are cats supposed to breathe fast

A healthy respiratory (breathing) rate for a cat is usually between 20 and 30 breaths per minute. To determine what your cat’s resting respiration rate is, count the number of breaths they take while they are resting. One breath includes inhaling (when the chest rises) and exhaling (when the chest falls).

Is my cat’s breathing normal?

Your cat will normally breathe 10 to 30 times per minute if they are healthy. Every breath enters the lungs, where it gives the blood oxygen. The oxygenated blood then flows throughout your cat’s body, enabling its vital organs to perform a variety of crucial functions. Tachypnea, or rapid breathing in cats, is frequently shallow and erratic and may be a sign that not enough oxygen is getting into the lungs. A typical breath should cause the chest to slightly rise and fall.

What other symptoms should I look for?

At rest, rapid breathing is typically indicative of an underlying medical condition and frequently coexists with other symptoms. You may observe one or more of the following symptoms in your cat, depending on the reason for their rapid breathing:

  • Sides, chest and stomach moving in and out rapidly
  • Open mouth breathing or panting
  • Lowered head with extension of neck and body forward
  • Coughing
  • Gagging
  • breathing loudly with each breath, such as whistling, wheezing, or moaning
  • Lack of energy, lethargy
  • Blue color to the gums
  • Reluctance to move, jump or play
  • Extended periods of sleep
  • Loss of appetite

Breathing difficulties are a very serious health concern. If your cat exhibits any of the aforementioned symptoms, take them to the vet right away.

What to Do If Your Cat is Breathing Fast

After observing your cat for a few hours, if you notice that its breathing is consistently rapid, get in touch with our veterinarian right away so they can advise you on what to do next. Your cat may simply need an adjustment in medications.

A medical emergency may arise if you experience additional symptoms in addition to a faster breathing rate while you sleep or if your symptoms have gotten worse. In this instance, your veterinarian might evaluate your cat’s condition while you’re on the phone and advise you to take your cat to AnimERge or another facility.


Should I be worried if my cat is breathing fast?

Rapid breathing in cats indicates that your cat is unable to get enough oxygen into the lungs. The breath rate increases and may become shallow. This can become serious and sometimes fatal.

How fast should a cat breathe when awake?

In general, all dogs and cats, with or without heart disease, have a breathing rate of between 15-30 breaths every minute. Lower rates are even possible and are no cause for concern as long as your pet is otherwise healthy.

Is 40 breaths per minute normal for a cat?

Cats at rest take anywhere from 16 to 40 breaths per minute. If they’re actively playing or stressed out, they may take up to 30 or 40 breaths per minute, but this rate should drop back down once their excitement fizzles out. While resting or sleeping, your cat may breathe even more slowly (they may also snore).

What does normal breathing look like in a cat?

To know if a cat is breathing rapidly, you first need to know a healthy respiratory rate (breathing) for a cat, which is 20 to 30 breaths per minute when resting calmly or sleeping. Breaths should create small movements of the chest; if your cat’s sides are moving a large amount, this can indicate labored breathing.