After a mother cat has given birth, postnatal care for her newborn kittens is critical, and your observational skills are key at this sensitive moment. Look for warning indications of health concerns, as well as kitten developmental milestones such as physical activity, in the first several weeks.
So, why is your cat panting after giving birth?
There could be many reasons behind your cat panting after giving birth such as Asthma, Heartworm, or stress and trauma.
Keep reading this article to know more about, why your cat is panting after giving birth.
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Is Panting Normal For Cats After Giving Birth?
Yes, panting in cats is normal after giving birth.
After giving birth, it’s common for mama cats to pant.
While their insides adjust and their uterus returns to its usual form, they do this for the first week or so.
Lethargy in Mom or kittens, kittens not gaining weight steadily, Mom losing her appetite, or discharge from Mom’s vagina are all signs of trouble that warrant a visit to the vet (a little bit of blood during and after birth is normal).
If Mom is not cleaning and caring for her kittens properly, she may require assistance or be too tired to do so herself; contact your veterinarian for instructions.
Panting is normal in mother cats; it does not indicate that they are overheated. If you’re concerned about overheating, simply make sure the room is at a comfortable temperature.
If it is, and Mom is uncomfortable, she will simply find a cooler place to lounge for a while. Many mom cats will stay near the nest rather than in it, keeping an eye on their kittens from a nearby perch and returning every hour or so to nurse the kittens.
She knows how to stay comfortable as an adult cat, and the kittens rely on her for warmth and food.
Giving birth is a difficult and stressful experience. Your cat was panting in agony and exhaustion.
Don’t worry about it as long as she’s doing her job (taking care of her kittens, feeding them, cleaning them, etc.). She’s probably stopped panting.
You might also like to check out do cats pant when stressed
Why Does My Cat Keep Panting After Giving Birth?
Here are some medical reasons why your cat could be panting after giving birth: –
Many feline pet parents are surprised to learn that this common human illness can also affect their feline companions!
Feline asthma is hypothesized to be a disorder in which a cat’s body produces an allergic reaction to inhaled particles from the environment, causing constriction and narrowing of the lungs’ airways. It affects 1-5 percent of all cats.
Asthmatic cats cough, wheeze, pant, or breathe at a higher pace than normal, and they may even vomit.
This illness can vary in severity in cats, but it can become life-threatening during an asthma episode, just as it can in humans.
Thankfully, cat asthma can be effectively managed with the use of inhaler therapy to provide steroids to the lungs as well as bronchodilators.
Asthmatic cats may exhibit symptoms such as wheezing, fast breathing, coughing or hacking, open-mouthed breathing, and vomiting.
Acute respiratory crises to persistent, low-grade coughing, raised the respiratory rate, or increased respiratory effort are all possible symptoms.
These signals can occur spontaneously or be triggered by lightly touching the cat’s throat area.
Many cats droop their bodies near to the ground and extend their necks forward in a characteristic posture during an asthma episode.
Veterinarians commonly give corticosteroids to reduce inflammation in the lungs, together with or without bronchodilators to expand the airways, to treat feline asthma.
Oral, inhaled, and injectable versions of both of these medicines are available.
Although corticosteroids can be administered on their own, bronchodilators are rarely used alone since they do not treat the airway inflammation that causes asthma.
Other medicines and treatments for feline asthma have yet to be demonstrated to be effective.
Experimental therapies for feline asthma, such as desensitization to specific allergens (similar to allergy shots in humans), the use of omega-3 fatty acids, and drugs that disrupt the metabolic pathways that lead to inflammation, show promise, but more research is needed to refine them and prove their safety and effectiveness.
Other techniques, such as cleaning indoor air and avoiding allergens, are occasionally advocated because they are effective in human asthma patients, but they have not been extensively researched or confirmed to function in feline asthma patients.
2. Congestive Heart Failure
Cats, like dogs and people, can develop a variety of cardiac diseases that result in fluid backlog and accumulation in and around the lungs, which is one of the hallmarks of congestive heart failure.
Many veterinarians and feline pet parents are frustrated by the fact that many cats might have heart disease that goes unnoticed until they suffer a total heart failure event.
This is particularly true in the case of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (or HCM). The heart muscle thickens, becomes less flexible, and has to beat significantly faster and inefficiently as a result of its size.
This disease, which is particularly common in the Maine Coon breed, can cause difficulties breathing, panting, coughing, decreased appetite, weight loss, and, in severe cases, the risk of blood clots forming and spreading to other parts of the body.
Oxygen therapy, diuretics (medicine to help remove fluid from the lungs), medication to help reduce the heart rate and allow for more efficient cardiac beats, aspirin to help prevent blood clots, and other life-saving methods are all used in emergency situations.
Unfortunately, many cats diagnosed with congestive heart failure die within a year of receiving their diagnosis.
If a heart disease is detected early enough, before congestive heart failure occurs, your cat may be able to stay with you for several years if their heart disease responds well to therapy.
As the sole person who sees your cat on a regular basis, you must pay great attention. Keep a close eye on your cat’s weight, as both an increase and a decrease in weight can lead to heart disease in cats.
Make sure your cat eats a well-balanced diet, as nutrition plays an important role in feline heart disease. Therapeutic cat diets are available to help halt the course of heart disease in cats.
