How 20to 20Help 20My 20Cat 20Breathe 20Better 20at 20Home 20 1

While panting is common in dogs, it’s much less common in cats and can indicate
a more severe health issue. If you notice your cat panting or laboured
breathing, you’ll want to take a look at the following criteria:

  • Why your cat panting is
  • What is your cat doing or
    experiencing right before you notice your cat panting?
  • What causes your cat to pant
    when it’s overheated, anxious or after a strenuous exercise session?
  • When should you seek
    emergency veterinary care for your cat’s laboured breathing?

Your cat panting should stop once it can cool, calm, or rest. There are
three main types of breathing issues that cats experience: panted breathing,
tachypnea, or dyspnea. Each condition has a wide range of causes, some more
serious than others. No matter what type of breathing issue you suspect
your cat may have, visiting your veterinarian is always a good idea.

In this cat blog, we’ll walk you through
the treatment options veterinarians use to treat breathing issues in cats. Then
you bring your cat to the vet for breathing problems; your vet may need to give
you sedation to help relieve stress and anxiety. They may also need to
administer supplemental oxygen to help stabilise your cat’s breathing. In the
most severe cases, they may need to perform a chest tap to help expand the

Understanding The Significance Of Respiratory
Health In Cats

Understanding 20The 20Significance 20Of 20Respiratory 20Health 20In 20Cats

Cats can get respiratory infections, especially if they live in crowded
places like shelters, breeding cages, and colonies of cats. Various viruses,
bacteria and fungi can cause these infections and hurt your feline’s health.
Vaccines have helped reduce the number of serious respiratory illnesses in
cats, but they haven’t stopped the viruses and fungi that cause them to spread.

Cats can get infections in both their upper and lower respiratory tract,
which includes the nose and sinuses, the oral cavity, the back of the mouth,
the pharynx, and the larynx. If you have an upper respiratory tract infection,
you may have clear or coloured discharge coming out of your eyes or nose. You
may also cough or sneeze a lot. You may also have ulcers in your mouth, be
lethargic, anorexic, or have trouble breathing – in rare cases, you may need to
take more than 35 breaths a minute when resting.

The following are some of the most common respiratory infections and
their treatments:


Feline herpes virus (FVR) is a common infection affecting young and
adolescent cats. Approximately 97% of cats will be exposed to the Feline herpes
virus at some point, and about 80% to 80% of cats will have a lifelong
infection. About 45% of cats will shed the virus at least once in their
lifetime, usually when stressed.

Diagnosis of FVR is usually made by recognising upper respiratory
symptoms in young and unvaccinated cats, recurrent conjunctivitis, or
keratitis, in older cats, and results from various diagnostic tests. PCR
(polymerase chain reaction) detects viral DNA, while virus isolation tests
detect the presence of the virus by culturing it from clinical samples.
Treatments for FVR depend on several
factors, including the severity of the disease.


Proper supportive care, such as adequate nutrition and hydration, is
essential. In some cases, nasal decongestants can be beneficial. The stress of
medication administration may worsen bouts of FVR. Acute patients of FVR in
young cats may be treated with antiviral drugs to treat lesions on corneal or
upper respiratory signs. Systemic antibiotics can control secondary bacterial
infections that are common with FVR. n most cases, recurrent FVR or
keratitis/conjunctivitis can be managed with antiviral drugs, drugs like
corticosteroids and by reducing stress caused by overcrowded living conditions,
surgery, the addition of new cats or moving.

Lysine supplementation is occasionally recommended. However, this
treatment is controversial as several studies have shown that lysine
supplements are ineffective and may worsen symptoms and promote FVR shedding.

Once infected, cats live with the
infection for the rest of their lives and may have recurrent bouts of the upper
respiratory tract and eye disease. These flare-ups are usually mild and resolve
independently, but in rare cases, infections can lead to more severe illness
and death in cats with concomitant health issues. All cats should be vaccinated
against feline herpes.

Current vaccines will not prevent infection in every case, but they will
significantly reduce the severity of the disease and the virus shedding. This
is good news for other susceptible cats, especially those living with the
vaccinated cat.



Feline Calicivirus is one of the most
contagious and common viruses in cat populations worldwide. About 10% of cats
in small groups become infected with the virus, and up to 90% of cats in more
crowded areas such as shelters or breeding catteries. Most cats that get
calicivirus show upper respiratory symptoms, but the virus can also spread to
other parts of the respiratory system and cause pneumonia. Viral pneumonia can
be aggravated by secondary bacterial infections in the lungs, causing increased
difficulty breathing. On rare occasions, susceptible cats may have inflammation
or ulceration in the mouth.

most severe systemic form of calicivirus, which is fatal in about two-thirds of
cats, causes swelling in the head and limbs, crusting sores on the nose, loss
of hair in the eyes, and yellowish jaundice in the mouth and ears. Cats may
also bleed in the gastrointestinal tract, under the skin, and in rare cases,
they may have temporary limping when they are infected or after receiving
calicivirus vaccines.
Suppose your vet suspects you have calicivirus
because of oral ulcers and symptoms. In that case, they can confirm it with a
technique called RT-PCR, which looks for the genetic material of the virus in
blood samples or swabs taken from your mouth or eyes. They can also grow the
virus in the lab from clinical samples.

