Why Do Maine Coons Pant?

Maine Coons are large and athletic, so why do Maine Coons pant?

Their wild origins and large lungs might wrongly imply these large cats do not pant, so panting can generate understandable concern for Maine Coon owners. Keep reading to find out why your Maine Coon pants and what to do.

Maine Coons pant for a variety of reasons. This behavior can be a normal and healthy response to intense physical activity, but it should not be a common occurrence. Panting can also be a symptom of stress, overheating, or heart issues.

Understanding the nuanced differences between the reasons for panting can help you make your cat comfortable.

In some situations, this knowledge could even lead to a diagnosis that can save your cat’s life!

Keep reading to learn everything you need to understand about Maine Coon panting, and when owners need to help their cats.

Why Do Maine Coons Pant?

Panting is when a cat opens its mouth and often sticks out its tongue to take deep or rapid breaths.

This behavior is not commonly seen in cats since there are very few reasons it should happen in healthy felines.

So why is my cat panting?

The most common causes of cat panting are listed below:

1. Exhaustion

Exhaustion is the only reason a healthy and happy Maine Coon might pant. You may have noticed this behavior after an intense or drawn-out play session with your cat.

In these scenarios their bodies respond like ours, drawing in as much oxygen as possible to support increased muscle function during exercise.

Cats that are out of shape may pant longer or start panting sooner than their fit counterparts.

Regardless of your cat’s physique they should settle down and stop panting once playtime is over.

Not all cats will pant during play, and if panting continues long after playtime it might actually be the result of one of the causes below.

2. Stress

Stress can take a serious toll on a cat’s health by dampening its immune system and worsening its quality of life.

Stress-related panting can be differentiated from exhaustion-related panting because it tends to persist when your cat is not exerting enough energy to be exhausted.

Other signs of stress include:

  • Behavioral Changes
  • Shift In Appetite
  • Increased Scratching

Take note of these signs and when they occur, by writing them in a notebook.

This is important, as writing the information down helps you monitor occurrences of Maine Coon panting. You can also show this to the vet if required.

If your pet’s panting is purely the result of stress, then removing the stressor should help them return to a normal rate of 20 to 35 breaths per minute.

Keep in mind that stress can come in many forms, the two most common being environmental and internal, which we will explore next.

3. Heat

Maine Coons were built to survive harsh cold climates, so heat is not their strong suit.

With a larger build and thick coat, Maine Coons can overheat in some environments.

Since cats do not have the ability to sweat as humans do, they default to panting as a method to cool off. Whilst this is helpful, it does not solve their problem.

Before you question if shaving your Maine Coon cat’s thick fur off, will cool them down, it is worth noting that shaving a Maine Coon also does not solve this problem either!

Learn about the famous Maine Coon lion cut, in this article.

The best thing you can do for a Maine Coon that is overheating is to change its environment.

Turn on fans, offer shaded areas, ensure they have plenty of water, and if possible remove them from the heat source.

If the panting stops after they cool off then the temperature is the likely culprit, but overheating can also exacerbate underlying health issues.

4. Health Issues 

Their size and breed history have predisposed Maine Coons to a variety of health issues.

Heart and respiratory conditions are the most likely to cause changes in breathing, but any internal source of stress or discomfort can also result in panting.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a condition of the heart that is known to affect this breed.

It starts with the thickening of the heart’s left ventricle, eventually resulting in an overflow of blood into the lungs and decreased cardiac function.

Compromised lungs cause cats to feel short of breath, so they pant to bring in more oxygen to compensate for reduced lung function.

This health issue will only intensify if it is not treated.

Anemia and blood parasites are other concerns of the cardiac system that can result in panting.

The prior causes poor oxygen dispersion in the body which the body attempts to compensate for through heavy breathing.

The latter can result in blockages and backflow of blood into the lungs, which is why heartworm prevention is so important in cats.

The respiratory system can be labored by a variety of conditions, the most common being:

  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Fluid In The Abdomen
  • Respiratory Inflammation From Disease Or Toxins
  • Airway Obstructions

Each of these conditions can limit a Maine Coon’s ability to breathe in and out, causing them to pant as they try to take in as much oxygen as possible with each breath.

Is Cat Panting Normal?

There are only a few scenarios where cat panting is considered to be normal, for healthy felines.

In the majority of circumstances, this behavior is a reason for concern and requires some form of medical consult or environmental change.

So how do Maine Coon cats pant?

They pant like any other cat, with their mouth wide, tongue out, and an increased respiratory rate.

If you have never seen your cat pant that is generally a good thing, but it is always a possibility that owners should be vigilant of.

Why Do Cats Pant With Their Mouth Open?

If you find yourself wondering, why is my cat panting with her mouth open, then a majority of your answers can be found in the first section of this article.

In short, panting is a sign of:

  • Exhaustion
  • Stress
  • Overheating
  • Health Issues

If your cat’s panting does not stop after they calm down it is worth investigating further.

In cats with underlying health issues, panting should be taken very seriously and a veterinary assessment is the best option.

Why Is My Cat Panting And Meowing?

Panting can be related to exhaustion, whereas meowing is more commonly used to gain the attention of an owner.

Meowing that sounds like howling can be related to sexual maturity.

When panting and meowing are combined with the fleming response it may seem like your cat is meowing and panting when they are actually trying to track down a mate.

Meows or howls that are combined with true panting and labored breathing may be your cat’s way of trying to get your help when they do not feel well.

It is best to check a meowing and panting cat for signs of distress, especially if they have been fixed.

When Should I Worry About Cat Panting?

Cat panting is a reason for concern whenever it is ongoing, or if your cat displays other signs of discomfort.

Labored breathing, a crouched position with an extended neck, noisy breathing, and any other abnormal behaviors can be signs of health issues that require immediate treatment. 

Treatments For Cat Panting

The treatments chosen for panting are specific to the causes.

If your Maine Coon is simply panting from playing hard, then rest will be an effective treatment.

Heat is best treated by a change in the environment that lowers the temperature unless your cat is overheating for internal reasons like a fever.

Fevers and any other illness-related health issues have to be diagnosed by a veterinarian before being treated.

For example, a cat panting from an upper respiratory infection may need antibiotics to fight the infection, while a cat panting from a heart condition may need medications that support cardiac function.

The dose and type of medication are specific to each pet and its situation.

Supportive care can be combined with a variety of treatment options as well. This may include fluids and oxygen treatments that help the body regain a normal breathing rhythm.


So why do Maine Coons pant?

It is the result of an imbalance in the body which requires more oxygen or causes discomfort.

This can be the result of exercise, excessive heat, stress, and health issues.

Paying attention to when and if your cat pants can help you understand why, and when in doubt it is always best to seek professional medical advice (source 1,2,3,4,5).

Related Questions

Why Do Cats Pant In Cars?

Car rides are a foreign and stressful experience for some cats. The stress of this experience can cause them to pant. Cats who pant in cars tend to stop once they are removed from that environment and are able to feel comfortable again.


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.

Recent Posts