is it normal to hear your cat breathing

As a rule, you shouldn’t be able to hear or see your cat breathing unless you look and listen very closely. If your cat’s breathing seems noisy, fast, or is causing their chest or belly to move a lot, this is often a sign of a problem.

Symptoms of Noisy Breathing in Cats

Audible breathing is the main sign of noisy breathing in cats. The sound can be anything from a high-pitched whistling or squeaking noise to a lower-pitched snoring sound. It may be accompanied by breathing changes or difficulty breathing. Depending on the underlying cause of the condition, the noisy breathing could be linked to a wide range of additional symptoms. Associated symptoms have the potential to become fatal or extremely severe.

Symptoms include:

  • Loud breathing sounds
  • Trouble breathing
  • Wheezing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Panting or rapid breathing
  • Movement of belly and chest while breathing
  • Flared nostrils
  • Coughing or sneezing
  • Breathing with neck extended or elbows sticking out
  • Squeaking sounds during breaths
  • Snoring sounds even when awake
  • Voice changes
  • Hoarseness
  • Inability to vocalize or meow
  • Exercise intolerance
  • Weakness
  • A cough producing mucus
  • Nasal discharge
  • Pain and related vocalizations
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Behavior changes
  • Restlessness
  • Fever

Severe symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Inability to breathe
  • Seizures
  • Collapse or fainting
  • Coma
  • Sudden death


There are two primary types of noisy breathing. The location of the breathing disturbance determines the type, which is frequently discernible from the sound the cat makes when it breathes. The types of noisy breathing are:

  • Stridor: High-pitched, noisy breathing that is typically the result of a problem or obstruction in the windpipe or larynx
  • Stertor: Loud, low-pitched breathing that frequently happens during inhalation and is typically brought on by a problem with the nose or throat

Recovery of Noisy Breathing in Cats

The prognosis for your pet will depend on what is causing their noisy breathing. If treatment is possible, the prognosis is better. Some animals may never fully recover from noisy breathing, but they will still be able to live normal lives. Steer clear of abrupt dietary adjustments, environmental changes, and stressful situations while your cat is healing. If your cat’s diet needs to be changed to help with its recovery, make the changes gradually to prevent your cat from becoming more stressed or anxious. To maintain good air quality, make sure their living space is shielded from the cold, moisture, drafts, and dust. Keep an eye out for any symptoms in your pet and seek veterinary care if they reappear or get worse. Make sure you adhere to all of your veterinarian’s instructions for maintenance, prescriptions, and check-ups.

Measuring your cat’s breathing rate while they’re at rest can be helpful. Breathing too quickly is usually categorized as In this situation, calling your cat’s veterinarian as soon as possible is advised.

Noisy Breathing Average Cost

From 226 quotes ranging from $200 – $500

Treatment of Noisy Breathing in Cats

Cats with noisy breathing will mainly benefit from treatment that addresses the underlying cause. For instance, surgical excision or other cancer treatments may be employed if a tumor is discovered to be the reason behind the cat’s noisy breathing. If the cause of noisy breathing is unknown and does not affect respiratory system function, there may be no need for treatment. Several potential therapies for cats with noisy breathing include:

Oxygen Therapy

Providing oxygen can support healthy blood oxygen levels and respiratory function. Tubes, masks, or oxygen cages can all be used to supply oxygen. Although this therapy carries a low risk, it is administered as an inpatient under supervision to watch for any potential problems.

Fluid Therapy

Pets with noisy breathing may benefit from intravenous (IV) fluids, especially if dehydration or mucus are contributing factors. Fluids given can help thin mucus and increase the effectiveness of coughing. This therapy is typically only offered as an inpatient procedure and is regarded as a low-risk treatment.


Treating allergies and allergic reactions is a common use for this class of medication. Even in cases where allergies are not the only cause, it can help with breathing. Appropriate dosage is necessary to lower the possibility of adverse effects.


This class of medication is also frequently used to treat asthma and other respiratory conditions. Cats with weakened immune systems are typically not prescribed steroids due to their moderate risk of side effects.


Noisy breathing is frequently caused by infections of the respiratory system and other body organs. Antibiotic drugs aid in the immune system’s recovery from illness by assisting in the removal of the infection. The risk of side effects can be decreased by using the recommended dosage.


If fluid is present, diuretics can be used to help the body get rid of it and increase oxygenation. diuretics may be needed in cases of e. g. heart failure.

Surgical Intervention

Surgery might be required if a tumor, injury, or foreign object is blocking an airway and making breathing noisy. Surgery carries a moderate risk of side effects. Your cat will probably need to stay in a hospital if surgery is necessary in order to lower the chance of complications.


When should I worry about my cat breathing?

If you find that your cat’s breathing is consistently fast after keeping an eye on it for a couple of hours, contact our veterinarian as soon as possible, so they can recommend the next steps to take.

Why is my cat making a whistling sound when breathing?

What is causing your cat to wheeze can range from mild irritation of the airways from allergies or dust they inhaled to serious, sometimes life-threatening, infections or blockages.

What does fluid in cats lungs sound like?

Signs that your cat’s lungs are filled with fluid include: Labored or difficulty breathing with deep, rapid breaths, especially when inhaling. Open-mouth breathing with crackling noises. Wheezing.