Annual exams and routine blood work are also advised, as this allows your veterinarian to spot trends of creeping blood values before they exceed normal ranges.
If you have an at-risk purebred cat or a cat with a family history of heart disease, an annual heart ultrasound to screen for early signs of heart disease should be discussed with your veterinarian.
There are also genetic tests for HCM that your veterinarian can discuss with you to see if they are appropriate for your pet.
You might also like to check out reasons behind newborn kitten panting
3. Respiratory Infection
Cats can also get respiratory infections from viruses, bacteria, and even fungal organisms in their nasal passages and lungs.
When these infectious agents infiltrate the respiratory system, the body’s immune system mounts a massive inflammatory response in an attempt to combat the disease, resulting in a situation very similar to that of an asthmatic cat.
Cats with respiratory infection inflammation will also have difficulty breathing (either too quickly or with too much effort), cough, pant, and be very lethargic.
Vets treat these cats with oxygen therapy, antibiotics, and humidifiers or steam therapy to try to clear the nasal passages, depending on the cause.
Upper respiratory viral infections, such as Herpes and Calicivirus, can be especially difficult for young kittens who do not have aggressive support.
4. Heartworm Disease
While most people associate heartworm disease with dogs, cats can also become infected with the disease after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
While many pet parents wonder how their indoor cat could have been exposed to this disease, I frequently ask how many times their cat has lounged on a windowsill with the window open and how many mosquitoes they have found inside their homes.
Heartworm-infected cats may cough, pant, and have labored breathing. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease in cats, and it is often fatal.
To reduce the inflammation caused by this parasite, Vets try to treat these cats with oxygen therapy and steroids.
Consult your veterinarian about the monthly heartworm preventatives for cats that can help your feline family member avoid heartworm disease.
Anxiety in cats is a common cause of normal feline panting, but it can also be a source of abnormal panting if it persists in the home or during extended travel.
If you notice your cat overgrooming, inappropriate urination, hissing, hiding, or changes in appetite, consult your veterinarian about available anti-anxiety strategies, which may include behavioral modifications, pheromone therapy (calming hormones to keep in the home or around the carrier), and even anxiety medications and calming aids.
Also, check out reasons behind pregnant cat breathing fast
Why Mother Cat Panting While Nursing?
The reason behind the mother cat panting while nursing could be that she is suffering from milk fever.
Eclampsia, also known as milk fever or lactation tetany, can occur 3-5 weeks after kitten birth.
This is caused by a sudden decrease in the amount of calcium circulating in the nursing queen’s bloodstream, which is caused by increased milk production demands.
The cat is frequently nursing a large litter of kittens.
The indications are initially subtle. The female may be restless or panting, and you may notice her moving stiffly, leading to her inability to walk.
This quickly leads to muscle spasms (tetany) affecting the entire body, which can quickly lead to convulsions.
Some affected cats may develop a fever, become disoriented, aggressive, restless, and excessively paced.
Eclampsia is a life-threatening medical condition. If you suspect eclampsia is developing, stop suckling the kittens and contact your veterinarian right away.
Restlessness, panting, muscle tremors, and incoordination are early symptoms of milk fever. It can progress to tetanic (rigid, stiff-legged) muscular spasms, convulsions (seizures), or coma if not treated.
This is a potentially fatal condition. Seek veterinary care right away if you suspect your cat is suffering from milk fever.
The condition is quickly reversed with IV injections of calcium preparations. The queen may need to be hospitalized and her calcium levels monitored until she is stable.
Remove the kittens from the queen and provide them with bottle feeding or weaning if they are old enough.
Also, check out Cat Vomiting After Giving Birth: Is It Normal?
Frequently Asked Questions
When can I touch my cat’s newborn kittens?
It’s usually best to avoid touching your cat’s newborn kittens at first. She will be very protective of them and may not want you to touch them, so unless something is wrong, respect her space. When newborns are handled excessively, their mothers may reject them. After a few weeks, if your cat is comfortable with it, you may be able to gently stroke the new kittens. It is critical to begin socializing the kittens as early as week two, and this will include some handling.
What is dyspnea in cats?
Dyspnea in cats is characterized by significant difficulty inhaling and exhaling, also known as respiratory distress. This is sometimes manifested by panting and heavy breathing. Dyspnea is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a symptom of many different diseases. Understanding the potential causes of your cat’s panting can help you differentiate between normal panting and dyspnea, which can affect your cat’s prognosis in the event of a veterinary emergency. Diagnosis of dyspnea in cats will be based primarily on any other symptoms discovered during a physical examination. Veterinarians will usually look for abdominal pain, anemia, normal reflexes, and an elevated body temperature.
How to transport a cat with dyspnea to a veterinarian?
If your cat is having trouble breathing at home, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. When transporting a cat with dyspnea, keep them inside a cat carrier or box to avoid further compromising their breathing. You should also try to reduce stress as much as possible. Anxiety can be reduced by placing a breathable blanket over the carrier to block their view.
If you notice that your cat is panting after giving birth, you must take her to the vet as soon as possible, to check for medical complications, and learn about the best course of action.
If you have any questions, ask us in the comments section.