cat panting

newhomeseekerAugust 18, 2009

About a month ago another stray had kittens in our woods near our house. She had been around for awhile (I fed her through the winter) but she seemed to travel from house to house. I believe she belonged to the man across the street but for some reason he threw her outside and didn't take care of her anymore. She was definately a house cat as one time she slipped into our house unoticed and my fiance's son found a cat sleeping in his bed next to him! I took the mother cat and kittens in the house and put them in a spare bedroom. I leave the window open so the mama cat can sit in the window and get some fresh air. For awhile she seemed content to be confined to the bedroom.

Lately, though she seems stressed out. I will go sit in the bedroom and play with the kittens and sometimes the mama cat will be panting when I come in. I take this as a sign of nervousness. (I have a cat that pants if you put her in a cat carrier, it freaks her out) This often happens when her five kittens go crazy and run around the room jumping on things and wrestling with each other. They do this every single night for about 45 minutes. Why would this make the mother cat stressed? Yesterday I decided to clean the bedroom so I took the kittens and mommy and put them in the master bedroom. The kittens explored and mom hid in the closet.

I accidently did not latch the master bedroom door and the mama cat evidently opened it and I found her lounging on the kitchen floor as happy as can be (without her babies). She'd just left her kittens in a strange area (the master bedroom) and didn't seem concerned at all! This is not her first litter of kittens I don't think. She gets plenty to eat and drink and I clean her litter box twice a day. She has nothing to be stressed about. But sometimes she will just lay on her side and pant. It is not hot in the bedroom.

The kittens are not yet weaned (only about a month old) and only one of them will eat solid food (and has been eating solid food since 2 weeks old!) The others will drink kitten milk replacer and one of them has started trying dry food (if I sprinkle some milk on it). The rest have NO interest in soft or dry food.

Should I separate mommy cat from her kittens so she can have some alone time or is there something wrong with her?

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My foster mom Tonie was the most devoted mom for the first few weeks...But as kittens got to about a month old, she started crying by the door to get out (from the room) - almost like she wanted to take a break from her kids. She would come back, nurse them, and leave them..
I think it is a normal course of events...kittens are growing and mom is separating herself from them and getting the much needed break

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 3:45PM
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It's also quite possible that the queen is going back into heat and wanting to get outside to be bred again (which I trust you won't allow to happen). As soon as the kits are weaned at 8 weeks, have the queen spayed so that she no longer has to be a slave to motherhood and/or her hormones. I agree, too, that you should allow the queen some time apart from her kittens to give her a rest. Maybe put a baby gate across the room with the kittens so that mom can jump in and out at will.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 5:35PM
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Most normal healthy cats don't pant even when very stressed out. Some do, but it's rare and I always worry about heart or lung disease in those cats. Outdoor cats can get heartworms, she could have pneumonia, asthma, anemia (from fleas or hookworms) other things that would cause her to pant when stressed. Just to be sure, I'd have her checked out by a vet. If she is just panting due to stress, that's great. But you'll want to know if anything is wrong with her heart and/or lungs before she gets spayed.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 8:23PM
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thanks Meghane, that scares me though because my five year old female pants (and drools) when she has to go for a car ride. She has always done this. She gets so worked up and nervous that even a trip to the vet makes her freak out and she starts panting like a dog. The only way to calm her is to take her out of the cage and put her on your lap (did this on a two hour car trip) and she will calm down and stop. I did take her to the vet about six months ago because it seemed like she was making a wheezing noise when she breathed. THe vet said nothing was wrong with her. (just listened to her lungs) Said she might have a slight case of asthma. Also my one year old female will pant just like a dog if she plays really hard. She likes to chase this feathery toy bird on a string and she will play for ten minutes straight, jumping, running after it so fast she's just a blur, doing backflips, etc and then she will sit down and pant with her tongue hanging out just like a very happy tired dog. Is this normal?

And as for the mother cat, she is NOT going back outside until she is spayed. I can't let her out of the room she is in because i have four inside cats and even though they've been vacinated I don't want to take any chances.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 8:08AM
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ok! finally, i can add something to this subject. i joined and had a hard time getting back to this place. my cat pants when she plays too hard. i tell my husband when she starts to do that to let her rest. i was a vet assistant for a long time when i was younger. it is a sign that they are sometimes overheated because of play, and sometimes the heat in the summer too. it can be a symtom that they are close to stroke if it is bad. so i would pay attention to it if they are too hot in the summer or overly exhausted. sometimes a little panting is normal in cats that just played hard. just important to let them rest soon as you notice it. i wouldn't push as hard of a play as the ones you notice that cause it. i have told my husband to cut down on the time period to avoid it. play is very important though to their mental and emotional well being :-) I was thinking that the mom kitty may of been worn out from the kittens nursing and messing around with her like someone else mentioned. we needed breaks too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 3:27AM
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