Why Does My Cat Snore?
It’s no secret that cats love nothing more than a cozy, comfy sleep – hence us coining the phrase ‘cat nap’! Whilst we feline lovers enjoy nothing more than having our furry friends curl up on our lap for a relaxing sleep, it can be quite concerning if they start to snore. It’s cute, but is it anything to worry about?
What causes a cat to snore?
Before we consider what causes a cat to snore, let’s look at what snoring is.
Cats go through stages of sleep much like we do. There are two main stages of sleep – one is REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, which is where dreams occur, and the other is non-REM sleep, which is split into three stages, one of which is a state of deep sleep. The deep sleep stage is the one in which snoring tends to happen, as the soft tissues surrounding the airways begin to fully relax. Snoring itself is the sound created by the air as it moves past these tissues, causing a vibration.
There are a number of possible causes of hearing snoring from your cat’s bed. Some are completely harmless, whereas others do require veterinary attention.
If your cat is carrying extra weight, it could cause them to snore. Fat deposits surrounding their airways can put pressure on their breathing.
Cats with narrow or shortened nasal passages (flat-faced cats) and particularly long soft palates mean that there is less space for the movement of air when they breathe, especially when they are in a relaxed state of sleeping. The vibrations created as the air moves through these narrow passages can cause them to snore.
If your cat only seems to snore occasionally, the reason may be as simple as them adopting an odd sleeping position.
Any illness that affects their upper airways (their throat, mouth and nose) can create snoring. Viral infections like cat flu can also cause snoring, especially if they are affected longer term. Any infections that result in swelling and inflammation of the nasal passages and create mucus can lead to snoring.
If the snoring has started suddenly, The Vets add that it’s worth checking to see if there is a blockage of any kind. Any foreign body – a simple blade of grass or a mass, a polyp or tumor – could cause snoring as the air has to push past the obstruction. This may also be heard more subtly when they are awake.
Like us, cats can suffer from asthma. Feline asthma can cause their airway passages to narrow, creating a tendency in them to snore.
Again, much like us, allergies can cause inflammation of the airways, resulting in a snore.
Should I be worried?
If your cat only snores occasionally, it is likely to just be a matter of an unusual sleeping position and therefore harmless.
If they are overweight, so long as they are otherwise healthy, the extra fat could likely be to blame. That doesn’t mean you should just ignore it – if their weight is causing them to snore, then it’s probably causing other problems in their body, too.
If you have a brachycephalic breed, such as a Himalayan, Persian or Burmese, for example, then the shape of their face may be the reason, especially if they have always snored. If your kitty is also making strange breathing noises when they are awake, then you should take them to the vet for an assessment. Some brachycephalic cats require surgery or medicine to help keep their airways wide enough for comfortable breathing.
If your cat starts snoring suddenly, then it’s important to get them checked out at the vets. Some causes of snoring require veterinary attention and treatment.
If you notice any of the following symptoms in addition to snoring, then book a vet appointment pronto:
- Eye discharge
- Sneezing or wheezing
- Pawing at their mouth or face
- Changes in appetite and/or lethargy
- Panting or open-mouth breathing, fast breathing or an extended neck should be treated as an emergency
Snoring in cats is often nothing to worry about, especially if they have always done it and they are otherwise perfectly fit and healthy. Also, if they only do it occasionally, there is no cause for alarm.
However, some causes of snoring in cats are more serious and require veterinary attention. If your furry friend starts snoring out of the blue, and particularly if they have any other unusual accompanying symptoms, you should certainly make an appointment with your chosen vet. It is still hopefully nothing to worry about, but it’s better to be sure.
Even if your cat has always snored, it is worth mentioning it to your veterinarian at your next appointment, so that they can assess whether any further investigation is required.