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Why Is My Cat Snoring? Is It Normal?

Last Updated - June 5, 2022

While almost everyone has dealt with a family member who snores and keeps them up late at night, it may surprise you that your cat can do it too! As a pet owner, you may wonder, is it normal that my cat snores? Why does my cat snore?

It's easy to want a fast solution to our cats' problems, but there are many reasons why your cat might be snoring. Take your time to observe your cat and figure out what's going on so you can take the necessary steps to fix underlying problems.

Below is a breakdown of why cats snore and when it can point to a problem.

What Is Snoring?

When your cat sleeps, the tissues at the back of the throat relax and may vibrate. The vibration of this tissue makes snoring sounds.

Don't get this confused with purring. Purring is steady and rhythmic. Cat snoring ties to breathing patterns, which can be on and off. Unlike purring, snoring can be loud and accompanied by heavy breathing.

Is Cat Snoring Normal?

Snoring in cats is less common than in dogs, which may leave you to wonder if there are any health issues with your cat. If you hear your cat snoring once in a while, this is normal and probably nothing you should be concerned about.

Overall, cat snoring isn't typically something to worry about. However, if it is a sudden change or your cat is obese, observe your cat closely to figure out what is going on. If you can't figure that out on your own, it's always better to check in with your vet to ensure your best feline friend is taken care of.

It is also normal for cats to snore as they get older. As your cat ages, they will lose muscle tone and increase body fat, resulting in more pressure on nasal passages and making them narrower.

Why Do Cats Snore?

Why is my cat snoring? There are tons of different reasons why your cat might be snoring, and it could be because of something perfectly normal, like its face shape, or something more serious, like a respiratory infection.

Cat Breeds

If you have Brachycephalic cat breeds or ones with a "squishy face," they are more likely to snore.

This is because its nasal passage is entirely inside of its skull. The elongated soft palate can commonly block part of the nasal passages due to its condensed stout. If you have one of these brachycephalic cats, and it has always snored, there is probably not a huge cause of concern.

There might be some vets who could offer surgery to open up your cat's nostrils but proceed with caution. There's always danger with surgery, so you need to consider carefully if this issue is worth it.

Sleep Position

Like humans, if your cat is sleeping in the wrong position, it will trigger snoring. Usually, this is a momentary issue with the certain position that they are in. As soon as they move, they will stop snoring.

If it's really bothering you, try gently moving your cat to a position where it's lying flatter. This could help it stop snoring, but be careful if your cat is spooked easily!

Overweight

Is your cat overweight? How much should your cat weigh? A cat's weight has a lot to do with its sleep quality.

If your cat is overweight or has excess weight, there is a good chance that it will snore. The extra tissue can constrict your cat's airways, making it harder for them to breathe. This is not good for them, so if your cat is overweight, get them on a proper diet, use food puzzles to make your cat work a little harder, and exercise them twice a day with a toy they enjoy, like a wand toy or laser your cat enjoys.

If you aren't sure how much to feed your cat (the back of food labels can be misleading), contact your vet for help.

Allergies

If your cat's nasal canal is blocked, it will start to snore. It could be something mild like allergies, which usually can be treated with medication, or something serious like a tumor that needs to be surgically removed by your vet (don't try it at home!).

There are three common types of allergies that cats experience: food, environmental, and fleas. If your cat gets triggered by allergens, its airways will become inflamed and cause snoring in cats. Other symptoms of allergies include itchy skin, sneezing, coughing, wheezing, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Upper Respiratory Infections

According to the Cornell University Veterinary College of Medicine, cats can quickly catch a respiratory infection.

If your cat is showing the following symptoms, there is a good chance it has a respiratory infection.

  • Eye or nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Swollen eye mucous membranes
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive weight loss
  • Panting

Even though you can prevent many respiratory infections through vaccination, sometimes they still happen. If your cat shows any of these symptoms, you need to take it to the vet immediately.

Foreign Object

If your cat's snoring is new and sudden, they could have inhaled a foreign object like a blade of grass. If your cat has a foreign object in their nose, they are likely to be agitated or coughing. If you suspect there could be something in their nose, take your cat to the vet immediately. Avoid trying to move it yourself.

How Do I Fix It?

Depending on what is causing your cat's snoring, there will be a different way to fix it. However, here are a few quick solutions.

Humidifier

Like with humans, your cat might just have a dry nose. If your cat has always snored, this might be the cause. An easy thing to try is placing a humidifier near where they sleep, and the moist air around them can help them stop snoring.

Weight Loss

If your cat is obese or overweight, you need to help them lose some weight. This one takes time, so be patient with your cat and yourself in the weight-loss process. There are a few ways you can help your cat lose weight:

Food Puzzles

Food puzzles will make your cat work harder for their kibbles, and they come in different levels of difficulty so they can satisfy every cat's desires.

Increase Exercise

There are many ways you can increase exercise for your cat. While you don't necessarily have to put your cat on a leash and go for a walk like a dog, there are many ways to help your cat move. Having strategically placed cat condos, cat shelves, and cat trees around the house can also use your vertical space to encourage climbing and burn even more calories.

Try A Weight Loss Diet

Talk to your veterinarian about a weight loss diet that is designed to help your cat lose weight without the risk of malnutrition.

Opt In For Wet Food

If your cat's diet consists mostly of dry food, wet food may help as it contains higher protein and less carbohydrate.

Talk To A Vet

If you've tried everything, even taken your cat to the vet, but your cat is still snoring, it might be good for you to invest in some earplugs. Your kitty is part of your family, which means embracing all of its flaws! If your cat is snoring during the day and it's bothering you, try putting its favorite bed in a different part of the house.

When Is Cat Snoring Not Normal

Some illnesses can cause the nasal cavity to be blocked or congested, resulting in snoring in cats. If your cat has abnormal snoring and accompanying it along with other symptoms, it may indicate a health problem. Now, how do you tell if your cat snoring is normal or not?

Noisy Breathing While Awake

If your cat starts making snoring-like noises while it's awake, you will need to take your vet. This may be due to air passing through blockages or abnormally narrow nasal passages.

There are two kinds of noisy breathing sounds:
Stertor: Low-pitched, snoring-like sounds that occur during inhalation
Stridor: High-pitched, wheezing sounds

Progressively loud and frequent snoring

If your cat's snoring started suddenly or their normal snoring behavior became louder and has progressed over time, this is abnormal, and you should take your furry companion to the vet for a check-up.

Snoring accompanied by symptoms of illness

Other symptoms like coughing, sneezing, salivation, nasal discharge, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive weight gain in a short period, and more can be a sign of illness.

How To Stop Your Cat From Snoring

Treatment for cat snoring will depend on the cause. If it's due to anatomical reasons, surgery may be an option. If your cat displays other symptoms, talk to your vet to address the underlying issue.

When to Take Your Cat To The Vet

If your cat has always snored, you don't have a huge reason for concern. It could be something simple, like the sleep position. However, if your cat is snoring out of the blue, especially if it's a short and loud snore, take them to the vet ASAP. Also, if other symptoms show up, like coughing or a change in appetite, that's a sign they need to see a professional.

lara grisko the pet staff

About the Author

Lara Girsko

Doctor of veterinary medicine with extensive experience in animal welfare with a strong interest in feline medicine and plans to pursue ABVP-Feline specialty board certification. A key member of many local veterinary associations and avid reader of animal related science journals and studies.

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