Panting in Cats – Is it normal?

cat pant 1

Panting can actually be an indication of many different things with cats.

This information will help you to recognize potential illness in your cat so you can take the appropriate action.

Waiting too long when something is wrong with them could their life.

Is it Normal for Cats to Pant?

Panting is not a typical or normal behavior with a cat like it is a dog. The fact is that panting is a dog’s way of regulating their body temperature, but a cat doesn’t have to do this. A lot of cats pant very quietly, so you may barely be able to tell that they are.

Reasons for Panting in Cats

There are numerous possible explanations for panting in cats. Some of these reasons are not a problem while others can be quite serious.

Your Cat is Simply Excited

It is a possibility that your cat is breathing out of its mouth like that because it is so excited. This could be due to smelling some catnip or even just seeing you walk through the door after being alone all day.

Cats can definitely act very strangely when they are excited, and panting is just one way for this feeling to manifest. If this is the case, it is perfectly harmless and should not be discouraged.

cat panting

They are Too Hot

Cats can overheat just like dogs, and they sometimes pant for this reason. Their tongue protrudes from their mouth, sticking out so all of the water on it can evaporate. This helps with bringing down their overall body temperature.

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If you don’t have central air conditioning at home, your cat might end up doing this to get cool. While it not extremely common for cats to do this, it has been known to happen from time to time.

When you notice that your cat is getting very hot, you will need to make a point of getting it cooled down. You can run a washcloth under cold water and gently run it over their coat. This can do wonders for making them more comfortable on those hot summer days.

Since cats have very thin skin, they can succumb to heatstroke quite easily. This is precisely why you will need to make a point of keeping your kitty at a normal temperature.

Dental Disease

If your cat has problems with dental disease, they could avoid closing their mouth because it hurts to do so. This is actually a fairly common explanation for this behavior in cats. It can be quite serious if it is not treated early on.


There is a chance that your cat is panting because it has asthma. While this is pretty uncommon among these animals, it is still a possibility. If a cat’s asthma is bad enough, it can actually be fatal. Your veterinarian can prescribe certain medications that will be able to help your cat.

If your cat has allergies, something could trigger their asthma to act up as well. This can be anything from pollen to a certain food they ate. Some of the most common symptoms of Cat Asthma include wheezing and difficulty breathing. 

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Your veterinarian will be able to run some tests and examine your cat to determine if this is indeed the case.

They are Dehydrated

It is possible that your cat is panting because it is dehydrated. You need to make a point of keeping your cat’s water bowl filled, especially if you do not have air conditioning in your home. This will ensure that dehydration does not become a problem for your pet, and it can be very serious.

panting cat


Heartworms in particular can cause a lot of damage to a cat’s body. Cats that are infected with these worms can sometimes begin panting due to the overall strain on their body. These worms are very difficult to remove with surgery due to their sensitive location. Fortunately, modern medication usually works wonders at getting rid of them.

If your cat has heartworms, you need to get them treated immediately. These worms can cause a lot of other symptoms, including weight loss, lack of appetite, and vomiting off and on. It is a very serious problem that demands prompt treatment.

Neurological Disease

Certain neurological diseases can cause panting in cats. These diseases become more common as the animal gets older. Some cats are more prone to these issues than others though.

When to See a Veterinarian

You should take your cat to a veterinarian as soon as possible if you notice frequent panting from your cat. This could indicate a serious condition that requires attention. While it can be normal for cats to pant some of the time, this should not be an everyday occurrence. 

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You will need to get your pet checked out so the vet can determine the root cause of this. It is most likely a symptom of something bigger if it is happening on a regular basis. The last thing you want to do is to wait a long time to get them looked at, because by then it might be too late.


  • While it is true that cats aren’t known for panting like dogs, it is something these animals do sometimes.
  • Some cats start panting for the same reason dogs do—they are overheated and need to cool down.
  • You should try to keep the inside of your home at a comfortable temperature for your cat, as these animals can develop heatstroke very quickly.
  • There is always the possibility that your cat has asthma, which only affects a very small percentage of these animals.
  • Dental disease is another reason that your cat might keep its mouth open and pant. Look for inflamed and/or red gums.
  • Your cat’s panting could be due to it being so excited for whatever reason. Many of these animals are little balls of energy that are constantly ready to burst.
  • Heartworms can also cause panting in cats, so you should keep this in mind.