Pneumonia is an infectious/inflammatory disorder of the lung parenchyma. Tiny bronchi fill the lungs; each one ends in smaller sacs known as alveoli which contain tiny blood vessels. Oxygen is added to the blood and carbon dioxide removed via the alveoli. Pneumonia causes these alveoli to fill with pus and fluids which affect the lung’s ability to exchange gases. There are several causes including infection (viral, fungal, bacterial, parasitic), aspiration of gastric contents or medications.
Diagnosis of rapid breathing in your cat will require your veterinarian to determine the underlying cause. This will involve diagnostic tests that may not seem related to breathing, such as blood work, urinalysis and other extensive systemic exams. Given the lengthy list of potential conditions, it will be important for you to provide your veterinarian with a thorough physical and medical history of your cat. If your cat is allowed outdoors, has recently suffered from a traumatic injury, or could potentially have fallen from a high surface, this will be important information to help identify potential trauma or pain. You should also provide your vet with a history of progression of symptoms such as approximate time of onset and any worsening or improvement. This will help your veterinarian narrow down potential causes.
These situations are difficult, but without examining Buddha I cannot start to say what could be going on with her especially with her older age; if she is stressed out by visiting the clinic you should see if you can get a call out or if another Veterinarian will make a house visit just to check her over. There are many possible issues which may be affecting an older cat, but an examination is required to narrow down on a diagnosis. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Hi Farhood, thanks for reaching out to us! Thanks for taking care of this little stray 🙂 If you say she doesn’t display any of the symptoms and is eating well, it wouldn’t seem like she has any underlying issue. That is pretty hot, so make sure she has an area nicely covered by shade (plants, garden, etc). She isn’t panting, is she? Panting shows signs of heat exhaustion. Here, please read our article on keeping cats cool in the summer. Hope it helps! Best of luck.


11 month old kitten with rapid breathing since we got him at 3 months old. Acting normal, voiding without issue, playing, eating and drinking. Normal behaviors. As a nurse myself I always questioned his fast breathing but because he is a kitten I let it slide thinking that maybe they, like babies/children have faster respiratory rates. He is half tabby half Maine coon and is about 12-13lbs. His respiratory rate at rest is about 75-85. He has only panted about 3 times that we’ve seen during intense play time with our other cat. No coughing or runny nose. I’m very worried now that he is approaching a year old. I’ve been through the ringer with expensive tests at the vet with another cat and I’m wondering what are the baseline tests for this that I can start with that could lead to answers? And what are the most common diagnosises with rapid breathing being the only symptom? Thoughts and many thanks in advance!

Hello, I took my 9 month old Maine Coon to the vet 2 days ago to get a couple of mats shaved. I tried and was unsuccessful. It was a very stressful event for him, it took 3 people :( He started coughing and breathing very heavy last night. He is eating well but the quick breathing and coughing is continuing. Could this be related to stress? I am scared to stress him out more by taking him in.
Regardless, you should visit your Veterinarian or an Emergency Veterinarian to examine Gizmo since she should be eating and drinking normally after this routine surgery and the ‘seizure like’ activity is also concerning; the moderate increase in respiration may be due to discomfort from surgery or due to something more serious. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

If Squeakers is acting normally otherwise and doesn't seem to be having any respiratory distress, this may just be normal for her. If she hasn't had a checkup in a while, it would be a good idea to have her checked out, regardless, as a veterinarian can listen to her heart and lungs, and assess her general health and whether this breathing pattern is normal, or a potential problem. I hope that all goes well for her!

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