Why Does My Cat Snore and Will I Ever Sleep Again?

Why Does My Cat Snore?

Here’s another fun feline asthma fact for the uninitiated: wheezy kitties can be noisy little critters. I mean, aside from all the yelling and various other sounds Sparrow makes on purpose, sometimes if I listen very closely I can hear him breathing. I can’t decide if it’s more concerning than cute, or the other way around.

It’s cute, yes. Ridiculously so. Except at 3 am when I’m curled up in bed with my little feline heat-pack and I wake up thinking ‘why why WHY does my cat snore? And will I ever get to sleep peacefully again?’

The answer is: probably not. Snoring is usually harmless, but sometimes can sometimes indicate health problems, so let’s take a look at what’s going on.

 

So Why do Cats Snore?

Thankfully, most of the time snoring is not related to or caused by feline asthma. It’smostly the same as when we humans snore – a gentle nudge into a different position will stop you feeling like you’re sleeping next to a tractor.

Snoring in cats is not as common as it is in dogs or people but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Usually. whiCats sleep in cycles, just like we do; when they’re in the REM phase you’ll probably see the cute little whisker twitches and running feet, but it’s the deeper, fully relaxed cycle that brings out the snores.Why Does My Cat Snore?

Snoring occurs when the upper airways are fully relaxed in a deep sleep. It’s caused by the vibration of tissues in this deeply relaxed state, or by fluid partially obstructing the airways.

 

Is This Normal?

Yes and no. Some cats are more likely to snore than others. Squish-faced breeds such as Persians and Himalayans are susceptible to what’s called Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, which sounds much more serious than it is – it’s mostly harmless and seems to be caused by the shape of their cute little faces.

Other physical characteristics such as Fat Cat Syndrome – also known as obesity – could be the cause of snoring. If you’ve been following along for a while, you’ll know that obesity is the number one enemy of asthma cats and their easy-breathing relatives and should be avoided at all costs.

And then…cats are weird and sometimes they sleep in weird snorey positions. In these cases, there’s nothing for you to do except keep the camera handy.

 

Make it Stop!

If your cat is snoring in a consistent manner, meaning it’s not getting worse over time and there are no other symptoms, there’s probably nothing to worry about. Do keep an eye out for the following and get to the vet if you notice:

  • Discharge from the eyes or nose – this could be an indication of an upperrespiratory infection, or a cat cold, and the snoring could be caused by a build up of mucous in the nasal passages.
  • Excessive sneezing.
  • Coughing.
  • Breathing noises while awake – if your cat is making snoring sounds or wheezing while awake this could mean some kind of breathing obstruction or difficulty.
  • Open mouth breathing or hunching with neck extended – these are sure signs of laboured breathing that need to be investigated.

If your cat is perfectly normal (for a cat) and just snores a bit occasionally there’s nothing you need to do except keep an eye on the situation to make sure it doesn’t get worse. Cats have a bad habit of pretending there’s nothing wrong when they’re sick, so knowing your cat well is the best thing you can do to make sure little issues don’t turn into big ones.

 

When to See The Vet

Along with keeping up with your routine check-ups, a visit to the vet is a good idea even if there are no other symptoms present and the snoring continues for an extended period of time. Prolonged snoring could indicate a breathing difficulty that you can’t otherwise detect and it doesn’t take a degree in rocket surgery to know that breathing difficulties = bad news.

Other more serious causes of snoring in cats include:

  • Allergies to pollens, dust or whatever else may be in the air. Getting your cat checked for allergies and making sure you’re using a good, dust free litter will help with this. An air purifier is a good idea for everybody in the house, including your sensitive kitty.
  • Upper respiratory infection, also known as a cat cold. Antibiotics may be required to clear this up.
  • Feline asthma may cause snoring and other signs of breathing difficulties and as we know, this requires regular care to keep under control. Here are some other symptoms to watch out for.
  • A polyp or tumour in the nasal passage or throat, which usually requires surgical removal.
  • Something lodged in the back of the throat, such as a blade of grass. If your cat has started snoring suddenly this could be the cause, but a vet will need to diagnose and remove any foreign bodies.

The best thing you can do is keep an eye on the situation and if things start getting out of hand, make an appointment with your vet. Even if there’s nothing wrong, it’s better to be sure.

 

Are you being kept awake by a snoring feline? Head to the comments and share your sleepless stories…

 

 

 

 

 

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22 Comments

  1. I am not a cat expert but any abnormalities you are not sure of it is best to let the vet check them out. Better to be safe than sorry.

  2. I’ve never had a snoring cat, but they have purred in their sleep. Some of them have selected ridiculous places to sleep, like flower pots and narrow ledges.

    The truth is that all my cats have been ridiculously healthy, well into old age.

    How prevalent is feline asthma? Can it be cured, or only treated?

    Is diet ever a contributing factor?

    1. Diet is always a contributing factor, for everything. I mean, diet probably doesn’t cause a cat to become wheezy, but it certainly helps to keep the asthma under control.