You’ll need to care for yourself and ensure
you’re getting enough hydration and nutrition. This can be difficult since
painful lesions in your mouth can make eating and drinking difficult, and
congested nostrils can block your sense of smell that makes you want to eat.
Non-steroids can help reduce your oral pain, and you’ll need to clear your
nasal passages with drugs to break down the mucous, give yourself a nebuliser,
and wipe with a saline solution regularly.

How 20to 20Help 20My 20Cat 20Breathe 20Better 20at 20Home

A feeding tube around your mouth may be the
best option until oral lesions disappear.
Antibiotics can treat secondary bacterial
infections in your cat’s mouth and respiratory tract, but most antiviral drugs
available for cats are ineffective or have serious side effects.


Some cats with severe systemic Calicivirus
infection improve when given a corticosteroid-interferon combination, but
further testing is needed to determine the safety and efficacy of this
treatment before it can be recommended routinely.

Some veterinarians suggest giving your cat
a thorough dental cleaning, in addition to immune-modulating medications,
antibiotics and pain relieving medications, to treat chronic oral ulcers.
However, controlled studies are still needed to determine the best approach for
this aspect of your calicivirus cat’s infection. 
Your cat’s prognosis depends on the severity
of their symptoms. Some cats with uncomplicated Upper respiratory disease,
pneumonia or oral ulcers will recover in a few days or weeks, and others with
severe systemic illness will have a much worse prognosis.

Vaccination against feline calicivirus is
recommended for all healthy cats. Although the vaccine is not 100%
protective, it does reduce the likelihood of severe disease. Vaccines
do not prevent the shedding of this ubiquitous virus or cure already
infected cats.



Chlamydiosis is caused by the Chlamydia felis, which cannot survive
without direct contact with its host. Transmission occurs via eye secretions.
Chlamydiosis is most common in young cats and cats in the high-density shelter
and breeding cattery environments. About 20% of cats have upper respiratory
symptoms, and about 3% have healthy-looking cats with C. felis infection.

Most infected cats present with
conjunctivitis, characterised by eye discharge that is usually clear but may
contain mucous and have a yellowish pus-like appearance over time. In rare
cases, infected cats may lose appetite and be lethargic. The most effective way
to test for infection is by PCR, which can be done by swabbing eye swabs with
the organism or by growing the organism in the laboratory, although this method
is less sensitive than PCR.

Testing can also be done on unvaccinated cats. Chlamydiosis can be
treated with antibiotics, although topical application to the eyes is more effective
than systemic treatment. The outlook for infected cats with chlamydiosis is
generally reasonable.
While immunisations are available, they do not prevent illness but
rather reduce the severity of the symptoms. Vaccination is advised for cats
living in multi-cat households and those already diagnosed with felis.


Cats can be infected with various fungal species that can cause
respiratory disease. The most common type of fungal disease in cats is
cryptococcus neoformans (C. neoformans), a fungal infection caused by the
inhalation of fungal spores. This infection can remain in the nasal cavity or spread
to other body areas, such as the central nervous system (CNS) or the lower
respiratory tract (LRRT).

This organism is widespread, with about 4% of cats asymptomatically
carriers. Cats are about six times more likely to get the disease after
exposure to this organism than dogs. Cats of all ages are susceptible to this
infection. Bird droppings or decaying plant matter can be a source of
neoformans, and pigeons are also common carriers.

The most common form of neoformans in cats is the nasal form, which
causes nasal or facial swelling. Cats may also sneeze, have chronic nasal
discharge that can become blood-stained, and may develop wounds that do not
heal. Cats affected by this type of fungal infection may also show changes in the
tone of vocalisations, noisy breathing, snoring, and anorexia. They may also
lose weight and more.

While immunisations are available, they do not prevent illness but
rather reduce the severity of the symptoms. Vaccination is advised for cats
living in multi-cat households and those already diagnosed with felis.

Taking The Initiative To Help Your Cat Breathe Easier 

Taking 20The 20Initiative 20To 20Help 20Your 20Cat 20Breathe 20Easier

Breathing problems in cats can range from panted breathing to tachypnea
or dyspnea. Various factors can cause each of these conditions, some more
serious than others. Regardless of the cause, it’s always a good idea to visit
your veterinarian if your cat has trouble breathing.

