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Rapid breathing can often be caused by some kind of stress. You should evaluate the situation and see if there are any new stresses.
Obstructions of the nose, tracheal problems and laryngeal problems can also cause increased (or seem to cause) increased respiration.
If your cat is not on heartworm prevention, he might be showing clinical signs of heartworm disease or other heart problem.
If it continues, you need to see your vet as soon as you can.
Let me know if you still have questions.
I would be very worried that this is in response to pain, particularly if she has had urinary or bladder stones before.
She might have a urinary blockage that is causing pain, hence the panting.
I would consider this to be urgent and seek medical care.
I hope this works out for you! Let me know how she does tomorrow!
I am very sorry to hear about this. I feel for you and your family during this tough time.
We lost our 17 year old cat, that we got as a kitten in 88, last week. The loss is tremendous and it's very painful.
I am thinking of you.
What a regal looking cat!