Why Is My Cat Panting In the Car?
We are all aware that dogs pant when it is hot out. But what about cats? Cats pant as well, but why? What's causing this behavior? If you've ever wondered why your cat pants in the car, here are a few of the biggest reasons:
The most common reason for cats panting in cars is that it's hot outside. Even if the weather is relatively mild, the inside of a car can quickly become very uncomfortable for your feline companion. A car's interior heats up quickly on a sunny day. The windows can act as mirrors, trapping the sun's heat and preventing air from circulating. Cats who are prone to heatstroke or have respiratory problems may have trouble breathing in an enclosed space like a car. In this situation, your cat will pant in an attempt to cool down and breathe better. If you see that your cat is panting, try moving them to an area with more shade or less direct sunlight. Turning on the air conditioning to improve ventilation and temperature control inside the car will help as well. Be sure to crack one window a bit so your cat can get fresh air without risking getting out of the car.
Fear from the ride. All cats have an innate sense of movement and direction. Some felines may feel uneasy when traveling because they don't understand what's happening around them or why they're moving so fast. The faster you're driving, the more likely your cat will be unsettled and nervous about the situation. Try to calm your fur baby down with a petting session or talk to them softly as they settle into their carrier.
According to PetMD, cats with hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid gland) will often start to pant even if it is cool outside. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, just below the larynx. It releases hormones that control your cat's metabolism. When the thyroid is overactive (hyperthyroid), it produces more hormones than normal. You can tell if your cat has this condition by noticing if their heart rate is elevated or if they experience frequent urination or an increased appetite. If these issues occur, take your cat to the vet immediately.
Some cats are simply very nervous by nature. If they feel like they're in unfamiliar territory or around new people or animals that they're not familiar with, they may begin to pant. Anxiety can be caused by a number of things, including illness, pain, or even being left alone too much without something to keep them busy and active. If your cat is panting because of anxiety, talk to your vet about whether a sedative is appropriate. You may also want to consider taking a trip in the company of another person who can help keep your kitty calm and distracted.
Can my cat enjoy a car ride like dogs can?
Traveling in a car might not be a great experience for most cats, but they can learn to associate the car with fun and exciting things, just as dogs do. Here are some tips that may help make car rides enjoyable for your cat:
- Let them explore first. Introduce your cat to the car slowly and let them go around the vehicle before you try and get them inside. It will help your fur baby familiarize themselves with their surroundings before they get used to being inside of a moving vehicle.
- Get your cat used to being in the backseat of your car. Some cats like riding up front, but most prefer to be behind the driver or passenger seat, where it's darker and quieter. Once they're comfortable sitting in the car, offer food or treats nearby so they'll be more inclined to stay put while you drive away.
- Always use a cat carrier when transporting your cat in the car. Catching a ride in the car is an adventure for most cats, so if you don't have a cat carrier for your fur baby, they will likely get very scared or even sick from all of the bumping around. Cat carriers with multiple openings will not only allow you to interact with your kitty while you're on the road, but they will also help keep your cat calm. Not to mention that a cat carrier can provide a safe place for your cat to hide if they're afraid, and it provides them with something to hold onto if they'd like to be in control of the trip.
- Keep toys in your car. You're more likely to get your feline friend on board when it's time to hit the road if you use toys like boxes, balls, feather wands, and crinkle stuff to keep them entertained and calm while you're driving.
Traveling in a car with your cat can be an incredibly fun and enjoyable experience, as long as it's done properly and with planning. The key to safe cat travel is keeping your kitty secure and comfortable during the trip.