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Why Does My Cat Huff at Me When Playing

All cats have different personalities and express themselves through body language and weird noises such as hissing, huffing, and others.

They may purr to let you know that they like something or make other noises to indicate they don’t.

Therefore, cat owners need to grasp the meaning of different cat sounds and what each means. When a cat makes huffing noises at you when playing, it can be expressing the feeling of being safe, relieved, exhausted, irritated, or even a sign of illness.

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Why Does My Cat Huff at Me When Playing?

Cats, just like humans, play and participate in other activities strain their bodies.

For a healthy cat, it makes their heart rate increase and causes loud breathing, which shortly comes back under control. However, cats with underlying health conditions huff uncontrollably as a symptom of their condition.

Is it Normal for Cats to Huff?

A huff is a plain and simple exhale through the nose. It is common among cats but can be a concerning issue if it is your first experience. When a cat huffs, it is trying to express its emotions, for example, trying to show its frustration or fear towards something that is happening.

Cats that enjoy their personal space can be expressive through huffing noises to another cat. Others can huff at their human friends when they are tired of being petted.

Cats with underlying conditions that may not yet be discovered can huff as a symptom of the issue. If you do not have prior experience with your cat huffing or a new pet parent, it is good to seek professional advice.

What Kind of Huff is Your Cat Making?

The difference in every huff can be seen by how your cat does it or how they react after. It is one way of telling how your cat is doing health-wise and whether they are mad at you. 

Cat Huffing Noises Through the Nose

Cats make different huffs, some of which are audible while others are faint. Some of the most common huffs cats make through their nose include:


Panting is an obvious action that all animals and humans perform. However, it can be a sign of how the breathing system is operating. If your cat breaths loudly with its mouth wide open, it can be a sign of struggling to breathe.

It is sometimes normal when cats play too much and get overheated. But, if this becomes a frequent habit, you should plan for a trip to the vet.


It is labored breathing or panting with the cat’s mouth shut. Wheezing is never a good sign as it always indicates a respiratory issue or condition.

Some conditions, such as the early stages of asthma, are hard to detect in animals. However, keen observations such as how your cat huffs can help you detect and manage a health issue before it worsens.

Plain Old Huff

Though not common, a quick huff out of your cat’s nose can be a way to tell you, “I am mad at you.”

Like humans, cats are bound to get grumpy when you forget to feed them or step on them. They may temporarily hold a grudge against you and huff at you severally during that time. In a few hours or by the following day, they will be all over you, which may be a sign of affection.

When some cats cannot reach a toy or catch a bird with several tries, they can express how worked up they are using a short huff with their mouth shut.


When resting, your cat may surprisingly exhale slowly and audibly. This is sighing, but mainly for different reasons than humans do. Cats sigh when they are relaxed and feel safe.

How Do You Take Care of a Wheezing Cat?

Wheezing in cats sounds like a whistling noise as they exhale or inhale a rattling breath. It sounds similar to humans and causes body postures such as shoulders to hunch and the neck to stretch. Some common causes of wheezing in cats include asthma, allergies, hairballs, respiratory conditions, or heartworms.

When you notice your cat wheezing, your first instinct should be to keep a close eye on how the condition progresses. If it is continuous, you should schedule a checkup with your vet or make an emergency visit if the situation becomes too severe. Wheezing is a condition you can’t simply ignore since various severe health issues can cause it.

If it mainly happens when playing, keep your cat in an isolated area with a water and food bowl and ensure no overfeeding. Before going to the vet, you can look for other cat asthma signs such as coughing, rapid breathing, or vomiting. Asthma is incurable in cats, and the only treatment you can apply is keeping your cat happy and healthy with frequent checkups with your vet.

The vet’s diagnosis of your cat can help rule out your unnecessary assumptions and give you the leading cause of your cat’s wheezing. You will respond to a few questions based on diet, health condition, age, and other things.

