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Hello. Welcome to JustAnswer. I am Dr Z. I'm reviewing your question now, and will post back with a reply ASAP.
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Can you tell me how long he has been like this?
Has he been eating and drinking today?
Is he moving about or is he just laying around?
Thank you for the prompt reply. His symptoms are very concerning and should be considered an emergency. Open mouth breathing along with an increased respiratory rate can be suggestive of either pulmonary disease or cardiac disease. In a cat of his age, asthma has to be on the list, and it is possible that he smoky air last night flared it up. Here is more information about astma in cats. LINK HERE
The other possibility of cardiac disease has to be considered. In that case, the most common form would be hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. These cats will develop distress due to poor circulation and also often times fluid build up around their lungs which does not allow them to expand their lungs and oxygenate well. Here is a link with more info about that LINK HERE
I would definitely urge you to seek ER veterinary intervention tonight so that a diagnosis can be made and treatment can be administered. Take care to try and keep him calm as in either of these scenarios, they can be very fragile patients and stress can exacerbate further respiratory distress.
I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you.
My posted replies are for general education only and not meant as a diagnosis. Only after a thorough veterinary examination can a diagnosis for your pet be made and specific treatments be advised or medications be prescribed.
There is really nothing that you can do at home other than to keep him calm and unstressed. It is certainly a good sign that he has eaten normally tonight. I would be more suspicious of possible pulmonary disease (asthma) versus cardiac disease from what you have described, but it certainly warrants evaluation. Good luck with him and please keep me posted as to how things progress.