14 Reasons Why Maine Coons Breath Heavy


If you notice your Maine Coon breathing heavily, it is not usually a cause for concern so long as it only occurs after physical or mental exertion.

However, if your cat’s resting breath is still heavy, then you may want to take your cat to the vet.

It is normal for cats to breathe heavily when stressed or after playing. If a resting cat’s breathing is consistently heavy, though, it generally indicates underlying health problems. A cat that is breathing heavily could have asthma, heart problems, an underlying respiratory condition, or some other medical concern.

A cat breathing heavily is not always indicative of a serious problem, but if you notice it in your cat then it is probably a good idea to visit the vet just in case.

If you think your cat might be having some breathing problems, then read on to find out more!

Why Is My Maine Coon Breathing Heavy?

The Maine Coon is a sturdy breed that developed naturally in the northeastern United States.

Unlike many purebred cats, the Maine Coon is considered to be a very healthy breed that is only prone to a few genetic conditions.

Furthermore, most responsible cat breeders will test all of their queens and studs for these genetic conditions before breeding them.

Still, Maine Coons are susceptible to illnesses and medical conditions just like any other cat.

If you have a Maine Coon, noisy breathing might make you worried, but it is not always a sign that something sinister is going on.

Here are 10 reasons for noisy Maine Coon breathing, which cause your Maine Coon cat breathing to sound heavy.

Still, it is a good idea to pay close attention to your Maine Coon’s breathing and visit the vet if you have reason to believe your cat is suffering from an underlying condition.

Here are some of the potential reasons your Maine Coon is breathing heavily (source 1,2,3,4):

Play

Maine Coons are known to play a lot harder than most cats.

They love to run, jump, climb, and wrestle with other cats or even dogs!

If you notice your cat breathing heavily after a particularly invigorating play session, do not worry right away.

However, you should keep an eye out for:

  • Drooling Pale Gums
  • Other Concerning Symptoms

Here are my favorite Maine Coon cat toys, which this larger-than-average cat breed loves to play with.

If you have been wondering what to buy a Maine Coon, here are the 21 best products for your gentle giant.

Stress

Has your cat just fallen from a high place, or have you just moved or introduced a new pet into the household?

If so, then you probably do not need to worry.

Cats will breathe more heavily when they are stressed, but their heavy breathing should subside as they calm down.

Here are the key signs that your Maine Coon is feeling stressed.

Make sure you read this guide and take note of what Maine Coon health problems to watch out for.

Overheating

While it is normal for dogs to pant as a means to cool down, cats primarily regulate temperature through their:

  • Fur
  • Nose
  • Paw Pads

If you notice your cat panting like a dog, then it is likely overheated.

Owners that allow their cat outside on hot days need to make sure their Maine Coon has access to lots of cool, fresh water and shade or air conditioning.

If it is the summertime and you are struggling to keep your Maine Coon cool, follow these tips for immediate ways to cool your fluffy Maine Coon cat.

Obstruction

A cat may start breathing heavily if it is choking or something is caught in its throat.

If your cat has pale or blue gums and difficulty breathing, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect an obstruction.

Asthma

Humans are not the only creatures who can suffer from asthma.

Cats can also have this chronic condition, which often leads to:

  • Coughing Fits
  • Maine Coon Snoring
  • Difficulty Breathing

Asthma can have different triggers in different cats.

For example, some cats may have asthma attacks after playing too vigorously, while others have asthma attacks during dry weather.

Learn more details about Maine Coon Asthma in this article.

Obesity

A cat that is excessively obese may have extra pressure on its heart and lungs, leading to labored breathing.

Obesity can also lead to:

If you are not sure if your Maine Coon is overweight take a look at our cat weight guide.

Allergies

Allergic reactions in cats generally result in itching, but they can also cause breathing problems.

The most severe allergic reaction is anaphylactic shock, where the affected cat’s airways narrow until it can no longer breathe.

These are the main allergies that Maine Coon cats are prone to.

Respiratory Infection

Maine Coon nasal issues like sneezing or difficulty breathing could point to a respiratory infection.

