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Why Does My Cat Freak Out When I Breathe Heavy?

If you have been breathing heavily, for whatever reason, you may have noticed that your cat going crazy and freaking out. But, you may be wondering why and what can be done about it…

Why does my cat freak out when I breathe heavy?

Your cat may freak out when you breathe heavily for several reasons. The main ones being it may fear you are in distress, or it has perceived your behavior as threatening. Depending on which one it is will require a different method to deal with it.

So, now you know. But, what sort of things do cats do when this happens? How can you stop your cat freaking out? Could your cat feel scared of you at this time? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

What do some cats do while you breathe heavily?

Why does my cat freak out when I breathe heavy?

An angry/scared-looking cat with its mouth open & teeth exposed.

If you are breathing heavily, depending on the perception of your cat on your behavior, they may respond in several different ways. For example, it could:

  • Roll around on the floor
  • Attempt to attack you
  • Bite you
  • Jump around on your furniture
  • Run from one side of the room to the other

As you can see there is quite a difference in behaviors here. However, the main theme is it will be an obvious action. And, the way it will respond can be quite difficult to predict. Why? Well, it depends if your cat is scared or concerned, firstly.

Also, your cat’s personality plays a big part in how they will respond in these situations as well. For example, if it’s a dominant personality it may be inclined to act aggressively. But, if it’s the opposite it may act submissive.

What can you do to stop your cat freaking out?

If you have witnessed this behavior you may be wondering what you can do to get your cat under control. So, here are some suggestions…

01. Try to control your breathing.

This may not be possible, but the most effective method is to stop heavy breathing. I get it, that is not always possible. For example, it could be related to a genuine health issue.

But, if you have returned home from a morning run, for example, and you are breathing heavily, try to gulp down some water and get your breathing under control. Realistically, with time, as you run more you will control your breathing better.

02. Move away from your cat.

If your cat is still going crazy, and you can’t control yourself you can try moving away from your cat. This could be as simple as closing the door and keeping your cat out. Or simply walking into the bathroom, away from your cat.

However, depending on the layout of your home, this may not be possible. Meaning, if you are in a one-floor open home, some call these studio flats in Europe, then this may not be possible.

03. Assure your cat

Another technique, if possible, is to assure your cat that you are fine and it will be ok. Not by physically touching it (more on this later), but by using your words. But, if it just makes matters worse, it may be best just to leave the room.

04. Reward it if it stops

Once the cat stops, and returns to normal, reward it with some treats (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad). This will, hopefully, make it recognize there is a reward for controlling itself. And, in turn, make it want to replicate this positive behavior again.

Cats love these little treats and it may be surprising to see what they will do to get their next fix, including behaving as you want them to next tie round.

What should you avoid while your cat is freaking out?

Earlier I talked about some suggestions to deal with this. But, along with this, there are things to avoid. Here are some…

01. Avoid any physical contact

Why does my cat fall over when I pet her?

A ginger cat rolled-over getting its head stroked.

While you are breathing heavily and your cat is freaked out you may be tempted to control your cat physically. Whether that be offering it a cuddle, stroking it, restraining it, etc. Either way, forget it!

Why? Well, your cat is vulnerable at this stage and could respond negatively. Meaning, it could bite or even scratch you, so avoid it.

02. Shouting

As well as touching, trying to shout at your cat is not a good idea. You may feel emotional at this stage and tempted to verbally lash out, but don’t. It won’t help. In fact, it could make matters worse. And, it could just cause your cat to trust you less and affect your bond with your cat.

03. Direct eye contact

You may have heard that cats stare at other cats, or kittens to send signals, right? Or, that it is not a good idea to stare at them. Well, in this situation you should definitely avoid it.

Why do cats breathe your breath?

Cats may breathe your breath or the unique smell you have. It is a way of them identifying you and feeling comfortable with you. It is opposite to human nature in this way, as for humans this is not sociably acceptable.

But, for cats, in their world, this is very different. So, if your cat is doing this you should feel honored. It means it loves and trusts you.

Could some cats feel scared while you breathe heavily?

Some cats are genuinely scared when you breathe heavily. This may be because the sound is similar to hissing in some ways and may make them naturally feel defensive and scared.

The best way to tell for sure is to watch its body language and see how it responds. Is it acting aggressive, or submissive? If it’s the latter, it could well be scared of you when you are acting like this.

Could the sound of your breath trigger a cat’s survival response?

When you breathe heavily it can trigger a cat’s survival response. Meaning, it may connect that sound with a predator’s advance. And, this may be why it could be acting aggressive.

Cats have very good hearing, for example, they can hear their prey rustling around long before they catch sight of it. And, when they hear you breathing in this way it may trigger an instinct.

Is heavy breathing perceived as hissing by some cats?

Some cats do perceive the sound of your heavy breathing as hissing. But, it is not always just the sound it could be your actions as well. If you are doing this while making direct eye contact with them it could be seen as threatening.

It may seem totally innocent to you but from your cat’s perspective, it could be totally the opposite in this sense.

Do some cats breathe heavily?

Some cats do breathe heavily. For example, after they have been running for an extended amount of time. But, if their breathing seems out of character or obsessive it’s worth getting your cat checked over.

Like us humans, if cats overexert themselves they can breathe heavily. But, this is only expected for a short period of time.

Is breathing heavily the same as hyperventilation?

Breathing heavily is similar to hyperventilation, but not the same. Hyperventilation is when the breathing is excessive and could alter your blood’s oxygen levels. This can lead to, or be caused by anxiety and could lead to fainting if not put under control.

Lindsey Browlingdon