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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.
Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 30 years of experience and would be happy work with you.
Any time a cat is experiencing respiratory distress as you describe, it should be treated as an emergency, especially when his history is unknown to you. Common causes of such distress include asthma, heart disease that leads to fluid around the lungs, heartworm disease and pneumonia. After a thorough physical exam and chest xrays, your vet will have a better idea of what the problem may be and what can be done to help him.
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.