May 2008 Issue

When Your Cat Pants

Most of the reasons why a cat would pant are very serious and warrant immediate veterinary attention. Here's why.

Your cat bounds up the stairs as usual. But when she gets to the top, she sits and pants ó certainly not the usual. Should you worry, wait and see if she does it again or call your veterinarian immediately? In general, cats donít pant as dogs do. Dogs pant to cool themselves off, and itís normal. While some cats pant from stress, pain or excitement, panting isnít usually normal for a cat, and you should probably consider taking action if it happens. What exactly is panting? Panting differs from regular breathing. Normal inhalation is an easy movement of the chest outward, with exhalation pulling the chest gently inward. Exhalation usually lasts three times longer than inhalation. The result is that entering air goes deep inside the lungs, where there is an exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide via the blood vessels.

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