Cat Snoring: Causes And Treatment

Medically reviewed by JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM
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Cat snoring feature

Do cats snore? As it turns out, they do! In this article, you’ll get all the details on cat snoring, finding out why cats snore, whether or not it’s normal, and what to do if you hear your cat snoring.

Although snoring is more common in dogs than in cats, some cats (like some people) snore when they sleep. If you hear your cat snoring while she sleeps, you might wonder if it’s something to worry about. Cats snore for a number of reasons. Some cat snoring is normal, but sometimes snoring is a sign that something may be wrong with your cat.

Read on to get the facts.

Causes Of Cat Snoring

The snoring sound that you hear coming from your cat is created when the tissues of the upper airway (the nose, back of the mouth, and throat) vibrate as the cat is breathing. Sometimes snoring in cats is random, something that happens occasionally due to the cat’s sleeping position. Snoring in cats may also be a result of the cat’s anatomy, or it may be caused by a health problem.

A cat’s weight may affect snoring. As is true with humans, cats that are overweight or obese are more likely to snore than cats that are lean. When a cat is overweight or obese, extra fat can build up around the neck, which can compress and compromise the airway, causing the cat to snore.

Additionally, certain cat breeds with flat faces (brachycephalic cats) have shorter bone structure and narrow airways. Brachycephalic cats may also have small nostrils and other quirky characteristics of their facial anatomy. Cats of these breeds may snore more than cats of other breeds and mixed breed cats. Some common brachycephalic breeds include Burmese, Exotic Shorthairs, Himalayans, Persians, and Scottish Folds.

Cats suffering from certain health conditions may also begin snoring. Any issue affecting the cat’s airway or breathing passages has the potential to cause snoring, including upper respiratory infections (viral, bacterial, or fungal), masses or growths that block the nasal passages, or a foreign object that has become stuck inside the nasal passage (like a blade of grass).

Some of the most common causes of cat snoring include:

  • Allergies
  • Brachycephalic cats (pushed-in face)
  • Chronic nasal inflammation
  • Elongated soft palate
  • Foreign object lodged in the nasal canal
  • Obese or overweight cat
  • Polyps or tumors blocking the nasal canal
  • Rhinitis (inflammation and swelling of the nasal mucous membranes)
  • Sleeping position
  • Small nostrils
  • Upper respiratory infection
Cat snoring Persian cat face

Cats with flat faces like this Persian are more likely to snore because of their smaller airways and nostrils.

Is Cat Snoring Normal?

Some reasons for cat snoring are harmless, but other things that trigger snoring can be cause for concern. If your cat is snoring and you’re wondering if you need to take her to the vet, think about how long your cat’s snoring has been going on.

Has your cat always snored a bit, or is the snoring something that seemed to pop up overnight?

Some cats are naturally snorers and it causes no harm. If you’re not sure how long your cat has been snoring, it never hurts to get your cat checked out just in case.

Also consider the sound of the snoring.

Is your cat snoring lightly or is the snoring very loud? When your cat is snoring, does she sound as if she’s having respiratory problems, like a hard time breathing? Snoring that is loud or sounds labored could signal something abnormal that needs to be checked out by a vet.

Has the sound and intensity of the snoring remained stable over time, or gotten progressively worse?

If you notice any increase in the volume or intensity of your cat’s snoring, or if your cat seems to struggle to breathe (whether asleep or awake), you should definitely make an appointment with a vet.

Another way to figure out if you should be worried about your cat’s snoring is to look for other signs of a health issue when your cat is awake.

Is your cat displaying any panting, rapid breathing, wheezing, sneezing, coughing, or nasal discharge when awake? Any type of respiratory problem in a cat needs veterinary attention and care.

In addition to snoring, is your cat otherwise acting ill or uncomfortable, or have you noticed any unusual behavioral changes? If so, take your cat in for a veterinary exam.

If you hear your cat snoring and it’s the first time, your cat may have just gotten herself into a strange sleep position.

Sometimes a cat’s sleeping position can angle things in such a way that the cat snores a little. If this was the case, and you see no other signs of illness or difficulty breathing, you may never hear your feline friend snore again, or the snoring may happen very infrequently.

Cat sleeping upside down

Certain sleeping positions can cause snoring if the cat’s head and neck are positioned at an odd angle.

How Is Cat Snoring Treated?

If your cat’s snoring is caused by a medical issue like a respiratory illness or nasal polyps, treating the underlying problem may resolve the snoring. Treatment may involve medications or even surgery, depending on the issue.

Cats that are overweight or obese should lose weight, not only to prevent snoring but also for their overall health. Cat owners should work with a veterinarian to develop a safe weight-loss program that incorporates dietary changes and exercise.

For cats with persistent snoring that can’t be addressed medically, your veterinarian might recommend using a humidifier near your cat’s sleeping area to help moisten the airway and reduce snoring.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat sound like she’s snoring?

Like people (and dogs), cats occasionally snore while they are sleeping. Light snoring or occasional snoring in cats is not necessarily a cause for concern, but snoring that starts occurring suddenly, is very loud, or is accompanied by difficulty breathing should be checked out by a veterinarian.

Why does my cat make noises when she sleeps?

Some cats snore lightly when sleeping, which may be normal for the cat. However, if a cat experiences very loud snoring, intense snoring, or sounds as if she's having difficulty breathing, she should be examined by a veterinarian.

Can a cat have sleep apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea can occur when something is blocking the nasal canal. Some common reasons for obstruction of the nasal canal include polyps or tumors in the nasal passages, foreign objects lodged in the nasal passage, and excess weight caused by being overweight or obese.

About Jackie Brown

Jackie Brown is a freelance writer specializing in the pet industry. She writes on all pet and veterinary topics, including general health and care, nutrition, grooming, behavior, training, veterinary and health topics, rescue and animal welfare, lifestyle, and the human-animal bond. Jackie is the former editor of numerous pet magazines and is a regular contributor to pet magazines and websites.

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