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Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 16836
Experience:  Veterinarian for more than 30 years
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My cat is 15 years old and seems to be struggling to breath

Customer Question

My cat is 15 years old and seems to be struggling to breath lately - making a rasping sound. He's very very timid and a trip to the vet would traumatise him - but we don't want him to be in pain (which he doesn't seem to be - but also don't want him to be uncomfortable. He's eating less but is still going out to relieve himself. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Rebecca replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry to hear you are worried about your cat. I am a veterinarian, and will do my best to help.
I am also worried by your description. Is he opening his mouth, or panting to breathe?
If you look at his gums, are they pink in color or do his gums look pale to you?
If he is struggling to breathe, he may have heart disease, he may have fluid in his lungs, or he may have a respiratory infection. And of these are pretty serious, and since he is older, that is even more concerning to me.
If his gums appear pale, if he has to open his mouth to get enough air to breathe, he may be seriously ill. I sure wish I could just put a stethoscope on him and listen to his heart and lungs; just that much could tell me a lot.
I sure wish I had a home remedy for you to avoid a trip to the vet, but he probably needs to be checked out, and possibly have his chest Xrayed. When cats do open mouth breathing, I always consider that a potential emergency.
Let me know how his gums look and what other questions you have.