Cat Panting

Cat Panting

by Michael

Cat Panting - Photo copyright Kevifornia (Flickr)

Cat Panting - Photo copyright Kevifornia (Flickr)

Have you seen a cat panting? My late and sweet lady cat, Missie, used to pant when she was stressed going to the vet. She did not like being inside a car and became a bit agitated and started to pant (sometimes). I did see her pant sometimes when she was relaxed and the ambient temperature was hot.

When it is hot, cats do sometimes pant just like dogs. It seems to be a personality trait. Some cats are more prone to it than others. When you think about it, it is surprising that cats don't pant more often. They have lots of fur with a reduced possibility of cooling through sweating. They must get hot in the summer. Black cats also absorb heat so will get hotter.

Panting cools dogs and cats down through the process of the latent heat of cooling. It works in the same way as the evaporation of sweat. When saliva evaporates the evaporated water carries the heat inside the body away from the body in the water vapor. Also the water in lungs, mouth and on the tongue evaporates cooling the cat. The process is called "thermoregulation" - regulating the internal temperature of the body within limits while the external temperature varies. The sweat glands on the feet don't do much cooling.

Cats also cool themselves in the same way by licking themselves. The saliva deposited on the fur evaporates cooling the cat.

This video below, shows a young cat panting. He is panting because he is doing a lot of playing fetch like a dog. Also the ambient temperature might be quite high.

A cat biting his tail and panting may just be play or a form of OCD - obsessive compulsive disorder, brought on, perhaps, through stress.

A cat in shock might pant too. "Shock" in medical terms is caused by insufficient blood flow and oxygen to meet the cat's requirements.

In the USA a bite from one of the pit viper snakes - rattlesnake, cottonmouth and copperhead, will cause panting with other symptoms.

Finally, one symptom of hyperthyroidism is panting.

Comments for
Cat Panting

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Mar 14, 2012 Reason cats sometimes live longer ! NEW
by: keenpetite

Leah:
Thanks for nice complement, husband found her in abandoned house when she was a couple of years old.Gorgeous large Tortie. For some reason her teeth were rotten so vet pulled the worse ones out.
She was quite a hunter, our home was only a couple of houses from dessert, she would wait for baby rabbits & as they jumped she would catch them, thus a friend nicknamed her Nimrod (mighty hunter in Bible)
She began to lose weight & vet found out she has overactive thyroid, the day she died her owner was out, she waited for his return & after drinking a bit of water she passed away in my husbands arms.
About a week later I told the vet about Panchita passing away at 20 yrs & to my surprise & delight he remarked
Maam, Panchita was over 24 yrs old, I wish more pet owners took care of their pets like you do.
I simply said "Thank You, we consider them family"

keenpetite
Southeast Arizona


Mar 14, 2012 Reason cats sometimes live longer ! NEW
by: keenpetite

Leah:
Thanks for nice complement, husband found her in abandoned house when she was a couple of years old.Gorgeous large Tortie. For some reason her teeth were rotten so vet pulled the worse ones out.
She was quite a hunter, our home was only a couple of houses from dessert, she would wait for baby rabbits & as they jumped she would catch them, thus a friend nicknamed her Nimrod (mighty hunter in Bible)
She began to lose weight & vet found out she has overactive thyroid, the day she died her owner was out, she waited for his return & after drinking a bit of water she passed away in my husbands arms.
About a week later I told the vet about Panchita passing away at 20 yrs & to my surprise & delight he remarked
Maam, Panchita was over 24 yrs old, I wish more pet owners took care of their pets like you do.
I simply said "Thank You, we consider them family"

keenpetite
Southeast Arizona


Mar 14, 2012 Panchita NEW
by: Leah England

Wow! 24 is a fantastic age for a cat you must have loved her so much. Her great age was testament to your love, care and devotion.


Mar 13, 2012 Cats pant for a reason !! NEW
by: Anonymous

Michael:
This article reminded me of one of our cats A rescued Tortie named Panchita (female slang for Francine), she adopted muy husband Frank but disliked our son.
Semi-annual trips to vet aproximately 70 mi round trip, she didn't mind the car but was sensitive to heat, vet advised us to carry a small spray bottle & cloths; whenever Panchita began to pant we would spray her a couple of times & in less than 5 minutes she would relax & sit in front with AC turned on. She was a big girl & we were terrified that she could have a heat stroke, she welcomed being sprayed because it cooled her down considerably. Panchita died in my husbands arms @ the age of 24 + years. She was a great hunter.


Mar 13, 2012 I've seen cats panting NEW
by: Leah England

An interesting article Michael; yes I've seen cats panting through stress and through overheating.

Cats sweat through their pads however if that doesn't cool them sufficiently then I imagine they pant as well.

Have you ever noticed damp paw prints on the vets examination table? Your cat sweating because he's stressed.

A cats fur needs to be in good condition and lie flat to keep him warm in the winter and cool in the summer hence that's why you should never bath a cat unless you have no choice for example if the cat has become so dirty he can't wash it all off himself.

Each time you bath a cat that's why he then spends ages 'washing' except he isn't washing he's repairing all the damage you've done to his coat; he's trying to get it to lie properly again, so please don't bath your cat as you're also removing all the natural oils in their coat.



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