Cats at rest normally take 30 or less breaths per minute. The breathing should be smooth, with exhales taking longer than inhales. To check your cat’s respiratory rate, count the number of times the cat’s chest rises (inhales) and falls (exhales). Each rise/fall combination equals one breath. Count for 30 seconds and then multiply by 2 to get the number of breaths per minute. A normal resting/sleeping respiratory rate for cats is between 15 and 30 breaths per minute.