5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

Proper breathing is probably one of the most essential requirements for any living thing to survive. If your cat experience difficulty in breathing, you should know how to deal with it to help your cat breathe better. Before anything else, you must be aware of what is normal breathing for a cat.

How to Make My Cat Breathe Better: Identify Symptoms

help your cat breathe better

Cats breathe faster than humans. Resting cats take 15-30 breaths per minute. You can count this by observing their inhalation and exhalation through their stomach while rested. Count how many breaths they take in 30 seconds and multiply it by two.

If the count is a little higher than 30, there need not be much concern, especially for a healthy and active cat. However, if the resting respiratory rate is over 40 per minute, you will need to rush your cat to the vet now!

Before you help your cat breathe better, you need to know the three kinds of breathing difficulties for cats. The first is dyspnea. It’s respiratory distress or shortness of breath that is a symptom of an underlying problem. The second is tachypnea which is rapid breathing with a closed mouth. This is described as rapid breathing with a closed mouth. The third is called panting. It’s like tachypnea with rapid breathing but with an open mouth. Panting is unusual for cats. It is indicative of stress, pain, and excessive body temperature.

Take note of these symptoms as they may help the veterinarian better assess your cat’s condition.

How to Help My Cat Breathe Easier: Knowing the Causes

Knowing the causes of why your cat is having a hard time breathing can help your cat breathe easier. Aside from rapid breathing, there are other symptoms to consider like maintaining a specific posture, exhibiting stressed purring, showing the noticeable movement of the chest or belly, coughing, having pale or blue gums, and some high-pitched wheezing. As with any cat that’s not feeling well, they would usually hide more and eat less.

Based on experts, there are four primary causes of difficulty in breathing for cats:

  1. Upper respiratory infections. You can expect some swelling in the nasal passages. You can see some snot or discharge in your cat’s nose. There’s also fever and some snoring sounds.
  2. Asthma and bronchitis of cats. This points to restrictions on the cat’s airways that cause them to wheeze. Like human asthmatics, they can also be prone to asthma attacks. There can also be an allergic component to feline asthma.
  3. Heart disease or failure. Cats with problems in their heart connect with their breathing since the heart pumps the blood that carries oxygen around the cat’s body.
  4. Pleural effusion. This is described as a possible fluid build-up around the lungs. 

Aside from those four main reasons, other likely reasons could be having something stuck on your cat’s throat. Other causes could be chest trauma, pneumonia, lung tumors, collapsed lungs, and allergic reactions. Cats under the flat-faced or smush-faced cat breeds may have difficulty breathing because of their facial structure. This can be considered a genetic defect.

5 Tips You Need to Know to Help Your Cat Breathe Better  

Help Your Cat Breathe Better

The first thing you need to know to help your cat breathe better is that you will need to collaborate with a medical professional. Breathing difficulties with a cat who has manifested this symptom for a long time indicate an urgent need for medical attention. 

Your veterinarian will have two main objectives for a cat with breathing difficulties. The more urgent goal is to ensure that the cat has enough oxygen. The second and more important is to find a way to resolve the underlying condition. Difficulty in breathing is a symptom of a much bigger problem that the doctor must diagnose. To do that, the veterinarian will perform a lot of tests. Expect a complete physical examination, some lab work, and some imaging tests like X-Ray. 

With that established, here are five helpful tips to help your cat breathe better:

Tip #1: Take the appropriate medication as prescribed by your vet

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

Assuming that you consulted with your trusted veterinarian and your vet has diagnosed the underlying problem, you should follow the instructions. You will probably be instructed to buy medication like anti-biotics, bronchodilators, or steroids to help your cat breathe easier. Take note of the dosage and the frequency of the medicine. 

If you do not know how to administer medicine to your cat, do not forget to ask the doctor during the initial check-up how to do it to avoid possible complications. You should also be mindful of what you are feeding your cat during the medication process. Make sure that your cat’s food does not cause any problems with the medication.

Tip #2: Prepare financially for possible therapies or procedures

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

Oxygen therapy may be a possible course of action. If this is the case, you may need to shell out somewhere between $70 to $1000, depending on the specifics condition of your cat. Unlike humans who use oxygen tanks to help them breathe, cats would use oxygen cages to help them breathe easier. 

You need to be financially prepared to pay for oxygen therapy and other procedures for your cat. The health and well-being of your cat are your responsibility. It is up to you to invest in the health of your cat. Provide it with what it needs to survive.

Tip #3: Consider the possibility of surgery

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

In extreme cases, there is a possibility that the underlying problem may require surgery to be resolved. While most surgical procedures these days are relatively safe, you must be mentally and emotionally prepared for the worst. Usually, many pet owners tend to underestimate their cat’s health and would discover an underlying problem when it’s too late.

Problems such as collapsed lung or lung tumors may require intensive care procedures. It’s best to maintain a clear line of communication with your trusted veterinarian. This is so you can have a good grasp of the situation and understand the options available for your cat’s well-being.

Tip #4: Practice steam therapy

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

This is something you can do on your own in your home. Steam therapy’s objective is to loosen secretions in your cat’s nasal passages. To do this, turn on your hot shower to create a lot of steam in your entire bathroom. Place your cat safely inside for 15 minutes to ensure that it inhales the warm air. Do this twice a day until you see some significant change.

Aside from steam therapy, one way to help your cat breathe easier is to clean their noses. Using a damp cotton ball, wipe down your cat’s nose. This seems obvious, but perhaps taking away the dried mucus can be highly comfortable for your cat and even solve the problem.

Tip #5: Modify your environment 

5 Tips to Help Your Cat Breathe Better

Cats can have an allergic reaction to their environment like how some humans can be allergic to cats! To minimize exposure to allergens for your cat, you need to undergo environmental modification. Vacuum the carpets, floors, and crevices to ensure that no allergens can stay in the room where your cat stays.

Consider using high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. These filters remove tiny airborne pollutants such as dust, mites, and pollen. You can also determine if your cat may be allergic to the food it eats. Check your cat’s diet to ensure that it’s not ingesting something it shouldn’t.


Whenever a cat has a hard time breathing, first recognize if your cat has been showing signs that it may not be feeling well. If you have an active and healthy cat, heavy breathing may simply be a way of catching its breath after a tiring exercise. However, if your cat reaches 40 or more breaths per minute while resting, you need to rush it directly to the vet. Help your cat breathe easier by consulting with a medical professional and following their instructions. Difficult breathing for cats does not entail a death sentence, so do not panic. Do your best to help your cat breathe easy so you, as a pet owner, can also do the same.

Further Reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like