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?’
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.
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.
- 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…