When your cat has breathing problems, it may require sedation to help
with stress and anxiety. Your veterinarian may also need to administer supplemental
oxygen to help stabilise your cat’s breathing. In more severe cases, they may
need to perform a chest tap to help expand the lungs. Once your cat is stable,
your vet will evaluate their condition by doing several tests, such as:

  • A complete blood count and chemical panel are required.
  • Echocardiogram and chest x-rays
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Serology tests are used to detect symptoms of infectious illness.
  • Fluid samples from or near the airways or lungs are examined.

Once all the test results are in and the specific reason for your cat’s
breathing difficulties has been determined, a treatment plan will be developed.

When a cat has trouble breathing, the underlying cause is treated, not
just the symptoms. This is the case unless there is a blockage in the airway,
in which case the underlying cause will be treated. For example, if your cat
has asthma, your veterinarian may prescribe two medications to help your cat
breathe: an anti-inflammatory, such as prednisolone, or a dilator, such as
albuterol or terbutaline. If an infection is causing your cat to have trouble
breathing, your veterinarian will prescribe an antibiotic to treat that

If your cat has heart disease, your veterinarian will also prescribe
drugs to help your cat’s blood pressure and improve the heart’s ability to pump
blood. These drugs can include enalapril (for example), furosemide (for instance),
pimobendan (for instance), or a combination of the two. Cats with heart disease
often require special diets. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, and
radiation therapy.
The most common reason for surgery for a cat with respiratory distress
is airway obstruction.

However, this is not the only cause of surgery. Surgery may also be
necessary for a cat with the following:

  • Cervical cancer (cancer of the lining of the blood vessels around the
  • Lymphoma (inflammation of the lymph nodes in the lungs)
  • Pulmonary effusion (the fluid or gas surrounding the lungs)
  • Trauma

Once your cat has been assessed and treated according to your
veterinarian’s recommendations, your cat’s diet and fluids will need to be
carefully monitored. It is essential to keep your cat indoors and comfortable
as long as possible. Your cat’s medications should be administered exactly as
your veterinarian has prescribed them for optimal results. If your cat starts
to breathe and acts better, don’t stop the cat’s antibiotics. The problem can
come back. Always consult your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Cats With Dyspnea: Abnormal Breathing

Cats 20With 20Dyspnea 20Abnormal 20Breathing

If your cat’s breathing is laboured but not too hot, stressed, or tired
from exercise, it could be symptomatic of a severe medical condition. That’s
when emergency veterinary treatment may be needed.

  • Asthma

The most common signs of asthma in cats are: panting, wheezing, coughing
increased respiratory rate asthma isn’t always curable, but it can be treated
with a corticosteroid or a bronchodilator.

  • Heartworm

Heartworm can also affect your cat’s breathing. In severe cases,
heartworm treatment includes supportive care with anti-inflammatory
corticosteroids and oxygen therapy. Heartworm disease can be life-threatening,
so it’s essential to ensure your cat is taking a monthly heartworm prevention

  • Hydrothorax
    & Congestive Heart Failure

Hydrothorax is a condition in which fluid builds up in and around your
lungs. It can cause your cat to breathe deeply and quickly, cough, and pant.
Treatment may involve draining fluid from your lungs. It may also include
medications that dilate your blood vessels, remove excess fluid from your
lungs, and increase your heart rate.


  • Respiratory

If your cat has a respiratory infection, it can be difficult for them to
breathe easily. Respiratory disease in cats can cause laboured breathing or
excessive panting. Most respiratory infections in cats start as viral
infections but can also develop secondary bacterial infections. You may need to
treat your cat’s condition with antibiotics to help them breathe better. As
your cat gets better, using humidifiers and steam will help to loosen mucus and
improve nasal breathing.

Tan 20Illustration 20Six 20Facts 20About 20Cats 20Infographic

Making Your Home Cat-Friendly

International Cat Care experts
also say how you act and what kind of life you lead can significantly impact
your cat’s well-being. Since cats are a territorial species, the environment is
everything! First, you’ll need to ensure you have the right equipment and
facilities for your cat, especially if you keep them indoors or give them
limited outdoor access. Even if you’ve not decided to housebound your cat, you
may still have to confine them indoors for ill health reasons or have one that
only goes out occasionally because it’s nervous or getting older. 

All in all, there’s no reason why these cat-friendly home tips shouldn’t
work for all pet cats, regardless of whether they have unrestricted outdoor
access! When you’re in charge of making all the decisions for your cat, like
where to eat or go to the bathroom, your cat’s ability to choose based on what
you like and don’t like is compromised. If you’re making those decisions based
on what you think is important to you, you might be causing your cat’s life a
bit less than ideal. 


