What Do You Do if Your Cat Is Snoring?

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Cat snoring can sound cute, but it might also indicate a health concern. Cats can sleep between 12 to 16 hours a day on average, and you might hear your cat snoring while they catnap. But is snoring normal in cats? Here’s what you need to know about snoring in cats.

Snoring is a sound that is generated during sleep by the vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway. Snoring occurs when the passages in the upper airways—which include the nose, back of the mouth, or throat—vibrate audibly during breathing. Vibrations and the resulting snoring are most likely to occur when the tissues of the upper airways are relaxed during sleep.

Snoring in cats can be normal for some cats. However, in some cases, it may indicate a medical problem. 

There are various reasons that can cause your cats to snore when they are sleeping. Your cat may have a stuffy nose from a cold or flu, but it could also be simply the way your cat is sleeping. Other Common causes include foreign bodies, excess weight, anatomical abnormalities

Brachycephalic syndrome affects several cat breeds, including Persians, Burmese, and Himalayan, are these cats are often predisposed to snoring. “Brachycephalic” comes from two words, with “brachy” meaning shortened and “cephalic” meaning head. The skull bones of brachycephalic cats are shortened in length, giving the face and nose a pushed-in appearance. Many of these cats will have excess soft tissue in the airway, causing them to develop breathing problems, including snoring. 

Overweight cats have a higher tendency to snore due to the excess fat deposited in the tissues surrounding the upper airways. This is one of the many reasons you should try to prevent your cat from becoming overweight.

Cats can sleep in the most unbelievable positions due to how flexible they are and sometimes these awkward positions can cause your cat to snore. If this is the case, the sound should be brief and stop when your cat changes positions. 

Respiratory illnesses including a bacterial or fungal infection and asthma can often cause snoring due to nasal congestion. Other symptoms of respiratory infections include discharge from the eyes and nose, sneezing, coughing, and decreased activity and appetite.

Foreign objects in the back of the mouth or nose can trigger snoring as well as sneezing, coughing, and agitation. Objects such as grass blades, awns, and seeds may be accidentally inhaled and can become lodged in the upper airway. This causes inflammation of the tissues in the airway and may partially obstruct breathing.

In addition to the above, other possible causes include allergies, polyps or masses, inflammation, and/or trauma. 

Although snoring can be normal for your cat, it’s important to know when to be concerned. Contact your veterinarian if your cat suddenly starts snoring, their snoring becomes louder, or they’re experiencing other symptoms along with snoring such as sneezing, coughing, and changes in appetite or behavior. 

If you ever see your cat panting, wheezing, or having difficulty breathing, go immediately to the nearest open veterinary facility. If possible, call when you’re on the way to tell them you’re coming in with a cat in respiratory distress. You may want to keep info handy for a nearby 24/7 emergency vet.

For some cats, snoring is normal and will not interfere with their well-being. Your veterinarian may recommend treatment If your cat’s snoring is causing health issues. Surgery may be necessary to correct severe brachycephalic syndrome. If a foreign body, polyp, or tumor is present, the cat may need a rhinoscopy or surgery to remove it. Your vet may need to do additional tests such as X-rays or an MRI to visualize the airway before recommending treatment.

Upper respiratory infections are generally treated with medications and supportive care. You can help clear your cat’s stuffy nose at home by using a humidifier or putting them in the bathroom while a warm shower is running. Cool mist tends to work best to loosen up congestion, so ask your vet about the best method.

If your cat is overweight, losing some weight can help reduce or even stop snoring. Your cat may need a new diet and an exercise plan, and your vet can help with these.

Snoring can be normal and is more common in some breeds than others. There are several health issues that can increase the likelihood of your cat snoring. Fortunately, you can help prevent some of these by taking steps to keep your cat healthy and enrich their environment

Exercise and interactive play are crucial parts of your cat’s development and contribute greatly to their quality of life. Cats need to engage their prey drive, so choose toys that allow them to hunt, stalk, and chase. Try a wand toy that has an appealing item on it, such as a feather or mouse, and move the toy like the prey that it is supposed to represent. Just like us, not all cats love the same things, so try a few different types of toys to see what your cat enjoys. 

It’s also important to provide your cat with toys they can play with on their own, such as fake mice, ping pong balls, motorized toys, and catnip kicker toys. These are great for cats to attack, bunny kick, and snuggle with. Consider rotating toys to keep your cat more interested in playing and prevent boredom.

Climbing is great for balance, helping your cat maintain their agility and getting them to move more. Also, perches will allow your cats to space themselves out as they prefer. Cats enjoy exploring vertical spaces as well as having a high vantage point from which to view the outside world. Window perches, cat trees, and cat-friendly shelving are great ways to vary your cat’s environment.  

Food puzzles help to slow down eating, prevent boredom and obesity, and allow cats to eat more instinctively by allowing them to forage and “hunt” for their food. There are various food-dispensing toys for cats that you can purchase, and you can even make your own. Start with an easier, beginner puzzle and work up based on your individual cat’s preference.

Regular wellness exams are an important part of keeping your cat happy and healthy. Cats are masters of hiding pain and illness due to being both prey and predator animals. Annual vet visits can help make you aware that your cat is overweight or has another medical issue sooner. Preventive care is always better than reactive care. 

While snoring is less common in cats than in dogs or humans, it’s considered a normal sleeping habit in many cases. However, if your cat’s snoring is accompanied by other physical or behavioral changes, a veterinary visit is best.  

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