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Ask Dr. Christian K. Your Own Question
Dr. Christian K.
Dr. Christian K., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10146
Experience:  12 year of veterinary experience in feline surgery, medicine and behavior
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My cats whole body moves when she breathes. Her mouth opens

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My cat's whole body moves when she breathes. Her mouth opens wide also. She isn't making any noise, and she looks normal except for her sides. She's ten years old and hasn't had any medical problems that I'm aware of. What's going on? What should I do?
This is Dr. Christian. I'd like to help.
When did this start?
Is she moving her belly in and out a lot as she breathes?
Is she eating and drinking?
Is she an indoor or outdoor cat?
Are her gums a normal pink color or do they seem pale or have a bluish color?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It began today. I noticed it a few hours ago, but I was gone most of the day so it could have been longer. She is moving her belly in and out a lot, and she has black gums (she always has) so I'm not sure about that. She is an indoor cat, and she has been eating and drinking normally until today but I haven't seen her do it in the few hours I've been home.

Thank you for answering my questions. When a cat is having abdominal breathing like you've described it typically means there is a problem with the chest cavity making it very difficult for a cat to breathe and take in oxygen. There are numerous possible causes but here are the most common ones:

Heart failure
Pleural effusion which is a buildup of fluid around the lungs caused by infection, cancer or heart disease

Considering the severity of these symptoms and the possible causes it's best to have her seen by a veterinarian immediately. Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done at home and this difficult breathing is an emergency situation. If you have more questions please reply back.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I use public transportation and won't be able to take her to the vet until tomorrow. Is there anything I can do in the mean time?

Okay. The best you can do is keep her as calm and stress free as possible. Pointing a fan set on low towards her may help air flow enough to help as well.
Dr. Christian K. and other Cat Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Laura,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. Christian K.