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What to Know About Cat Exhibiting Open-Mouth Breathing from a Braselton Veterinarian 

When your pet starts exhibiting open-mouth breathing, you more than likely will panic and take them to an emergency vet. You might not know what to expect or what the veterinarian will say. At Animal Emergency Care of Braselton, we see many cases of open-mouth breathing and not all of them are serious events. This particular symptom could mean everything from overexertion to a serious emergency.

Cat Emergency


Don't be alarmed if your kitty breathes with his or her mouth open after playing hard. This is just overexertion just like what would happen in a human. The symptom will subside with time, and there isn't a cause for alarm. If your pet is overweight, you might notice he or she gets out of breath easily.  

Feline Cold

Yes, your cat can catch a cold just like a person can. The breathing troubles your feline is exhibiting might be a sign of an upper respiratory infection. The open-mouth breathing might be accompanied by symptoms such as congestion, excessive sneezing or coughing, eye or nose discharge, fever, a loss of appetite or dehydration. 

Feline Asthma

It's possible that a cat who is breathing with his or her mouth open might have asthma, even if the condition wasn't present when the cat was first born. Usually, asthma develops between the ages of two to seven years of age in cats. In addition to the open-mouth breathing, your pet might also wheeze or cough or have labored breathing. In severe cases, you might notice your cat has dark gray or blue gums and tongue, which is known as cyanosis. 

Lung Cancer

Even though your cat might not be a smoker, it's still possible for him or her to develop lung cancer. The pet may breathe with his or her mouth open or have rapid breathing. If your cat has lung cancer, pain might be a symptom. Your pet might have low energy levels or have a poor appetite. It's possible your cat will have weight loss or a frequent fever. It's possible for your pet to cough up blood. 

Pulmonary Edema

Pulmonary edema, a condition that occurs along with heart failure, may cause your furry friend to breathe with his or her mouth open. Your animal may also be short of breath or have a dry, hacking cough. You might notice your cat has congestion as a result of fluid retention in the lungs. Wheezing is a common symptom of pulmonary edema. Your pet might feel lethargic and not be able to exercise or play, especially for long periods of time. A loss of appetite is also a sign of this particular condition. The condition is chronic and requires treatment from a veterinarian. It can even lead to a serious pet emergency that will require immediate assistance from a veterinarian. 

Lodged Item in the Throat

Your pet might have a lodged item in his or her throat that causes difficulty breathing. He or she might breathe with his or her mouth open in order to try to get air. This requires immediate medical attention to remove the item. 


Seizures occur due to abnormal electric signals in the brain, which may cause a loss of consciousness. Your cat might experience an aura after the event that will cause your pet to appear frightened or dazed. The animal may fall over to one side, salivate profusely, urinate or defecate, make odd vocalization sounds or open-mouth breathe.

Schedule an Appointment

If your pet is experiencing difficulty breathing, contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn what to do in the event of an emergency. You can reach us at Animal Emergency Care of Braselton, serving Braselton and the surrounding area, by calling (470) 209-7222.