Why is my kitty panting

When an adult cat gasps, the first thing we have to do is worry, it is not normal for these animals to pant. But if the one who does it is a kitten, the case could be even more serious if possible, because his life could be in danger.

With this in mind, we have to know why my kitten is panting and what to do so that the situation does not get worse.

There are a few physiological causes why your cat may pant with its mouth open. It is necessary that you take it into account to know if it is a reason why you have to go to the vet or if it is not necessary.

High temperatures

Kittens can pant for various reasons. The most common is that of high temperatures. If we have a garden and we are in the middle of summer with about 35ºC or more, if we see that they pant at first we will not be scared, since that is a way that they regulate their body temperature . Now, if they are panting indoors and their rectal temperature is 39ºC or more, then we will have to take them to the vet as they will have a fever.

Heart or breathing problems


Another cause is that they have cardiovascular disorders. Although they are not common in kittens, it is convenient to do a check-up if we suspect that they have a heart problem, especially if they come from the street, as they could have heartworm disease ( filariasis ), caused by parasites.

You may see him pant continuously or frequently, and it will always be necessary to see a veterinary professional to make sure it is not a worrisome heart or respiratory disease. We cannot rule out respiratory disorders, such as asthma. The kitten’s body has to make a greater effort to be able to inhale the amount of oxygen it needs, therefore, it is necessary to consult a professional as soon as possible.


Whether it is a kitten that goes outside or not, another cause of panting is poisoning. In the home and outside there are several products that are toxic to him. Once ingested, in addition to panting, you will have trouble breathing, excessive drooling, difficulty standing, nausea, and / or seizures . In these cases, the animal should be urgently taken to the vet.

Flehmen’s reflection

You may have ever seen your cat with its mouth open … but without panting. This usually happens when you have smelled something that you liked or that simply caught your eye . This is called the Flehmen reflex.

It is a reflex that occurs in cats thanks to their vomeronasal organ or Jacobson’s organ . This organ is located between the palate and the nostrils of felines.

It is a reflex where the cat smells from its mouth and uses its tongue to move it towards this very special organ. In this way it can analyze the smell deeply, although its objective is to analyze the pheromones in the urine of other cats and thus know if it is male or female, if a feline is in heat, or if a territory is already owned .

Although in your home you can see your cat do this after smelling a blanket or a sock, for example. In this case, it is not necessary to take him to the vet.

He’s very tired

Dogs do pant because they are tired, but cats do not, since they always breathe through their noses. For this reason, panting is rare for a cat and it is normal for owners to be concerned if they see their cat pant.

Although cats, when they are tired because for example they have done a lot of exercise in a short period of time or when they are very hot, they can pant occasionally and will open their mouths. Once he rests, he will return to normal and close his mouth and stop panting . In this case, you don’t need to take him to the vet either.

Feel a lot of stress


Cats can also feel very stressed at certain times, for example when they are in the carrier on the way to the vet. This acute stress can make the cat pant. Once the stress is gone and your feline is feeling better, it will stop panting so it is not something to worry about.

Pathologies that will make your cat pant with its mouth open

The points that we have just seen are not worrisome because they are punctual gasps and that pass by themselves when the cat returns to an optimal state of calm. But, on the other hand, there are some pathologies that can make cats pant with their mouths open and that also require a visit to the vet.

Has something in the mouth

For example, you may have problems in your mouth , jaw, when something strange is stuck in it, or if you have been bitten by an insect in your mouth. When this happens you will see how your cat eats less, has its mouth open all the time, panting or drooling. You may even have bad breath.


If your cat is panting and / or has an open mouth, it may be caused by anemia. The cat has fewer red blood cells (responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood) and must breathe faster and pant to achieve this. In this case, it is important to go to the vet to know how to help him.


If your cat is over 8 years old and you have noticed that he is panting, it is important to go to the vet to rule out hyperthyroidism . If you suffer from this disease, you will also have noticed that you are losing weight but have not lost your appetite, but you eat more but lose weight.

You may have realized that there are many reasons why your cat may pant and / or have its mouth open. Some reasons are reasons to go to the vet and others are not. Sometimes it is something natural and in others it is necessary for a veterinary professional to assess his health to rule out any problem and above all, to find the appropriate treatment in each specific case.



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