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Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help you today.
I'm sorry that your cat behaves as you've described.
As you probably know, it's fairly unusual for a cat to open-mouth breathe and when they do, there's usually only a few reasons why:
1. They're extremely stressed, anxious and upset or
2. They may have cardiovascular problems which are typically quite serious.
It's not uncommon for cats who are placed in a carrier and driven to the vet's office to become quite stressed and vocalize so I'm fairly certain this is the explanation for his/her behavior.
You might consider use of Feliway which is a cat-specific produce which contains safe pheromones designed to reduce stress and anxiety. It's not effective for every cat but it can be useful for many of them. It's available in a wipe or spray which you would use on the inside of the carrier; just be sure it's dry before placing your cat in the space...usually about 10-15 minutes.
I hope this helps. Deb
You're welcome although I'm sorry that I was off my computer when you responded back.
I'm certain that he's reacting to the stress of the situation...particularly yours!
Hopefully, once things get back to a normal routine, he won't be as reactive.
Best of luck with him and glad you're all safe. Kind regards, Deb