Appointments: (02) 6251 1444
16-18 Purdue St, Belconnen, ACT
(Parking via Gillott Street)
Mon - Fri: 8:30am - 5:30pm
Saturday: 8:30am - 1:00pm

Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Breathing difficulty

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

If you notice that your cat is having any breathing difficulty call us immediately on 6251 1444. Cats hide chest problems until they are verging on life threatening so do not hesitate to make it an emergency.

A cat is having breathing difficulty if she is mouth breathing, and/ or crouched down with elbows out. A blue tongue with laboured or noisy breathing is very serious. Some cats will stick their tongues out in an effort to open up the airways even more.

The cat in the picture is concentrating on getting a breath. He has his elbows out and his mouth is open (although we can't quite see it). His pupils are also widely dilated as he is very worried.

Some chest diseases like asthma, some cancers or pneumonia cause a cough. Others cause a buildup in fluid around the lungs making it difficult for the cat to expand the lungs and get a good breath.

It is vital to keep the cat as calm as possible on the way to the vet and to let the vet know that you are coming so that we have oxygen ready. Keep handling to a minimum and speak gently and reassure your cat as much as possible. Cats with breathing difficulty often get worse when stressed - but will die if not treated.

Young cats are prone to pyothorax and Feline Infectious Peritonitis, which cause a buildup of pus and fluid in the chest cavity. Older cats are more likely to have heart disease or lymphoma cause a build up of fluid in the chest cavity. The fluid must be drained to relieve the breathing difficulty and then treatment targeted at the underlying disease.

Diseases of the nose, mouth, throat and sinuses sometimes cause noisy or open mouth breathing but the cat is not usually unduly distressed by it and will happily eat and run around despite the snuffles and sneezes. However, if you are in any doubt please phone and clarify the situation.

The cat is this video has pyothorax and is having a lot of trouble breathing.

The cat in the next video is not so distressed - but is breathing rapidly and heavily and could become as distressed as the last cat if stressed.

Search Blog

Recent Posts


snakes cystitis pancreatitis pill cat love aggression worming goodbye best vet dymadon lily microchip return home gifts snot change flu liver tartar dental check panleukopenia poisons scratch hyperactive unwell flea treatment fits open day free wobbles best clinic off food body language vaccine gasping lump award sore hospital cat behaviour hard faeces train cranky hunter breeder information night furballs crytococcosus AIDS moving straining pet meat activity marking kittens when to go to vet sense of smell kidney disease photo competition enemies groom ACT pica chlamydia foreign body birthday high blood pressure food puzzles spey poison urine nails diuretics on heat thirsty ribbon African wild cat renal disease collapse hyperthyroidism abscess dementia cough annual check new cat weight pain urinating sick holidays insulin dilated pupils eye infection prey vaccination appointment dry food radioactive iodine herpesvirus checkup breathing difficult open night blood pressure cat enclosures sensitive stomach examination rolls cat containment corneal ulcer desexing enteritis attack meows a lot aerokat diabetes poisonous toxic holes behaviour face rub hunting sore ears eyes cortisone sun hairball headache castration noisy breathing aggressive weight loss wet litter grooming outdoor cat plants house call pheromone old fight lick sick cat dental treatment introductions blood flea prevention seizures vomiting antiviral cat history appetite worms sucking wool fabric diarrhoea runny eyes bladder snake bite whiskers panadol hypertrophic cardiomyopathy inflammatory bowel disease FORLS petting cat revolution opening hours drinking more scratching post urinating on curtains or carpet introduce euthanasia carrier thiamine deficiency urination plaque antibiotics hole cat vet litter heavy breathing poisoning blockage signs of pain toxins poisonous plants tablet vision urine spraying comfortis massage scale bed cat fight desex paralysed weight control prednisolone tick mouth breathing senses fear polish cat enclosure allergy visit rough play abscess,cat fight allergy, brown snake discount wool cta fight fever anxiety snake twitching feliway bad breath new kitten IBD socialisation indoor cats grass feline enteritis feline herpesvirus roundworm cage snuffles constipation pain relief in season Hill's Metabolic painful enclosure pet insurance xylitol blind snuffle fat panleukopaenia odour computer home visit conflict sneeze ulcerated nose training FIV urinating outside litter skin eye ulcer string thyroid holes in teeth adipokines teeth check-up lame nose scabs home arthritis furball anaemia kitten deaths RSPCA vet visit catoberfest exercise heaing feline AIDS pain killer lilly ulcer asthma diet overweight kitten play decision to euthanase vocal kidneys fireworks bite hiding depomedrol skinny cat worms mycoplasma panadeine mass fleas restless pred old cat drinking a lot cognitive dysfunction new year hungry salivation mental health of cats client night tumour Canberra Cat Vet spray blood in urine blocked cat vomit hunched over spraying touch health check virus christmas blue lilies permethrin paralysis calicivirus kitten joints sensitive stiff tooth stare into space learning kidney best cat clinic cancer hypertension intestine cat flu unsociable aspirin strange behaviour rash heart disease skin cancer bump biopsy obese mince hearing blindness physical activity tradesmen New Year's Eve kibble hunters pet yowling Canberra jumping runny nose competition changed panamax cat friendly snakebite lymphoma paracetamol best veterinarian behaviour change echocardiography introducing sore eyes blood test tapeworm advantage dental senior bladder stones holiday stress obesity rub introduction fluid pills sudden blindness itchy eye cryptococcosis scratching head paralysis tick litter box rigid head not eating ulcers slow


A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

Get Directions