      Asthma is asthma, same in cats as in humans, it can’t be cured but it can definitely be managed. Only about 1% of cats are asthmatic. Little Sparrow hasn’t had a full on asthma attack since he was first diagnosed – he’s had rough patches when he’s been sick and wheezy, but I haven’t seen him coughing up his lungs – which is nice.

  3. A snoring cat sounds like a nightmare. My kitten used to wrap herself around my head while I was asleep and start purring. You don’t realized how loud purring is until its on top of your head lol. I can’t even begin to imagine what snoring would be like.

    1. Snoring is kinda like purring but less consistent and probably louder. I hope you never have to hear that so close to your head. Thanks for your comment, Michelle.

  4. Hi Shirley,

    So good to come to read another good article on your site.

    As a cat lover, I always love to read about cats, I never thought a cat could snore, it never happened to me.
    Right now I’m visiting my sister and she owns a few cats, and they are so lovey and we are so lucky all of them sleep good.

    Thanks for sharing another great article.
    Alejandra.

    1. Hey Alejandra, nice to hear from you again. Thanks for taking the time to say hi, I always love hearing your thoughts.

  5. This is really useful and informative. My cat snores and we kept taking her to the vet to find out if anything was wrong. She had chest X-rays and all sorts, but they could never find anything.

    It doesn’t help that my cat will quite happily sleep right next to my face, so I get her snoring at maximum volume. It’s good to know that there’s nothing wrong with her, though – it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your pets’ health – they can’t tell you if anything’s wrong, and you can never be too cautious in this regard.

    1. You’re absolutely right, Jack. I’m glad you took such good care of your cat, getting her all checked out with the vet. Cats have a bad habit of invading our personal space while we rest, I hope you get some sleep soon!

  6. I love this! This is definitely going to help me understand my neighborhood cat better! I never knew that cats were known to act like nothing is wrong when they are ill. This is quite interesting 🙂 Thank you so much for posting this adorable-based, info-filled article!

  7. Omagoodness! The video of “snoring cats” was absolutely freaking adorable!! I can’t even …

    My cat doesn’t snore (yet, anyway!) but this past year my dog has started this could-be-annoying-if-I-wasn’t-so-in-love-with-him habit of snoring. I’m not sure if it’s the same for cats AND dogs, but luckily he doesn’t exhibit any of the worry signs!

    Love this post!

    1. Could-be-annoying-if-I-wasn’t-so-in-love-with-him describes just about everything my Sparrow does. He’s definitely the most demanding, high maintenance, annoying pet I’ve ever had but he definitely makes up for it with cuteness!

      Thanks Courtney 🙂

  8. Honestly, the title got me. I laughed so loud, my husband needed to check up on me. But as I read the article I found out so much information about our feline friend. Thanks for the information and educating people on possible reasons that their cat snores. I babysat cats and I was always worried because I do not know these fun facts. But I will keep your site in mind for future cat ownership.

  9. Wow! I always thought snoring in cats was kinda cute. I had no idea that it could be a warning sign for any of the problems you have described. I do not currently own a cat, but I have been thinking about getting one. This is very informative to both cat owners and people thinking about being a cat owner. Good to know! 😀

  10. I’ve always loved cats, cute little critters. We have a stray cat that visits every night for her supper, but she’s quite wild so I can’t get close enough to touch her. But she sleeps over sometimes and I can actually hear her snore when she’s comfortable. Great article, shes young and fit so I think she’s a healthy snorer.
    Keep up the good work.

  11. Snoring is some serious business!
    Not only for cats & dogs but humans alike. Isn’t it?

    Even my cihuahuas tend to snore, if they happen to sleep in weird positions while deeply relaxed.
    Who could’ve thought someone so small can make noise that loud?

    Meanwhile snoring is usually harmless, at the same time it indicates to something that mechanically prevents breathing. In worst case, if there’s something stuck in pets throat..
    Eventually, in long term effect & if done consistently, snoring can lead to damaging brain cells over time because body won’t get oxygen 100% while sleeping.

    I’ve no idea, if it could lead to some kind of nerve damage as well.. but we don’t want to find it out, do we?

    That’s one of the main reasons why I would like to take care of snoring problem asap.
    It’s very deceptive issue & can be slowly killing the body.

    Another moment I was instantly thinking of, is the structural anomaly – Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome like you pointed it out – If upper airway by its nature already is too narrow.. then there’s almost nothing we could do. Partial obstruction seems to be part of the package by default.
    ..& it just might be entirely individual thing.

    Even more so, pairing it up with obesity, there are some worrisome cumulative factors we should avoid as much as possible..

    1. Funny you should mention pets with things stuck in their throats, today someone told me about a little puppy that was making weird noises and snoring, so they took her to the vet and it turned into a bit of a crisis situation that nobody could figure out, for weeks of hospitals and vets and who knows what kind of testing. Just when they were about to give up on this little dog they discovered that she’d inhaled a seed or something, fixed that up and she was right as rain.

      Moral of the story, as you say, take care of the little problem before it turns into the big problem. Much better to nip it in the bud and pay the standard consultation fee at the vet than to put your pet at risk and pay a small fortune for a hospital bill. 

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