House cats sometimes pant when they are feeling anxious or after excessive exercise. If anxiety or physical exertion can be ruled out and a house cat is still panting, the cat should be taken to a veterinarian to check for health problems.
Since it helps the cat’s body cool down, panting can sometimes be a sign of overheating. If your cat is panting but has not been exposed to unusually high environmental temperatures, take her temperature rectally using a thermometer. A cat’s normal body temperature ranges from 100.4 to 102.5 Fahrenheit, so if your cat’s temperature is higher than 102.5, she has a fever and needs immediate veterinary attention.
Disorders of the feline respiratory system can sometimes lead to panting in house cats. If you are concerned about panting in your cat, have your veterinarian check for asthma, chronic lung disease or other potential respiratory problems that can lead to panting. Severe anemia in house cats can also lead to respiratory stress because the cat’s body has to work harder to inhale the necessary amount of oxygen.
Cardiovascular health problems in house cats commonly lead to panting. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is the most common heart disease found in cats and is known to cause panting. Other cardiovascular issues caused by parasitic diseases such as heartworm can also lead to panting, as they strain the cardiovascular system in house cats.
While panting can be caused by factors like heat, exercise and anxiety, it is uncommon enough in house cats to be a sign of distress and merit veterinary attention. If panting is accompanied by pale gums, irregular heartbeat, gastrointestinal problems or fainting, take your cat to the vet immediately.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.