Most respiratory infections can be easily taken care of with medication and rest.

However, more serious respiratory infections like pneumonia require more intensive care, and can even lead to death if left untreated.

Here are some other things that Maine Coon cats die from.

Pain

Heavy breathing in Maine Coon cats can indicate a wide range of problems, including pain.

If a cat has recently suffered a traumatic injury or is dealing with pain from arthritis or other conditions, it may breathe more heavily or have difficulty breathing.

A cat that is in pain will typically sit with a hunched posture and may purr as a way to self-soothe.

Heartworm

Cats can contract heartworm through mosquito bites.

An infected mosquito can pass the parasite Dirofilaria immitus, which can cause the following physical symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight Loss
  • Breathing Problems

If the heartworm completes its life cycle and dies while still inside the affected cat, it can result in the following:

  • Severe Inflammation
  • Anaphylactic Shock
  • Sometimes Death

You can learn about Maine Coon cat coughing in this article.

Cancer

Some cancers, particularly those that affect the lungs, can lead to serious breathing problems.

If your cat has been breathing heavily for a long time, you should go to the vet straight away to rule out cancer.

Poison

Ingesting certain poisons or toxins can result in respiratory problems.

If your cat has pale or blue gums, diarrhea, or vomiting, you should go to the vet as soon as possible.

If you think your cat has ingested something dangerous, go to the vet before you notice any concerning symptoms.

Heart Disease

Various kinds of heart disease can also have an impact on your cat’s respiratory system.

Heart disease can also cause fluid to build up in the lungs, or it can cause your cat’s heart to enlarge, which makes breathing more difficult.

Other Underlying Medical Problems

Unfortunately, there are many different illnesses and conditions that can cause heavy breathing in cats, from anemia to pulmonary edema.

The only way to truly discover the cause of your cat’s breathing problems is by going to the vet.

Do Maine Coons Breathe Heavy?

If you notice your Maine Coon breathing heavily, you might wonder if it is natural, since these cats tend to be much larger and more playful.

However, the Maine Coon breathing rate should be about the same as the normal respiratory rate for a cat, which ranges between 24 and 48 breaths per minute.

Your Maine Coon may be on the higher end of that spectrum due to its larger size and heavier coat.

However, your Maine Coons’ breathing rate should not exceed 48 breaths per minute, except after exercise.

Maine Coon Breathing Problems

If you have just gotten a Maine Coon then you may be wondering do Maine Coons have breathing problems?

This breed is generally considered to be healthy, especially if you get one from a responsible breeder who screens for genetic conditions before breeding cats.

Here are some of the types of breathing problems that can occur in Maine Coons:

1. Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy

If your vet has ever mentioned heart problems to you, then you might be wondering, what is HCM in Maine Coon cats?

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, also known as HCM, is a condition that causes the walls of the cat’s heart to thicken over time, eventually leading to death.

Responsible breeders screen all of their queens and studs for this condition before breeding them.

However, if your Maine Coon’s breeders did not take this precaution, your Maine Coon could suffer from fatigue and breathing problems as the condition advances.

These are the main signs of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

2. Tachypnea

Tachypnea in Maine Coon cats means that your cat is breathing more quickly than usual.

Most cats have about 24 to 48 breaths per minute.

If you notice your Maine Coon breathing fast, then it could indicate that something is wrong.

Tachypnea is to be expected after rough play or a walk outside on a hot day, but keep an eye on your cat to make sure its breathing rate slows back to normal once it has calmed down.

3. Panting

Panting is completely normal in dogs, but in cats, it usually means that it is either overheated or having difficulty breathing.

If you notice your Maine Coon panting while resting, you should go to the vet as soon as possible, especially if your cat is drooling or fatigued.

Read this article to find out why your Maine Coon pants.

4. Wheezing

When a cat wheezes, it can sound like a quiet whistling or a soft vocalization as your cat inhales or exhales.

Wheezing occurs when a cat’s airways are constricted by inflammation, asthma, or other problems.

It does not usually indicate an emergency, but it often means your cat has some respiratory problems.

