Pneumothorax, or air in the chest cavity, can result from a blow to the chest. This can happen if a cat sustains an open chest injury (for example, being struck by a car), or by falling from a window or tree. Some chronic lung diseases can also cause it to occur. Air leaks from the lungs into the chest. This then creates less room in the lungs for them to expand sufficiently, causing respiratory distress to the cat.

The signs of pneumothorax start as shallow, rapid breathing. The cat begins abdominal breathing and mucous membranes turn blue as the condition worsens. Emergency treatment is necessary to remove the accumulated air in the chest and then the injury is treated.

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