Why do Bengal Cats Pant

Why Do Bengal Cats Pant?

While cats certainly aren’t known for panting like dogs, you may have observed your Bengal cat panting and are wondering “Why do Bengal cats pant?”.

The truth is, there are several different reasons that Bengal cats pant, and we’re going to look at all of them today so you can know what to do about it, and when you may need to take your Bengal to the vet to figure out why they’re panting.

In this post, we’re going to cover the following:

  • Why Do Bengal Cats Pant?
  • What to Do When Your Bengal is Panting
  • What Your Vet May Do When Your Bengal is Panting

Before we go on, here’s a video of a Bengal cat panting:

Why Do Bengal Cats Pant?

There are a number of reasons that a Bengal cat may be panting. Since it’s not a normal cat behavior, you should always pay attention when your Bengal starts panting to make sure that it’s not being caused by a serious medical condition. Fortunately, most of the time it’s clear why a Bengal is panting so you can act quickly to help them feel better.

Here are some of the non-emergency reasons a Bengal cat may be panting:

Heat

When it’s hot, your Bengal cat gets hot. To cool down, Bengals sweat through their paw pads, but since this isn’t much skin surface, it may not get them cool fast enough. They will then pant to help cool themselves down.

If it’s extremely hot and you see your Bengal cat panting, this could be the reason. This often happens when they are doing a lot of running around or playing on a hot day.

Excitement/Fear/Stress

Sometimes, a Bengal cat will get over-excited about something and may start to pant. It can also happen when they are experiencing fear or anxiety over something. It’s not completely clear why cats pant when under stress, but it’s certainly well-documented.

In most cases, it will be obvious what is making them stressed, anxious, or excited. For example, many cats will pant while taking a car ride since it’s not something most cats enjoy.

Pregnancy/Birth

If your female Bengal cat is pregnant, you may see her panting near the end of her pregnancy or while she is giving birth. During pregnancy, the kittens can put pressure on her diaphragm which makes it harder for her to breathe, so she may pant from time to time to catch her breath. This is more likely to happen if she has a larger number of kittens.

Birth is difficult for cats just like it is for all mammals, so it’s no surprise that she may pant while giving birth since it’s a lot of work. Typically, a small amount of occasional panting during birth is considered normal and not an emergency as long as everything else is moving like it should.

Now, here are some more serious medical problems that could cause a Bengal cat to pant:

Respiratory Blockages

If there’s something blocking airflow, your Bengal cat may pant to try to get enough air. This could be caused by growths in the nose or windpipe, asthma, cancer in the chest or lungs, a hernia, or fluid buildup in the lungs caused by another problem.

Heart Failure

Many times, if there is a problem in the heart, the lungs are also affected because of how close they are to each other physically and because of how much these two organs interact. If a cat is in heart failure, for example, there may be a buildup of fluid around the heart which will put pressure on the lungs and make it difficult for a cat to breathe, leading to panting.

Heartworm

Although most people aren’t aware of this, Bengal cats can also get heartworm like dogs. Because cats’ hearts are smaller than that of a dog, the worm can do quite a bit more damage to a cat and will put a lot of pressure on the heart, blocking blood vessels. When the heart isn’t working right, it can lead to lung problems and panting in cats.

Anemia

Cats can develop anemia for a number of reasons, and it can cause a cat to not be getting enough oxygen to the various parts of their body because of a lack of red blood cells. This can lead to panting in Bengal cats as your cat tries to get enough oxygen.

Nervous System Problems

The nervous system controls every part of the body, so when it’s not working right, it can cause all kinds of problems, panting being just one of them. If a Bengal cat has had head trauma or has a brain tumor, these can prevent the lungs from working right which can lead to panting. Other neurological problems may affect the respiratory muscles directly and lead to your Bengal not being able to breathe right.

Poisoning

One type of poisoning that may cause a Bengal cat to pant is carbon monoxide poisoning. This odorless toxic gas can leak into a home and kill everyone inside. Your pets will likely feel the effects first, and as it prevents them from getting enough oxygen, you may see them panting in an attempt to get enough air. Because of how dangerous it is, you should have a carbon monoxide detector and alarm in your home.

There are also some drugs and medications that can cause a cat to pant for a variety of reasons, which is why it’s so important to keep things like human medication and recreational drugs like marijuana far out of reach from your curious Bengal cat.

What to Do When Your Bengal is Panting

The first thing you should do when you see your Bengal cat panting is to see it’s being caused by an environmental factor, or if it may be something more serious.

If it’s a hot day and your Bengal has been playing hard, encourage them to relax for a while, putting them in a small room or even a cat carrier or cat kennel for a little while so they can’t keep running around.

Be sure to provide them with some fresh water and don’t leave them in there for long since that could stress them out. Just keep an eye on them and make sure they stop panting once they settle down.

If the problem is stress-related, do what you can to remove whatever is causing your cat to feel anxious. Of course this can be impossible if you’re on the way to the vet, but if your Bengal is panting because of fear, then they should settle down soon after being separated from what’s worrying them.

If you have a female Bengal cat that is giving birth and panting, then make sure you keep a close eye on her and look for other signs of distress that may be a sign that there’s a problem, such as excessive bleeding, more than an hour of pushing without a kitten appearing, or sudden lethargy.

When it’s not an environmental cause or your Bengal doesn’t calm down soon after getting out of the situation, then you need to look for other symptoms since it may be a medical problem, and your vet will need as much information as possible to determine what the problem is.

Here are some other things to look for when your Bengal cat is panting:

  • Coughing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Blue gums
  • Fatigue or decreased activity level
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of or poor appetite
  • Excessive thirst
  • Difficulty walking
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you are worried that the reason your Bengal is panting is a medical problem, don’t wait to take them into the vet! The sooner you get your cat in, the sooner they will be able to come up with a diagnosis and start treatment. With most medical problems, the sooner you begin treatment, the better the outcome.

What Your Vet May Do When Your Bengal is Panting

Your vet will likely want to run some tests to figure out why your Bengal cat is panting. They will want to check their blood and look for growths.

Some of the tests your vet may do when your Bengal cat is panting include:

  • Complete blood count to check for anemia and infections
  • Blood chemical panel to check on organ functions and for diabetes
  • Heartworm test
  • X-rays to look for tumors in the chest and abdomen
  • Ultrasounds to check for fluid and to make sure the heart is functioning correctly

Once your vet has determined why your Bengal cat is panting, then they will come up with a treatment plan to help your cat feel better as quickly as possible.

So, why do Bengal cats pant?

Bengal cats may pant for environmental reasons that are not usually a big deal since the cat will settle down and stop panting after they are out of that situation. They may also pant because of an underlying medical problem.

Your job as their owner is to make sure that you figure out what’s causing your Bengal to pant so you can act accordingly, whether it’s putting them in their carrier to settle down for a few minutes or taking them to the vet.

Have you ever seen your Bengal cat pant? What was the reason? Tell us in the comments below, as we’d love to hear from you!