Can Cats Breathe Through Their Mouths – A Surprising Discovery


When your cat begins to breathe through their mouths for the first time, it is natural to feel concerned. It is understandable to worry when you notice your cat appearing to breathe through their mouths, but the initial question that may come to mind is whether they are indeed breathing through their mouths or exhibiting a different behavior. So, can cats breathe through their mouths?

Cats have the ability to breathe using their mouths, but it is not something they typically do. Normally, cats take in air through their nose with slow and steady breaths. However, if their nasal passages are blocked or if they have a serious health issue, they may resort to breathing through their mouth.

No need to fret; this article will explain why your cat may be breathing through their mouth, what you can do to assist, and why your cat might begin breathing through their mouth. Naturally, as breathing through their mouths can be a result of certain significant health issues, if you ever have concerns about your cat breathing through their mouth, it’s crucial to promptly reach out to your veterinarian.

Why Is My Cat Breathing Out Of Their Mouth

There are many reasons why your cat might begin to breathe through their mouth, but it usually indicates a problem. Some issues can be easily fixed, such as your cat getting too tired from playing, while others may require an urgent visit to the vet.

There are a few common (mild) reasons why your cat might begin to breathe through their mouth:

  • Allergies, particularly during the spring or fall seasons
  • Intense exercise
  • Asthma
  • Getting older (especially when combined with any other factor)
  • Respiratory Infections

Apart from respiratory infections, it should be quite simple to recognize these issues. If your cat has asthma, make sure to closely monitor them so that a mild attack doesn’t escalate into a more severe issue.

If your cat has been playing too much and is breathing heavily through their mouth, you should end the play session and allow them some time to rest and recuperate. Check if your cat is interested in drinking water or licking ice cubes to help them cool down.

Dealing with allergies can be challenging, but having an air filter and keeping your cat indoors can help improve their condition. If your cat’s allergies worsen, it’s important to consult a veterinarian for potential treatment options.

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If you don’t think any of those things are the reason, your cat might have a more serious problem. There are many issues that can cause cats to start breathing through their mouths, such as a strong respiratory infection, something blocking their airway, or damage to their throat or stomach. They could also be having a really bad asthma attack.

It’s more important to take your cat to the vet for any of these issues rather than worrying about the cause. Your vet will be able to diagnose and treat the problem better than you can.

How Can I Tell If My Cat Is Having Trouble Breathing

If your cat is breathing through their mouth, it could indicate difficulty breathing, although this is not always the case. For example, if your cat breathes through their mouth after playing and then returns to normal breathing within a few minutes, it simply means they needed some extra oxygen for a short period of time.

However, if your cat is behaving strangely, lying down and refusing to budge, or has hazy eyes while breathing through their mouth, it is likely that they are experiencing difficulty with their breathing.

It’s important to also examine your cat’s gums and tongue for any changes in color. Normally, they should be a vibrant pink, but if they appear gray or blue, it could indicate breathing difficulties. If you observe any color changes in your cat’s gums or tongue, it’s crucial to take them to the veterinarian without delay.

Why Is My Cat Opening His Mouth

If your cat has their mouth open, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re breathing through it. You can tell by checking if their stomach is moving or if you can hear their breath. If either of these is happening, then they’re likely breathing through their mouth.

However, there are instances when your cat may open its mouth unexpectedly, and occasionally, they may keep it open for a considerable amount of time before shutting it.

Typically, when your cat keeps their mouth open, it’s because they catch a whiff of something intriguing and want to investigate further. Cats have significant scent glands in their mouth, so opening their mouth allows them to bring smells closer to their highly sensitive scent organs.

If you ever notice your cat doing a flehmens response, where they open their mouth wide and make a strange face, that’s a more intense way of smelling the air using their important scent glands.

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Why Does My Cat Sound Like He Can’t Breathe

There are many reasons why your cat may seem like it can’t breathe. For example, if your cat is sleeping, it might just be snoring. Additionally, allergies and minor sinus infections can cause a partial blockage in their nose, resulting in a whistling sound when they breathe.

Unless your cat appears to be in distress or seems to be choking or gagging, it is likely that they are breathing. However, it is still important to examine their gums to ensure they are breathing normally.

If you’re concerned about a noise your cat is making, even if their gums are still pink, it’s a smart move to contact your vet. They will have a better understanding of what could be causing your cat’s discomfort and can determine if you should bring your cat in for a checkup based on your description of the sound.

How Do You Treat Feline Dyspnea

Cat breathing difficulties, also known as feline dyspnea, are not typically a standalone condition. Instead, they serve as a symptom of other issues. The most effective approach is to address the root cause of the problem.

Occasionally, if you or your cat can’t do that, such as in the case of asthma, you can still help them by providing hydration, using air filters, and avoiding toys that require excessive physical activity.

To assist other cats, it is recommended to provide hydration support, avoid scented items, and ensure a healthy diet. However, if your cat is experiencing difficulty breathing or has had mild breathing issues for more than 10-15 minutes, it is advisable to seek specialized treatments from a veterinarian.

How Can I Help My Cat Breathe Better

Sometimes there’s not a lot you can do to assist your cat in breathing more easily. If your cat has mild asthma, for example, they may struggle with breathing occasionally, and unless you have a prescription for medication to aid them, there’s not much you can do.

But, there are a few easy things you can do to assist any cat in breathing more effectively, although these remedies may not be effective for a cat that is already experiencing difficulty breathing.

Avoid Diffusers, Scented Candles, And Other Scented Air Products

Your cat most likely doesn’t enjoy your pumpkin spice fall scented candle as much as you do. Scented items often contain strong chemicals and oils that can be harmful to your cat’s kidneys, liver, and lungs, causing stress.

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It is important to avoid all scents, especially essential oil diffusers as they can be extremely harmful. Although certain essential oils may be less dangerous than others, many of them are toxic, and it can be difficult to determine which ones to stay away from. For example, Lavender is known to have a calming effect on humans and dogs, but it is highly toxic to cats.

If you want to use scented items, try to use them sparingly. When it comes to candles, you can try opening them without actually lighting them, or only burning them for a short period of time, like 5-10 minutes.

Make sure to provide your cat with alternative options away from the area with strong scents. Many cats will instinctively avoid harmful smells and prefer to find cleaner and safer air. However, not all cats will behave this way, so you cannot rely on it as a guaranteed reaction.

Additionally, keep a close eye on your cat and promptly take them away from the scented area if they display any indications of unusual tiredness or breathing difficulties.

Buy an Air Filter

If you’re aware that your cat has allergies or asthma, it’s a good idea to use an air filter to make the air cleaner and protect your cat from potential allergens.

A proper filter should include a HEPA filter, and it might also have ultraviolet sterilization. Both of these features can assist your cat in breathing better.

Make Sure They Have Plenty Of Water

Water is essential for all breathing, and cats don’t have a strong natural urge to drink a lot of water because they get most of their hydration from food in the wild.

To help your cat stay hydrated and enjoy the advantages of breathing, make sure there are plenty of clean water sources available in your house.

Another option to keep your cats hydrated is by using ice as a fun addition to their environment.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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