How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr. B. Your Own Question
Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 19583
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
Type Your Cat Veterinary Question Here...
Dr. B. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Cat has heavy breathing like her breathing is labored, and

Customer Question

cat has heavy breathing like her breathing is labored, and weight loss
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
How long has Lily been like this?
Are her gums pink or pale/white?
Since you noted that she is breathing heavy, can you take a breathing rate for me (just count her breaths for 10 seconds + multiply that by 6)?
Does she sound congested?
Is she open mouth breathing?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
she has been like this for 4 days. her gums are pink her breath smells horible' her breathing rate is 54 and labored. dosent realy sound congested' but i can feel a little rattle in her when i hold her. but she is not open mouth breathing. also she dose not like it at all when i tryed to touch her mouth to check her gums. ( far more than normal)
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
she has very low energy,almost lathargic and stares off into space alot
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you,
First, we have to appreciate that this breathing rate is much quicker then it should be (normal breathing rates are ~20-30 bpm). Therefore, while it is good that she still has pink gums (paling would tell us that she is either not getting enough oxygen, has a heart/circulation/anemia issue), we need to be wary that she may be having to breathe this fast to maintain that. As well, if her breath smells terrible alongside these signs, I would be concerned to whether we have a pneumonia (as opposed to a congestion causing upper respiratory tract infection). And that could explain the rattle you felt.
As well, just to note, often these cats will stop eating/drinking, not because there is a GI issue but because they cannot expend the breath and energy to focus on doing anything but breathing. And it is the same reason why she likely didn't want her mouth handled or anything done that would break her concentration on breathing.
Now based on all of her signs, her breathing rate, and the duration of this; I have to say that I am very concerned about Lily. Cats can only maintain elevated breathing rates for only so long before they crash. Therefore, in this case, I do feel that she needs to be seen urgently. Her vet (or an ER vet) can put her on oxygen to help her breathe comfortably. Depending on what they find on exam and when listening to her lungs; she may just need intense antibiotic treatment to clear any lurking pneumonia. As well, the vet can start her on bronchodilating medication, anti-inflammatories, and decongestants to open her airways, reduce inflammation within them, and get her breathing better.
Overall, these would be our concerns here. And if we can address this lung issue to get her breathing comfortably; I would expect her appetite to return and for her to regain weight. But I would act quickly if it is 4 days already and she is starving herself for need to get a breath.
In this situation, it would be prudent to get your wee one to the emergency vet. To find your local ER veterinary clinic, you can check @
Please take care,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you very much Dr. B . we are takeing her to the vet now!!! Have a great day!!!
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.
You are very welcome, my dear.
I do think that is the best course of action for wee Lily and I wish her the best in this situation.
Please take care,
Dr. B.

Related Cat Veterinary Questions