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Why is my cat breathing hard?

By: Dr. Debra Primovic

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Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra - my cat is a little over one year old by months and sometimes when we pick him up he sniffs our ears with his ears tucked back and kind of vigorously.

Also he is very large and breaths real hard I think he has a hard time breathing because when he tries to sleep he has to be in front of a fan or sitting his upper body of propped up on the arm of furniture.

Why does he do the sniffing and is his breathing a serious problem or is there something I can do?

Andrea Newell


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote that your cat does a lot of sniffing and sometimes seems like he has trouble breathing. Without seeing him – I can't tell if he is smelling as a normal behavior or having trouble breathing.

If there is any chance of him having trouble breathing – I'd recommend having him evaluated by your veterinarian. I'd want to make sure he doesn't have a diaphragmatic hernia, pleural effusion or underling heart problem.

Your vet will probably want to do a physical examination and possibly take an x-ray.
Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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