Can Cats Breathe Through Their Mouth?

Can Cats Breathe Through Their Mouth? The vast majority of cats breathe mainly through their noses but it is possible for them to breathe through their mouths.

However, they are only likely to do so in extreme circumstances. A cat breathing through its mouth may be a sign that it’s under lots of stress and maybe getting ill.

Can Cats Breathe Through Their Mouth

If a cat breathes through its mouth often, it is likely due to an infection of some sort such as asthma or inflammation. It could also be because they have food particles in their windpipe. That’s why if you ever notice your cat breathing this way more than usual, maybe try brushing its teeth more frequently or at least talk to your vet about it to make sure everything’s alright.

Having Trouble

Cats breathing through their mouths is a sign that they’re not in good shape. But, it’s not always the case, and they are just taking in extra oxygen after a burst of strenuous exercise.

For example, if your cat is breathing heavily after running around outside, but then returns to normal a few minutes later there’s really no need to worry.

However, if your cat is in the mood for play and lacks energy or lies down and won’t get up, or has glassy eyes while breathing heavily through its mouth, there may be something wrong.


Just as asthma is common in humans, it occurs in humans and sometimes cats. In the latter species, the condition makes it difficult for them to breathe.

Asthma typically develops around the age of 2-7 years old, with female cats and specific breeds including Siamese and Himalayan cats being more at risk.

Alongside their open-mouth breathing for air, cats may also exhibit other signs and symptoms of asthma as well.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) can affect your cat’s upper respiratory system. Rather than targeting their lungs, these infections cause problems in the upper airways in their nose and throat.

Therefore, alongside an open mouth breathing cat is probably experiencing other symptoms too including Nasal congestion or a runny nose Sneezing and coughing Drooling Oral or nasal ulcers Clear discharge from the eyes and nose.


Why does a cat’s mouth breathe?

Cats quickly cool themselves by using saliva to spread across their tongue and into the back of their throat where it is absorbed by the tissue there.

By breathing through their mouths, cats can increase this process because they are able to make contact with more paths compared to if they were opting for nose breathing.

Why does my cat have his mouth open?

Cats often keep their mouths hanging open as they stealthily prowl around for unsuspecting prey.

As your cat sniffs her way through her surroundings, she uses Jacobson’s organ, a specialized organ that eliminates the scent particles and transfers them to the vomeronasal sac in order to identify their source.

As cats use this technique to hone in on any displeasing scents, it helps endanger many small creatures all over the world including field grasshoppers who can be easily consumed by your feline friend.

Final Words

So, can cats breathe through their mouths? Yes, and this is because like all mammals and birds, cats are obligate nasal breathers. But when they’re not able to breathe normally as is often the case during colder months when our furnaces are turned off they will begin to mouth-breathe while they recover. Some medical conditions and diseases that can cause your cat to open its mouth while breathing include issues with upper respiratory infections such as feline asthma, pleural effusion, heatstroke, or anemia due to feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV).

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