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Ever wondered why is your cat panting when you travel by car? So read on, we’ll tell you all about it!

Although there are exceptions to the rule, cats do not like to travel by car. Every car trip is stressful for these sensitive animals because unusual noises and smells make even robust animals nervous.

However, there are some situations that make it necessary to travel with your cat, such as an annual visit to the vet, a move or a long holiday.

During a car trip, it’s not uncommon for your cat to stick out its tongue and pant.

In this article, we’ll look at the reasons for this panting and what you can do to make your next car trip with your mustached companion as pleasant for him as it is for you!

Why Is the Cat Panting?

The Cat Is Stressed or Frightened

When your cat is confronted with a very stressful situation or sudden or prolonged fear it may stick out its tongue while breathing rapidly with its mouth open. It is what we call “cat panting”.

It is not uncommon for this to be accompanied by excessive salivation. In this way, it tries to swallow more air, because fear and stress increase its heart rate and disrupt its breathing.

However, as soon as the situation has passed, your pet should return to normal breathing and calm down.

Cats also don’t like being transported in a carrier and being taken to a place they don’t know and whose smell seems unusual to them.

The Cat Is Too Hot

Cats also pant when they get too hot. This is because a cat does not sweat like a human being. It will pant in order to regulate its body temperature and keep it at an acceptable level.

It is therefore important to make sure that the interior of your vehicle is at a reasonable temperature. If necessary, turn on the air conditioning or roll down the windows to circulate the air.

Also, make sure your small cat’s carrier is in the shade or at least not exposed to direct sunlight.

Finally, make sure your cat has access to fresh water at all times.

Your cat panting doesn’t stop? Read on to see other reasons why cats sometimes pant when travelling by car.

Cat Panting: The Cat Has Trouble Breathing

If you notice your cat sticking its tongue out without any other particular symptoms and regularly throughout the day or over periods of more than 10 minutes, this may be a sign of respiratory distress.

It may have a disorder of its respiratory system or its airways may be obstructed to the point of impeding its breathing.

In this case, don’t wait and make an emergency visit to the vet to prevent it from choking.

The Cat Feels Like Vomiting

It’s not uncommon for a cat to vomit. Most often, this is due to the accumulation of hairballs in its stomach that form with the swallowed hair during her grooming.

However, repeated vomiting can be a sign of other, more serious disorders or diseases.

In any case, the urge to vomit can hinder the cat’s breathing or cause coughing, which causes the cat panting to catch more air.

How Can You Keep Your Cat from Getting Stressed on a Car Trip?

Choose the Right Cat Carrier

It’s better to opt for a rigid cat carrier to prevent your cat from panting in your car – Image by paperelements from Pixabay

Almost no cat voluntarily enters a transport cage. In fact, the appearance and smell of the cage reminds them of unpleasant visits to the vet or long car journeys.

However, cats should be safe when travelling by car.

A rigid plastic carrier, a wicker basket or a rigid nylon bag suitable for transporting your cat is the safest way to keep him safe.

It may be tempting to invest in cat harnesses and leashes, but these accessories do not provide sufficient protection in the event of an accident.

In addition, a cat running loose in a car can be the cause of a fatal accident. He may quickly jump on the headrest, on his owners’ lap or want to hide under the pedals.

Choose cages and carrier bags, which are approved and safe.

Make its Cat Carrier a Nice Place to Be!

Try to make the cage more attractive to help your cat get in.

Instead of using the carrier only for veterinary visits, you can take it out several days or even weeks earlier and place it in the cat’s living space.

Valerian toys and catnip make the crate smell better and calm nervous cats. Pheromone sprays such as Feliway and Felisept have a similar effect.

Use small cat treats and use the crate when playing with your small feline.

That way it will learn to associate the cage with something positive, and maybe the cat panting will stop.

As soon as the cage phobia is gone, you can try to lure your cat into the cage with a toy, fishing rod or treat.

The important thing is to keep the door open and make sure your cat doesn’t feel cramped.

Your cat should be able to get out of the crate whenever it wants.

Make the Car a Nice Place for your Cat

To make the journey as comfortable as possible for your cat, you can air out your car slightly before the journey.

During the journey, the windows should be closed if the car’s ambient temperature permits. Most cats are sensitive to draughts…

The hearing of our domestic tigers is very sensitive, ideally the radio should be turned off.

In new situations, you are your cat’s trustworthy person.

Speak calmly to your companion, this will allow you both to relax.

Don’t Forget to Give It Food and Drink!

Depending on the length of the trip, you may need to feed and water your cat.

To prevent your cat from escaping, be careful not to open the crate door at the same time as the car door.

If it’s a journey of a few minutes or a few hours, leave your cat in its crate, it will probably feel safer.

After the Ride

Finally, it’s over! At the end of the ride, your cat will probably look unstable. This will probably fade after a few minutes, and he’ll probably want to groom himself in a quiet place.

Give your cat time to feel safe again. Ideally, leave the carrier in its environment for a few more days and repeat the adaptation process.

Do you have any tips on how to make your cat feel good in the car and prevent it from panting during the trip? Feel free to share them with us in the comments section!

Cat Panting Photo: ArtBromCC BY-SA 2.0

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About the Author

Skye

A girl from Scotland who's in love with cats! I love to share tips on how to take care of our beloved furry friends.

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