Your cat will also need to go through a physical exam to help narrow down the underlying issue. Wheezing treatment may range from medical, diet, lifestyle, and cat behavior changes. Some of these include:

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Huffs at You?

When your cat directs their huff towards you, there are many messages they can be trying to get to you. If their ears are forward or slightly back, but the tail is twitching or wagging, they are just expressing their irritation towards you.

If the ears are leaning back, it could be a sign of fear. When your cat huffs softly and warmly with no other symptoms, it could be a sign that gives you no reason for alarm.

What Does Cat Chuffing Mean?

Chuffing, also referred to as Prusten, is a type of sound mainly associated with big cats such as Clouded Leopards, Snow Leopards, Tigers, and Jaguars.

It is a short, non-threatening, and low-intensity sound that these cats produce in loud, short bursts. For a cat to chuff, it closes its mouth and blows air through the nostrils to emit an occasional snort.

Cats will mainly chuff when they have mating issues, greeting one another, or when the mother cat is trying to comfort her cubs.

For domestic cats, a chuff mainly involves a purr and a chattering with the jaws. It happens when cats meet or see another animal far from reach, such as a bird. Chuffing is a non-threatening vocalization from both wild and domestic cats.

Why is My Cat Snorting at Me?

Snorting is an intentional sneeze that pushes out air from the mouth and nose. In cats, it is mainly a reaction to hairballs, allergies, grass blades, infections, or interaction with other animals.

Some breeds of cats with flat faces and short noses with a soft surface are generally loud breathers and are likely to snort and snore.

When a cat is purring, it can make a noise that sounds like a snort. In such cases, this is an indication that they are happy with their environment and its conditions.

However, if your cat snorts at you while hissing and growling, you should maintain a safe distance from them while monitoring the situation. The cat may be simply temporarily annoyed, grumpy, or have a health-related condition.

Why Does My Cat Exhale Loudly?

Loud or noisy breathing in cats may not necessarily be a life-threatening situation—however, the prevalent causes of cats exhaling loudly even when calm are mainly health-related. The respiratory system could have an airway blockage resulting in noisy and forced breathing.

A blockage can occur in any part of the respiratory system leading to loud breathing in the bronchi, throat, nose, larynx, mouth, and airways inside the lungs.

Loud breathing refers to the exceptionally loud condition and can be detected without using the vet’s equipment.

Suppose your cat exhales loudly due to a health condition – in that case, you may also come across other signs such as wheezing, weakness, behavior changes, coughing, sneezing, flared nostrils, and breathing with elbows sticking out or an extended neck.

When cats exhale loudly, it does not always indicate a failure in the respiratory system. It is common for cats to exhale loudly through their nose when sleeping. Snoring may also happen occasionally, but mainly in cats with flat facial features, such as Persian cats.

Why Does My Cat Exhale Loudly When Playing?

When cats are playing, they exert physical pressure on themselves, raising their heart rates which causes them to breathe louder and faster.

If your cat exhales loudly but then manages its breathing shortly after, it is fit and healthy. However, if your cat pants uncontrollably when playing, they may be overweight or unfit.

Overweight cats take a lot of time to catch their breath when playing. In this case, you should visit the vet to look for any underlying health conditions. You could also seek the best diet and activities to help your cat lose and control weight gain.

Though loud breathing may simply sound like a side effect of vigorous play, you need to be careful to ensure your cat does not stress their body to reach the point of fatigue. When cats play too much and get overheated, they are prone to throwing up, which can be avoided.

What Does it Mean When a Cat Blows Air Out His/Her Nose Hard?

At first, you may think your cat is attempting to push something stuck in the throat when blowing loudly through its nose. However, your cat may be trying to express how it feels about something.

For example, when a cat concentrates on a butterfly or toy and suddenly becomes annoyed when it can’t reach it, it can display this behavior.

Some cats also tend to do this when they are tired of being pet, cuddled, or playing with other animals and humans.