Why is my cat breathing fast?
Tachypnea, or rapid breathing in cats, is another name for it. Let’s first determine what a cat’s normal respiratory (breathing) rate is. They would typically breathe 20 to 30 times per minute. Count the number of breaths your cat takes while dozing off to determine his or her resting respiratory rate. Exhaling and inhaling both count as one breath (when the chest rises) and another (when the chest falls). When you measure your cat’s respiratory rate, it’s crucial that they are not purring. Typically, their resting breathing rate is a little lower than their sleeping breathing rate.
To keep track of how many breaths you take during that 30-second period, time them using your phone or watch. To determine how many breaths your cat takes in a minute, multiply the number of breaths you counted by two.
Causes of Fast Breathing in Cats
Your veterinarian should be consulted as soon as possible if your cat exhibits fast breathing, which could be an indication of a number of injuries or illnesses. Among the potential reasons are:
- Emotional distress
- Heart disease or heart failure
- Pain, stress, or shock
- Tumors in the throat or chest
- Respiratory infection
- Low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxia)
- Low levels of red blood cells (anemia)
- Pulmonary edema (lungs filling with fluid)
- Bleeding into the lungs
- Foreign objects lodged in the windpipe or other airway obstruction
- Trauma, exposure to toxins, or injury
- Pleural effusion (abnormal buildup of fluid in the chest cavity)
Signs of Fast Breathing in Cats
You may notice a number of indicators if your cat is breathing quickly, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Belly and chest are both moving with each breath
- Loud breathing
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Panting or breathing with an open mouth (like a dog)
- Nostrils flaring
- Rapidly rising and falling stomach or chest
- Blue-colored gums
If your cat seems to be breathing more quickly than usual, look for and eliminate any potential contributing factors. Consider moving your cat to a cooler, quieter area right away if he has been exposed to the hot sun, emotional distress, or anxiety. Make sure he drinks plenty of water.
Breathing rate is a marker of general health, therefore if your cat starts breathing rapidly when dozing off (consistently more than 30 breaths per minute), this could be a first clinical sign of heart failure. Lower rates might not be a problem if your pet is generally acting properly. The ideal breathing rate for your cat should be determined on an individual basis. Keep in mind that for some cats, your veterinarian may consider rates lower than 30 breaths per minute to be increased and abnormal.
The severity of your pet’s illness, the likelihood that they will require overnight hospital stays, and the cost of treating heart failure can all be lowered with your careful observation.
What to Do If Your Cat Is Breathing Fast
After watching your cat for a few of hours, if you notice that its breathing is regularly rapid, call our veterinarian as soon as you can so they can advise you on what to do next. It’s possible that your cat only needs a prescription change. If you also notice other symptoms or if your symptoms have gotten worse, there may be a medical emergency.
Diagnosis of Fast Breathing in Cats
Your veterinarian will evaluate the extent of your cat’s rapid breathing, listen to their chest to rule out any heart murmurs, lung fluid, or other causes, and look at the color of their gums to determine whether their organs are receiving the proper amount of oxygen. Additionally, your cat will be stabilized and given a consistent flow of oxygen. Following the completion of blood tests to rule out any underlying conditions or diseases, the heart and lungs will be examined using x-rays and/or ultrasounds. We use in-house diagnostic equipment at our hospital to make the most precise diagnoses of medical conditions and tailor treatment regimens to your pet’s requirements.
Treatment of Fast Breathing in Cats
In addition to placing an IV catheter so that emergency medications and fluids can be given intravenously, a constant supply of oxygen may also be provided. Naturally, the course of treatment will depend on the problems your cat is having. Fluid from the chest will be taken out and examined to check for pleural effusion. If heart disease is a concern, tests such as an echocardiogram and heart x-rays may be conducted. These can show how the heart is working and how big it is. Keep as calm as you can if your cat is experiencing respiratory distress. Your veterinarian can provide you with some transportation advice if your cat finds traveling stressful.
If your cat appears to be breathing quickly, there may be an emergency. At the first indication of rapid breathing in cats, always have them examined by a qualified veterinarian. If the rapid breathing stops after a few minutes, start writing down information for your veterinarian about the time it lasted, what was going on before and after, and the date it happened. These astute observations can aid in defining triggers and reducing the number of potential causes.