Cat wheezing when breathing, why my cat sounds congested?

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Noisy breathing in cats, wheezing when sleeping or that sounds congested when breating is not common. Unlike dogs, it is rare for them to pant.

If your cat is panting - and is not in the sun on a hot summer day - you should check with a veterinarian in case it is a health problem. Respiratory problems can progress rapidly and be very serious, so it is important to identify them early.

My cat makes noise when breathing, is it normal?

No, cats do not usually make noise when they breathe. This does not mean that it is always a serious problem. Remember that animals can also have hiccups, especially puppies. Do not be scared if that is the case and ask the vet whenever you have doubts. Nor should you think of the snort as noisy breathing, the cat does it out of fear and it is usually a punctual moment.

Why does my cat have noisy breathing?

  • The cats of brachycephalic breeds (the flat-nosed cats, like the persians) have the same problem as the dogs of breeds like the boxer or the bulldog. Their nostrils have very small holes and their palates are longer than they should, so they tend to snore. It can be said that for them, it is normal to have somewhat noisy breathing.

  • As we have already mentioned, panting can be noisy, but cats are not often panting. The presence of mucus in the nose can make you hear whistles and what we call wheezing, a sound like the one you hear when drinking the end of a shake.

  • Kittens are prone to asthma. Asthma can be more or less severe and serious attacks can appear in which the animal seems to drown.

  • Bronchitis and pneumonia can make breathing noisier. They are also relatively frequent diseases, as a consequence of the Feline Respiratory Syndrome (feline cough).

What do I do with my cat with noisy breathing? Is it urgent?

It is variable.

  • If he is panting, make sure he has access to water and move him to a cool area where he can rest easy. If he does not stop panting in a few minutes, you should go to the vet.

  • If you hear a hissing sound, it may be a foreign body (an object that has entered the respiratory tract) or a mass (an abscess, tumor, etc.) that is blocking the passage. The severity and urgency depend on the cause.


  • If he has mucus or rheum, it may be an infection by one of the causes of Feline Respiratory Syndrome. If in addition he is not vaccinated or he is very young it is important to go to the veterinarian as soon as possible because these animals are more sensitive.


  • If the cat does not seem to be able to breathe properly and lay down in his belly and stretches his head, he may be suffering from an asthma attack. As in people, it could have serious consequences, so you should act immediately and take it to the vet.

  • If the cat has been sick for days and the onset is not sudden, it may be lung edema or pneumonia. These problems usually cause coughing, although compared to us or dogs, cats often cough a little despite being very sick.

Very Urgent

  • If you see that your cat breathes fast and his tongue is somewhat bluish, you should go urgently to the veterinarian. The most dangerous thing about a respiratory problem is that not enough oxygen reaches the organs, especially the brain.

Remember to go to the vet as soon as possible. If you have doubts, ask. Respiratory problems can evolve very quickly and become fatal.

Stay alert for other symptoms such as coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, lack of appetite, etc.

Can I give something to my cat?

No, call first and ask the veterinarian.

Some cats that have already been diagnosed with feline asthma have inhalers for their attacks, and their owners are trained to recognize them and act as soon as possible. If your cat is not diagnosed, you can harm him by using the wrong treatment or an inappropriate dose.

Remember to avoid home anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen), as they are very toxic to cats.