Just as dogs do, cats pant to cool down their bodies and regulate temperature. Dogs are usually relaxed when panting, but sometimes cats will appear stressed. They will crouch down, bend their elbows, keep the head low and stretch out their necks.
Your cat will probably pant more on extremely hot days. But it’s a good idea to check his/her temperature. If it’s above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, your cat has a fever and should be seen by the vet immediately.
Another reason for excessive panting can involve breathing difficulties. Asthma, lung disease, anemia and other respiratory problems can be the cause.
Cardiovascular diseases heartworm, heatstroke and other conditions involving the heart can cause your cat to pant excessively.
Often, when cats are ill, they seek out a place to hide. Don’t let that stop you, search for him/her. In any case check on your cat’s breathing, if in a crouching position, refusing to eat, lethargic, coughing or has pale or blue gums. These are emergency situations and your cat should be taken to the vet or emergency clinic immediately.
The vet will administer oxygen to help your cat breathe more easily. Then s/he will perform a thorough physical examination to determine the reason, concentrating on the heart and lungs. There may be fluid in the lungs which must be drained.
After identifying the problem, the vet will treat the condition and try to help avoid future episodes.
Serious conditions such as cancer and FIP will involve further treatment.
Take your cat for regular checkups at least once a year to avoid problems or find them early for treatment to be effective.