How To Tell If A Cat Is Having A Hard Time Breathing

Since our cats cannot tell us when something is wrong, we cat owners have to be extra careful when it comes to interpreting our pets’ body language.

If you think your cat is breathing differently than usual but you are not sure if something is wrong, here are some signs that your cat is in respiratory distress (source 1):

Open-Mouth Breathing

Cats almost always breathe through their noses.

If your cat is breathing with its mouth open, then you should get yourself to the vet quickly.

This is especially true if your cat is breathing faster than usual or if your cat has any other concerning symptoms.

Continuous Panting

If your cat is panting, especially if the temperature is cool and your cat has not been playing or running around recently, then you should go to the vet.

Cats only pant if they are having serious trouble breathing or if they are overheated.

Unusual Posture

If your cat is experiencing breathing problems, it will likely sit in a hunched posture with its front elbows pointed out and its neck extended forward.

This may be accompanied by coughing, which could sound more like sneezing or huffing.

Abnormal Movement

A cat that is experiencing respiratory distress may convulse, or its abdomen and chest might move more than usual.

Typically, a cat that is having difficulty breathing will move its chest in a more exaggerated way.

Blue Gums

If your cat is having so much trouble breathing that it is deprived of oxygen, its gums will appear pale or, in more serious cases, blue or purple.

If your cats’ gums are blue or purple you need to consider it a medical emergency and go to the vet straight away.

Collapse

If your cat suddenly collapses or becomes unresponsive, it is a serious emergency that requires immediate medical attention.

If your cat collapses it likely means it is no longer getting the oxygen it needs to survive.

How To Help A Cat Struggling To Breathe

If you notice that your cat is having a hard time breathing, you may feel like there is nothing you can do.

While it is essential to get your cat to the vet right away, there are still some things you can do to help.

Here is what to do when your cat is having a hard time breathing (source 1):

Keep Calm

Try not to panic.

Cats can sense minute changes in our bodies and emotions, so becoming frantic, loud, or moving around very quickly can actually make your cat’s situation more dangerous.

Move To A Peaceful Location

If you think your cat might be overheated, get them to a cool, shady location straight away.

If your cat is in a high-traffic area or you have lots of pets or other people around, move your cat to a quiet, peaceful location.

Provide Medication

If your cat has asthma or allergies, provide any medications your vet has prescribed.

Should your cat not be on any medications, skip this step and head to the vet as soon as possible.

First Aid

It is possible to provide first aid to a cat that is not breathing.

However, if you do not already know how to administer first aid, you should focus on getting your cat to the vet.

This is vital, otherwise, you might end up wasting precious minutes searching for advice that may or may not be accurate.

If you want to prepare yourself for future emergencies, you can ask your vet how to administer first aid.

Emergency Treatment

If your cat is struggling to breathe or has stopped breathing altogether, the best thing you can do is get your cat to an emergency clinic straight away.

You should also call your vet and ask for any advice while you are on the way.

Conclusion

If you notice your Maine Coon breathing heavy, try not to panic.

While heavy breathing can indicate more serious underlying problems in a cat, it can often be attributed to heat exhaustion or playing too rough.

If your cat has stopped breathing or appears to struggle to breathe, get your Maine Coon to the vet as soon as possible.

If you think your Maine Coon might be dealing with an underlying medical problem, check out the rest of our Maine Coon website for more advice and information!

Related Questions

Maine Coon Nose Bump

A bump on a Maine Coon’s nose results in a penalty if you try to show them at cat shows. Nose bumps can also indicate a deformity in the nasal passageway, which could cause breathing problems.

Maine Coon Central

Hello! My name is Katrina Stewardson, and I’m a CRAZY CAT LADY! I've been in love with the Maine Coon cat breed ever since we welcomed an adorable male Maine Coon kitten into our home 10 years ago. We called him 'Pippin', but he also goes by the name ‘Pipsteroo’! Our enormous, kind-hearted cat genuinely thinks he's a dog and has convinced me that cats are Man's True Best Friend! UPDATE: We recently adopted two 4-year-old male Maine Coon cats. They are named Mika and Bali.

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