Signs & Symptoms of Pneumonia in a Cat

Updated February 21, 2017

Pneumonia is defined as any infection or inflammation of the lungs, and when it strikes cats, it needs to be tended to immediately. Cats can get mild or severe cases of pneumonia just as humans can, and ideally, your cat should be taken to the vet as soon as symptoms start showing up. Being able to recognise the symptoms of pneumonia in cats can help you better maintain your pet cat's health.

Rapid Breathing

Because the cat's lungs are irritated and infected when he is developing pneumonia, you might notice that he is breathing very quickly. This can involve taking breaths a little more quickly than you remember him doing or it might mean that he is nearly panting. Your cat is trying to make his lungs work harder so that he can get the oxygen that he needs.

Fast Pulse

When your cat realises that she is not getting enough air, she might be stressed or fearful, which can result in an increased pulse. Your cat's heart will also beat faster in an attempt to improve the efficiency of her lungs, which are not working at full capacity.


Due to the irritation in your cat's lungs, he will likely try to cough to rid himself of the unpleasant feeling. Depending on the stage of the pneumonia or how well your cat's immune system is doing, the cough might be light or it might be a long string of hacking breaths.


Splinting is a tensing of the muscles in anticipation of pain. If your cat stiffens to the touch or if her muscles feel like that they have locked suddenly, this might be what is going on. The amount of coughing in pneumonia can bring on muscular pain, and splinting is a reaction to that pain.


Fevers are used by the body to kill infection. If your cat's body is trying to fight off the infection that caused the pneumonia, he will likely be warm to the touch.


Pneumonia can take a huge toll on your cat's energy. Her energy is going to be devoted to healing her body and fighting the infection, and because of this, your cat might seem listless or perpetually fatigued.

Bluish Mucus Membranes

Bluish mucus membranes are a sign that your cat is not getting enough oxygen through his body. This symptom is most evident among very young cats, which pneumonia can hit very hard. If you notice this symptom, you must take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author