Do Cats Pant Like Dogs? What Does It Mean?

Feline and canine creatures are quite different from each other. Sometimes it may even seem as though the two species come from different planets. But then again, they have so much in common that it may sound scary.

For example, some feline breeds are known for their dog-like loyalty. Others are known for their susceptibility to training to such an extent that you can take them for a walk on a leash. These, however, are not common cases, even though they aren’t exactly a rarity.

One thing in particular that all cats do is pant like dogs.

Even if you’ve never owned a canine pet before, you know what I’m talking about. The painfully looking, spasm-accompanied panting sounds, which come with stress, overheating, anxiety, and so forth. Doggies of all breeds and ages can experience such panting, which is most commonly known as stress panting. And so can cats.

Why do cats pant like dogs?

If felines are so different from dogs, then why do they pant like them? Well, the reasons for cat panting are the same as the reasons for dog panting.

Your cat may start panting from one or more of the following factors.

  • Anxiousness
  • Stress
  • Exhaustion
  • Overheating
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Heartworms and other cardiovascular problems
  • Neurological and other types of health disorders

As you can see, there are quite a few factors that could cause panting. Not all of them are life-threatening, but some of them could shorten your pet’s lifespan, such as the heartworms.

Is it normal for a cat to pant?

While panting is definitely not a phenomenon and can occur with every single kitty out there, it’s an indication that something’s wrong with your pet. In other words, it’s normal for a cat to pant, but you should never neglect it.

Panting means your precious furball is experiencing troubles with its respiratory system and difficulties with breathing in a natural way. However, it’s completely natural for cats to pant in some cases.

Overheating after a long and exhausting play session or other physical exercises leads to panting. Your kitty will get back to normal after it cools down, gets enough liquids and rests. Separation anxiety or stressful surroundings (the vet’s office, unfamiliar noisy house guests, etc.) can also cause panting. Once the kitty relaxes, everything will be fine.


Panting can indicate a new health disorder – whether it’s cardiovascular, neurological or something else. Neglecting the unnatural breathing means you’ll prolong your kitty’s suffering by not getting a diagnose at an early stage. What’s more, if the disorder is severe, it could pose fatal danger to your beloved feline friend.

I’m not trying to scare you with these facts.

There are numerous cases in which there’s no reason to get stressed out. On the other hand, persistent and re-occurring panting is definitely an alarming sign. Should this happen, you need to immediately call your vet and schedule a check-up. If you neglect this type of behavior, you’ll be putting the cat’s life at danger and increasing your healthcare fees significantly.

What to do if your cat is panting?

Fortunately, there are some ways to ease your kitty’s emotions and its body’s physical reactions without a vet’s help. Keep in mind that these tricks work temporarily and they can’t cure the furball if there’s an actual disease.

  • Try to calm down the cat. Sometimes cats stress over seemingly harmless and rather stupid things. New furniture pieces, an unfamiliar scent, a noisy visitor, the absence of a favorite comfort toy are common causes. Felines do have a vast emotional capacity, so don’t underestimate your kitty’s feelings.
  • Make its surroundings as relaxing as possible, let some fresh air in and offer plenty of liquids.
  • Try cleaning the kitty’s nasal area from any sticky discharge. Upper respiratory issues could be caused by food, foreign objects, allergies and other common issues.
  • Remove any sorts of stimulations that could be causing the panting – interactive cat toys, air fresheners and perfumes, detergents, cigarette smoke, a heating device and so on. Ultimately, you can take the kitty to a quitter room where you can help it relax.
  • Observe your pet carefully for signs of further panting once the initial spasms have stopped. If it’s a reoccurring problem, you should definitely seek a reputable vet.

Fortunately, in this modern day and age veterinary medicine offers various treatment plans. Regardless of your pet’s case, try to remain as calm as possible. Felines can sense when their owners are experiencing negative emotions. Providing relaxation, support and devotion is just as essential as any other aspect of health care.

Emily Parker

Emily Parker is the Content Manager at Catological. She's passionate about helping cat parents love their cats better by providing the best information and recommendations about everything you'll need to know about your cat, from kitten to senior years. She believes natural, biologically-appropriate products are best...why wouldn't you provide the best for a member of your family?!