Cats have unique needs, so food, shelter, and love are insufficient. All
of these are important, but it’s about how much of each. There are some
practical challenges regarding what kind of cat bed to give your cat, where to
find scratching posts, and what type of litter your cat would like. A
cat-friendly home looks after the needs of cats, which are different from
humans. It’s a safe and exciting place to live, but it’s important to remember
that most homes aren’t perfect for cats, so you must ensure it meets their

You might have heard the term ‘environmental enrichment’ used to
describe how to keep your cat happy indoors. It means ensuring your cat’s
environment is stimulating and challenging, so they can do what they’re
naturally meant to do. Living indoors almost means your cat won’t be able to do
what they’re meant to, and they’ll miss out on the fun and excitement
of being outdoors. 

While indoor cats will adjust to their new home, they can suffer from
various physical and emotional issues caused by being bored and unmotivated.
Without the excitement of hunting, exploration and social interaction, cats
will find ways to fill the void with things that are easy to do, such as sleep,
groom and eat. Unsurprisingly, indoor cats suffer from physical issues caused
by being sedentary, such as urinary tract disease (UTD), over-grooming and
eating disorders.    

Optimising Respiratory Health Nutrition

Optimising 20Respiratory 20Health 20Nutrition

A cat’s respiratory health is one of the most critical aspects of its well-being.
Just like people, cats can suffer from respiratory problems that can affect the
quality of their life. As your cat’s owner, it is essential to ensure your pet gets the proper nutrition to support its respiratory system. A cat’s breathing
rate is directly related to its respiratory health. Cats with a compromised
respiratory system may experience symptoms such as:

  • Coughing
  • wheezing
  • Sneezing
  •  Nasal discharge
  • Difficulty breathing

Omega-3 fatty acids: These essential fatty acids have anti-inflammatory
properties that help to reduce inflammation in your cat’s respiratory tract.
Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish oil and certain seafood.

Antioxidant: Antioxidants play an essential role in supporting your
cat’s respiratory system, as they help to fight off free radicals that can harm
cells in your cat’s respiratory tract. Vitamins A, C, and E are excellent
antioxidants, and you can add them to your cat’s food by adding them to certain
fruits and vegetables like carrots and blueberries.

L-Lysteine: This amino acid is well-known for its immunosuppressive
properties, and it can help to manage respiratory conditions caused by viruses
like feline herpesvirus. Talk to your veterinarian about the correct dosage of
L-Lysteine for your cat.

Tips For Respiratory Health Nutrition In Cats

Tips 20For 20Respiratory 20Health 20Nutrition 20In 20Cats

Moisture-rich diet: Provide your cat with a moisture-rich diet to
maintain their respiratory tract’s moisture levels. Include water in your cat’s
diet to help prevent dryness and irritation of the respiratory tract.

Food Sensitivities: Certain cats may have food sensitivities or be
allergic to ingredients that can cause respiratory issues. Identify any food
allergens your cat may be sensitive to and eliminate them from their diet.
Common food allergens include grains, dairy products, and specific protein

Gradual dietary changes: Introducing new foods or changes should be done
gradually. Sudden changes in diet can lead to digestive upset and may worsen
respiratory symptoms. To minimise adverse effects, Try introducing a new diet
to your cat over a few days.

Schedule regular vet check-ups: Schedule a routine check-up with your
veterinarian to monitor your pet’s respiratory health. Your veterinarian will
be able to provide valuable insights and will be able to recommend specific
dietary adjustments to your cat based on their individual needs.

Encouragement Of Physical Activity And Exercise For Your Cats

Add 20a 20subheading 20 3

Do Cats Need Exercise?  PetMD experts believe that  When cats are active, they are helping keep their body weight in check and get the
stimulation they need to maintain emotional and behavioural health. To help you
and your cat contact the exercise you need, we’ve compiled a list of some of
the best ways to exercise your feline friends, and some of the best cat
workouts you can do that will be enjoyable for you and your feline friends. The
time of day your cat is most active is dawn and dusk. Scheduling playtime
around these times can help keep your cat more interested. Playtime can also be
planned around their meals so that you can include food in their daily routine.

Play sessions should last about
10 to 15 minutes. Older cats may have two to three play sessions a day, while
younger cats may have up to 10 play sessions a day. Your cat will tell you if
it’s time to play. If it’s bored, it’ll walk away or won’t even look at the
toys you’re setting up.

If it’s an interested kitty,
they’ll be keen to participate, play around with cat toys (including chasing a
laser pointer), and respond positively to you when you interact with them (no biting,
scratching, or hissing). If they start to pant or breathe too heavily, give
them a break and let them rest. Remember, playtime is for fun for cats!


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