Why is my cat breathing with his mouth open? Cats are known for their elegant and silent way of breathing, typically through their noses. However, if you notice that your cat is breathing with its mouth open, it can be a cause for concern.

Cats generally only use mouth breathing when an underlying issue affects their respiratory system or overall health. In this read, we will explore the potential reasons why your cat might be breathing with its mouth open and what you should do about it.

Respiratory Distress

One of the most common reasons a cat might breathe with its mouth open is respiratory distress. Respiratory distress can occur due to various factors, including:

  • Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs): Cats are sensitive to viral and bacterial diseases that affect the upper respiratory system. URIs can cause congestion, nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing through the nose, leading to mouth breathing.
  • Asthma: Cat asthma is a condition that can cause inflammation and constriction of the airways. Cats with asthma may struggle to breathe and may resort to mouth breathing during asthma attacks.
  • Allergies:  Allergens, such as pollen, dust, or cigarette smoke, can trigger cat allergies. Allergic reactions can lead to airway inflammation and breathing difficulties.
  • Foreign Objects: Cats are naturally curious and may accidentally inhale or ingest foreign objects. These objects can obstruct the airway and lead to labored and mouth breathing.


Cats are significantly more susceptible to heat than humans and can easily suffer heatstroke in hot and humid weather. When a cat becomes overheated, its body temperature rises, and it may start panting and breathing with its mouth open to cool down.

Dental Issues

Oral health problems can also cause a cat to breathe with its mouth open. Severe dental disease, tooth decay, or gum infections can be painful, making it difficult for a cat to close its mouth comfortably.

Heart Problems

Heart conditions, such as congestive heart failure, cause difficulty breathing. A cat with a heart problem may pant and live with its mouth open as it tries to get enough oxygen.

Stress and Anxiety

Extreme stress or anxiety can cause rapid, shallow breathing in cats. If a cat feels threatened or is in a high-stress situation, it may pant and breathe with its mouth open.


Overweight cats may live heavily and resort to mouth breathing, especially during physical activity.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Breathing with Its Mouth Open:

If you notice that your cat is breathing with its mouth open, it’s crucial to take the following steps:

  1. Assess the Situation: Determine if your cat’s condition is an emergency. If your cat is in severe distress, gasping for breath, or has pale or bluish gums, seek immediate veterinary care.
  2. Keep Your Cat Cool: If you suspect heatstroke, move your cat to a more relaxed area, offer fresh water, and use a fan to help lower its body temperature.
  3. Avoid Stress: Reduce stressors in your cat’s environment if you suspect anxiety is the cause. Provide a calm and quiet space for your cat.
  4. Oral Health Check: Inspect your cat’s mouth for symptoms of dental problems. A veterinarian should address dental issues.
  5. Monitor Breathing: Keep a close eye on your cat’s breathing patterns. Note any changes or worsening symptoms, such as increased effort to breathe or coughing, and share this information with your vet.
  6. Visit the Veterinarian: Regardless of the cause, if your cat continues to live with its mouth open, it’s essential to consult a veterinarian. They can thoroughly examine and diagnose the underlying issue and recommend appropriate treatment.

Preventing Breathing Issues in Cats

To help prevent breathing problems in your cat, consider the following preventive measures:

  1. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule routine check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your cat’s overall health, including respiratory function.
  2. Dental Care: Practice good oral hygiene for your cat, including regular brushing and dental check-ups.
  3. Manage Weight: Ensure your cat maintains a healthy weight and you provide it with a proper diet.
  4. Control Allergens: Minimize your cat’s exposure to allergens that could trigger respiratory issues. Keep a clean home and avoid smoking indoors.
  5. Stress Reduction: Create a stress-free and comfortable environment for your cat. Provide enrichment activities and a safe space where your cat can relax.
  6. Temperature Regulation: Keep your cat calm and well-hydrated during hot weather to prevent heatstroke.
  7. Spaying/Neutering: If you haven’t already, consider spaying or neutering your cat, as it can reduce the risk of certain respiratory conditions.

Conclusion: Why is my cat breathing with his mouth open

In conclusion, if your cat is living with its mouth relaxed, it is likely a sign of a health issue that requires attention. Prompt veterinary care and proper diagnosis are essential for addressing the cause and ensuring your cat’s well-being. Keep a close eye on your feline companion’s health and provide a loving environment to help prevent respiratory problems in the future.