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Old 10-13-2010, 03:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm writing this tonight as a very worried, saddened, but wiser pet owner.

So as I'm watching Ninja grow up and do things that kittens do, like chase and play. I'm noticing that he has this quirky behavior...he pants, like a dog, after exercise.

Now, I've seen cats pant before, but normally they are stressed and ill and arriving at our clinic in distress. I've never known a cat to pant as a matter of course, like a dog would. But, I felt silly mentioning it. I mean, I SHOULD know whether or not its normal for kittens to pant during rough play. Just because I've never seen it before.... but in the back of my mind, I knew it wasn't normal. I thought several times over the past several weeks to ask this simple question, of a vet at work, or even on here, but my stupid pride prevented me from doing so.

I don't want anyone to make the same mistake I did. It may have cost my kitten precious time, or even his life. Ninja has a heart defect. This is why he has been panting with exertion. It is NOT normal for a cat to pant. They don't do this to cool down like a dog would. They are doing it because they aren't getting enough oxygen to meet their physical needs.

My vet will be referring us to a specialist tomorrow. Meanwhile, I've sat on this symptom for weeks and I feel so guilty. It may be that there is nothing that can be done, but it may also be that taking action three weeks ago could have made all the difference.

If you are worried that something is wrong with your pet, ASK! There is no such thing as a stupid question. It may save your pets life.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Oh, Rachael! I'm so sorry.

So kind of you to share with us, though, so we'll know in the future.

There are so many things we just blow off as not weather-related, mood, cats-being-cats, etc. Don't beat yourself up, I wouldn't have taken any of my girls in, either.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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At least you know now, rather than totally ignoring it!

The only time I've seen cats pant, is when it's really hot or when they're stressed. Nebbie used to hyperventilate when she was in the cage on adoption days at Petco. She'd also turn really mean! So eventually I just quit taking her, because I felt bad... had her on Petfinder for a while, and then finally just adopted her myself.

When I play with the laser pointer, Nebbie gets tuckered out physically even if she still seems rarin' to go, after just a few minutes. So I'm nice and switch to "calm" play and don't make her chase anymore, and keep the red dot near her paws so she doesn't need to actually get up and move around. I do that for Paizly too, but because she's crippled and can't really run/jump (and now she's getting old, anyway).

I'm sure you'll learn what your cat can and can't do, after a while. I have a bad heart, and I do like to go out and do stuff like bike ride, hiking and fishing...but I know how to pace myself and quit before I get too worn out. So don't think the cat will have to just sit around now, just be careful about how much/often activity is done.
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Old 10-13-2010, 05:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I hope Ninja will be ok and that the three-week delay turns out to be of no consequence. But, I agree with Marie. You can't beat yourself up...it's always difficult to know what symptoms you should and should not treat seriously. Let's hope the specialist has good news.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:15 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Rachael, believe me, you're not the only one who has gone through this very same thing. When my Theodora was a young lass, she 'played so hard' (or so I thought) that she panted. She was 6 months old when I took her to the vet, who almost convinced me that it was because she wore herself out! When she started open-mouth breathing on the x-ray table, the vet realized it certainly was abnormal. More x-rays and an echocardiogram later, she was diagnosed with HCM. She'll be two years old next month, and she's finally not quite as playful (but, oh, how she misses her laser toy......). The vet said to "keep her calm" (impossible), but all I can do is interrupt her when she gets too active. I will let her enjoy her life and, for myself, I'll cherish every single moment I have with Her Orneryness. I can't imagine my life without her; all I hope is that if the good do, indeed, die young, then Bad Girl Theo will live forever.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:01 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nutmeg pants when she plays hard.
I will be calling the vet right away tomorrow!!!!!!!
Thanks for letting me know.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Both Rowdy and Malley pant when they play hard... I too will be calling the vet tomorrow.

So sorry Kobster, please keep us posted with any new news about Ninja.
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Old 10-13-2010, 08:30 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I have had several cats that pant when playing hard and have never thought a thing about it. My new little guy Gabe pants, my sons cat pants, before Pepper got too fat to play hard she used to pant, Tucker and Buzzy were panters and some of the cats I had when growing up would pant. With so many cats that routinely pant could they all be doing so because of heart problems? I will be very interested to hear what your specialist says.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Azalia was panting during the Summer. The Vet believes she may have seasonal allergies so next Summer I will need to keep an eye on it. Thankfully, it wasn't asthma
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:50 PM   #10 (permalink)
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(((hugs))) to Rachel.
IMO, if a cat pants after extended exertion ... that is normal. If a cat pants after minimal exertion, then that would be time to think about calling the vet for an appointment to check-up on their heart's pumping efficiency.
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