cats are often so preoccupied that they forget to take a break, which results in getting tired and panting.

This is a minor issue which means that you can calm your panting cat on your own, and it will be better in the blink of an eye.

Possible Solution

If you are taking your feline friend on an adventure, make sure you bring a cat backpack or a cat stroller to provide the cat with a safe spot in case it becomes too tired. 

These things may also be helpful if something frightens the cat on your way, so it’s always a good thing for them to have someplace to hide.

If your cat is panting due to overexertion, you should also pay attention to cooling it down to avoid overheating as a result of the cat being too energetic.

So, this is a minor issue that, luckily, doesn’t require professional veterinary help, just your attention.

Cause No. 8 – The Cat May Be Stressed

Blue tabby cat panting in hot weather

Do cats pant when they’re stressed? What do you think?

If you wonder whether stress can be the cause of a cat’s panting, the answer is yes, but luckily, it’s not a serious issue. 

If your cat starts panting, it’s crucial to monitor its behavior and body language, as well as checking for possible symptoms in order to determine the type of panting.

So, a cat may start showing some of the following signs of distress:

• Excessive hiding

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Hissing

Excessive meowing

A stressed cat may often have dilated pupils, swish its tail rapidly, or flatten its ears. So, if you notice some of these signs, followed by panting, it’s obvious that your cat is simply stressed.

Even though this is not a serious issue that requires immediate vet help, it’s still important to help your cat calm down, especially if you want to avoid further behavior problems.

Possible Solution

There are many different ways of helping a stressed cat and preventing it from panting. It all depends on the exact thing that causes stress to your cat.

For example, if the cat is frightened by loud and unfamiliar sounds and noises, you should provide it with a small, calm, secure room where it will be able to enjoy itself in peace.

If your cat is stressed due to litter box issues, then you should find the exact problem and solve it, or use a pheromone spray, and similar. 

So, in order to help your cat relax, the first thing you should do is to discover what stresses your pet cat and reduce or completely remove the thing that causes them stress.

Another important thing is that you need to stay calm. Most cat parents start worrying if their cat is having certain issues, but that way, you’re just transferring your nervousness to your cat, making it feel even more stressed. 

So, the key to the solution is to stay calm and be strong so you are able to help the cat with the problem.

Moreover, if your cat is panting due to stress, it’s important to keep the cat cool and provide it with a lot of love and affection in order to reassure it that it’s completely safe and that everything is going to be alright.

Cause No. 9 – The Cat Has Heartworms

cat panting loudly outdoor

Another of the possible causes of cat’s panting is heartworm issues. Heartworms are actually blood-borne parasites that are found in the cat’s heart or large blood vessels. 

These parasites are spread by mosquitoes and they can be quite dangerous for felines. This condition can badly affect our cats, and due to heartworm disease, cats may start showing symptoms such as:

• Diarrhea

• Vomiting

• Coughing

• Gagging


Breathing problems

• Loss of appetite, etc.

As one of these symptoms refers to cat breathing problems, it’s possible for cats to pant due to heartworm disease, and if you want to save your cat, then you should take it to the vet as soon as you notice something suspicious or spot some of these symptoms.

Possible Solution

Unfortunately, heartworms in cats cannot be cured completely as there’s no appropriate medication for this issue in cats. There is a heartworm medication for dogs; however, it cannot be used for cats as it may cause serious side effects.

Still, with appropriate veterinary care, this issue can be treated. One of the medications that might help with this issue is corticosteroids which can help reduce inflammation. 

In severe situations where cats have respiratory issues due to not receiving enough oxygen, they may need oxygen therapy.

Still, the most important thing to do is to prevent this issue from developing at all, and that depends on you. So, to keep your feline friend healthy and safe, you should provide it with a monthly heartworm preventative medication and take it for regular vet checks.

Time For A Vet-Check

Veterinarian doctor is making a check up of a cute beautiful cat

As previously mentioned, panting may be a sign of both minor and serious conditions. Your job as a pet parent is to put your pet’s health first. Therefore, you should also know when it is time to take your cat for a vet check.

So, if your cat starts panting and showing some of the following serious symptoms, you should take it to the vet for an examination.

• Heavy drooling


• Diarrhea

• Bright red tongue

• Weakness and lethargy

• Bleeding from the nose

Moreover, if you notice that something isn’t quite alright with your cat and you don’t know how to help it or what could be the cause, you can always contact your veterinarian or take the cat to the vet preventively.

According to the Cornell University School Of Veterinary Medicine, panting is a clinical sign that is common, especially in older cats or obese ones.

Old cats are not as energetic as they used to be, so any action that requires more energy may quickly result in tiredness and lead to panting. Because of that, you need to pay special attention to your old cat and keep it cool all the time. 

Obese cats may also pant due to different respiratory problems that they may have. So, if you have an older cat or an obese one, make sure you monitor their behavior often and contact your vet if they start panting as well as showing other symptoms. 

Moreover, some cat breeds are genetically more prone to panting or similar respiratory issues, mostly due to their long coats or flat faces. Some of these cat breeds include Persians, Maine Coons, Exotic Shorthairs, British Shorthairs, Ragdolls, Siberian cats, and similar ones.

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Final Thoughts

This article provides you with 9 causes and possible solutions for cat panting. It is a clinical sign that your cat has certain issues that require special help.

Most cat parents start worrying and wonder how to calm a panting cat? Luckily, your nightmare ends now, and you don’t need to panic anymore. 

The reason for that is that this article helps you learn all the possible causes of cat panting and possible solutions that you can use.

It’s important to mention that there are minor and severe conditions that cause panting in cats; therefore, some issues will require professional help.

I hope that this article helped you and that you’ll manage to solve the panting issue successfully. Just ensure you monitor your cat’s behavior, check for symptoms, contact the vet if necessary, and stay calm. I assure you, everything will be fine!

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