How To Calm A Panting Cat?

How To Calm A Panting Cat

Dogs are known to pant, but what does it mean when your cat starts demonstrating this behavior? Panting in cats is not normal, so you need to work out what is going on as soon as possible to alleviate the problem.

Why Do Cats Pant?

Cats, like dogs, sometimes pant when confused, anxious, or hot. Another potential trigger is strenuous exercise.

This sort of behavior is much less common in cats when compared to dogs. The panting should cease once your cat rests, relaxes, and calms down. So if you are unsure why your cat is panting, and it doesn’t seem to cease, then it is best to take them to a veterinarian.

What Does A Panting Cat Look And Sound Like?

A panting cat will look and sound like a dog that is panting. They will usually have their mouth open while taking quick shallow breaths, and their tongue may also be hanging out of their mouth, and may move back and forth with each breath.

How To Calm A Panting Cat?

The first step is to figure out what is causing your cat’s unusual respiration. Is your cat too hot?  Maybe your cat has been having a wild and long adventure. Are they stressed out because they are in an unfamiliar environment, such as the veterinary clinic? Whatever the case, you should determine the factors that are causing your cat stress in order to resolve them.

Is Your Cat Too Warm?

Is Your Cat Too Warm?

Cats who are known to go out and explore are inclined to suffer more from panting as a result of over-excursion. If your cat is in this state, the best thing you can do for them is to help them calm down. Below, we have outlined some ways to help your cat settle down and return to a regular breathing pattern.

  • Use water to help cool down your cat – The best way for your cat to calm down is by drinking water. But if they won’t drink, you could attempt to pat them down using a damp towel.
  • Move your cat to a shaded or cool area – An airconditioned room is ideal.
  • Soak some fabric (or tissue) using water and place it over your cat’s neck, paws, and ears.
  • If your cat has a bandana or snood, soak it before putting it on them.
  • To help encourage your cat to drink water, soak their lips gently.
  • Another option is to invest in a cooling vest, such as an ice pack or a pet cooling pack that can be slotted into the back of a backpack.

Can A Panting Cat Be A Sign Of Heart Issues?

Even at a young age, cats can suffer from underlying heart issues. One common condition includes Cardiomyopathy (this is a structural disease affecting the heart muscle) that affects certain breeds more than others. According to the Cornell University School of Veterinary Medicine, cat breeds that are more prone to contracting cardiomyopathy include:

  • Ragdoll
  • Maine Coon
  • Sphynx
  • British Shorthair
  • Persian

Kittens can be born with this condition and once they grow up begin to develop symptoms. Moreover, senior cats are more likely to develop heart conditions, too, especially while they age. One notable condition is hyperthyroidism. Therefore, if you notice your cat panting regularly, especially if they are a senior cat, it could be the result of a possible heart condition.

When Does A Cat Panting Turn Into An Emergency?

A cat experiencing panting behavior turns into an emergency once your cat is struggling to breathe or isn’t getting enough oxygen. If your cat’s tongue changes color to either purple or blue, then you should take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Likewise, keep an eye on the sides of your cat’s stomach to evaluate how fast they are pushing air out of its lungs. If your cat is lying down on its side, not wanting to move around, and is forcing air in by moving their stomach muscles in and out at a rate of over 40 breaths per minute, then this is an indicator of respiratory distress.

Final Thoughts

Dogs are always seen panting and wagging their tails, however, this isn’t common in cats. 

Typically, it is the result of being too warm or over-exertion. So knowing what is causing this behavior is the first step to solving it. If it persists and you have tried all the above-mentioned methods to help your cat, then you should take them to the veterinarian immediately to get professional help.

We hope this guide has helped you understand what you need to know about cat panting and how to calm your cat if they are exhibiting this type of behavior.


Picture of Evelyn Baxter, Writer and Cat Expert

Evelyn Baxter, Writer and Cat Expert

Evelyn is an animal advocate, cat expert, and the proud mom of 2 rescue cats, Sugar, a beautiful fluffy tabby and Beebee, a black, fluffy beauty. Evelyn has studied animal care while volunteering at her local shelter. She loves all animals and wants to share the animal knowledge she has been lucky enough to gain together with knowledge from other experts with cat parents across the world.