Why is my cat panting in the car ?

If you see your cat panting in the car, you may be wondering if something is wrong. Is it worth taking a detour to the vet? Let’s find out what it means if your cat is panting while traveling in the car.

why is my cat panting in the car
Why is my cat panting in the car

What are the possible causes of my cat’s panting in the car?

1. Some cats simply get anxious in the car

Cats are very creatures of habit and they generally don’t take well to change. When their routine or environment changes, it can send them into a frenzy and cause them to behave in all kinds of strange ways. For many cats, traveling is one of the most stressful experiences because it completely changes their environment. 

Some of the things that may be stressful for your cat in the car include:

-The lack of your cat’s scent. In your home, your cat has spread its scent around through pheromones. This makes the cat feel more secure and comfortable. However, in the car there will be no trace of your cat’s scent.

-The noises in the car make them feel new and strange. Examples of these strange new noises may include the sound of the running engine, horns from other cars, clicking indicators, and general road noise.

-The overwhelming smells. Because a cat’s sense of smell is 14 times stronger than that of humans, all of the new smells in the car can be very overwhelming for your cat.

-The feeling of movement. Cats are used to being on solid ground, so the sensation of moving can be very unusual and nerve-wracking.

-The lack of an escape route. Most cats will run off and hide if they feel scared or stressed. However, in the car, your cat will be trapped, which will only exacerbate their stress.

-The unknown destination. Your cat doesn’t know where you’re going or what to expect when you arrive. All it knows is that it’s leaving the safety of its home and facing another brand-new environment.

As you can see, there are a lot of things that can stress out your cat while in the car. And when cats are stressed, they may start to pant. This is similar to severe anxiety in humans – your cat hyperventilating in response to stress is akin to panic attacks in people.


If your cat pants while in the car, it could be due to overheating. Cats have a slightly higher core body temperature than humans, which is why they’re often drawn to warm areas in our homes. However, cats can still get too warm, and the car is one of the easiest places for this to happen since they cannot move. If the sun is shining through the window onto the cat carrier, there’s no way for your cat to move and they also won’t have water with them. They may start hyperventilating in an attempt to cool themselves down.

3.Other reasons

Cat panting can be a sign of a number of medical conditions. We have a list of conditions your cat may have

1) Heart disease: One of the most common causes of cat panting is heart disease. When the heart doesn’t pump blood as efficiently as it should, the body doesn’t get the oxygen it needs and the cat may start panting to try to get more oxygen.

2) Respiratory problems: Panting can also be a sign of respiratory problems, such as asthma or bronchitis. If your cat is panting and also has other respiratory symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation.

3) Fever: A fever can also cause cats to start panting. If your cat has a fever, they may also have other symptoms, such as lethargy, reduced appetite, and dehydration. If you think your cat may have a fever, it’s important to take their temperature and then contact your veterinarian for further guidance.

Is there anything I can do to help my cat if it’s panting in the car?

cat panting in car
Cat panting in car

If your cat is panting in the car, you can do the following to make your cat more comfortable:

1. Take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if it is panting heavily in the car. This could be an underlying health condition causing this behavior.

2. If your cat is only slightly panting, try opening a window or giving them some fresh air.

3. Make sure the temperature in the car is right for your cat. If it is too hot or too cold, this could be causing them to pant.

4. Try to keep your cat calm and relaxed while in the car. If they are stressed, this can lead to heavy panting.

5. If all else fails, consider taking a break from driving and letting your cat out of the car for a few minutes. This will give them a chance to calm down and avoid any further panting.

How to prevent my cat from panting in the car?

There are a few things you can do to help prevent your cat from panting in the car:

– Crack open the window a little to make sure the car is well ventilated

-Try to keep the car cool, either by using air conditioning or by opening the windows for ventilation.

-If your cat seems particularly stressed, consider using a Feliway diffuser in the car. This can help to calm and soothe your cat.

-Make sure there are no strong smells in the car that could be upsetting your cat (such as from fast food wrappers).

-Make sure your cat has a safe and comfortable place to sit or lie down in the car. A carrier or crate may be best for this.


Panting in cats can be normal, but it can also be a sign of a medical condition. If your cat is panting heavily or if they are panting and have other symptoms, such as wheezing or coughing, it’s important to take them to the vet for an evaluation. There are also things you can do to help prevent your cat from panting in the car, such as keeping the car well ventilated and cool.

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