We seldom hear cats snore, but when they do, they sure look and sound so cute. Then again, despite the cuteness, we can’t help but ask: Why do cats snore? Is cat snoring normal?
Yes, a cat’s snore doesn’t sound anything like your old man’s snoring. In fact, it might not even affect your goodnight’s sleep. However, that harmless, adorable purring sound that your cat makes while sleeping can indicate that something is wrong with your feline friend health-wise.
If you’re a fur parent who wishes to find out when a cat’s snoring is considered normal and when you should contact your vet, you’ve come to the right page. We’re here to give all you need to know about a cats’ snore- the whys, whats, and everything in between.
Cat Snoring: What Is It?
Snoring is pretty common in humans and even in dogs. And often, it’s likely to cause no harm whatsoever.
Snoring occurs when the tissues surrounding the upper airways vibrate. This usually happens during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep – when the body is fully relaxed, the soft tissues in the throat and tongue included. The two may partially block the airways and hinder the flow of air coming in and out, causing a rattling or snorting sound or audible breathing.
Like humans, cats also go through the same stages of sleep or sleep cycles. And similar to humans, it is during REM sleep when a cat snores. However, snoring in cats happens less frequently compared to dogs.
Also Read: Best Cat Food for Weight Loss
Why Do Cats Snore?
There are a few reasons why people snore. This includes their sleep position, gender, and age. When it comes to cats, snoring can also be caused by various things. Here are the most common causes of snoring in cats and the possible reasons why your cat is snoring:
Born natural contortionists, cats can get themselves in the weirdest positions while sleeping. A cat snores, at times, due to the strange way its head and neck are positioned. Their head and neck may be angled in a manner wherein airflow is obstructed.
If this is causing your cat’s snoring, you can also expect the snoring to stop once your cat changes their sleep position.
People who are overweight tend to snore more. It’s the same thing with cats. So, if your cat is a bit on the plump side, you may want to consider your cat’s weight as the culprit behind your cat’s snoring.
Same with humans, the extra weight equates to fat accumulation in the tissues around the upper airway. Your cat might be snoring because of the pressure that the excess fat places on your cat’s nasal passages.
Cat Breed & Nose Shape
Some cat breeds are predisposed to snoring. When we say some – we are explicitly referring to brachycephaly cat breeds. This includes Persians, Himalayans, and Burmese cats.
Brachycephaly, aka “flat face,” is characterized by a shortened skull bone. Cat breeds of this type often suffer from airway problems (like snoring) because of the shape of their nose, which is significantly smaller compared to non-brachycephalic breed cats.
DVM, Ph.D. Bruce Kornreich (of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine) also confirms that the small nose and nostrils, shortened nasal passages, and shortened bones of brachycephalic cats restrict breathing. They also have an elongated soft palate that can hinder air entry to the throat or the windpipe.
Presence Of Foreign Objects
The presence of a foreign object in the nasal passage can also trigger snoring in your cat. Remember that this happens when air moves in blocked airways. And that blockage might just be caused by an actual object – like a grass blade.
Underlying Medical Problem
Lastly, an existing health problem can also trigger your cat’s snoring. Upper respiratory infections (whether bacterial infections or fungal infections) can cause your cat to go on a snoring frenzy. Other underlying illnesses that can lead to snoring include:
- Rhinitis or chronic nasal inflammation
- Polyps or masses
When Is Cat Snoring Normal?
Don’t worry too much if your cat snores a few times or occasionally. The same goes when your cat has always snored but has remained healthy or does not show other symptoms.
Rather than an underlying medical issue, your cat’s peculiar sleeping position, breed, or excess weight might just be the reason behind it.
5 Telltale Signs That Your Cat’s Snoring Is Worrisome
When can we say that a cat snore is problematic and requires the intervention of a vet? It’s pretty simple.
If your cat’s snoring comes with a change in behavior or other signs of illnesses, then you know there’s something wrong. A few signs or symptoms to watch out for include:
1. Difficulty Breathing
Snoring accompanied by distressed inhalation and exhalation like panting, wheezing, and coughing are possible symptoms of respiratory illnesses like asthma.
2. Nasal & Eye Discharge
Mucus might be blocking your cat’s airways, causing your cat to snore. If this is the case, your cats will also show other symptoms like nasal discharge and eye boogers – both of which are upper respiratory infection symptoms.
3. Breathing Rapidly While Sitting With An Extended Neck
This odd position is a sign of laboured breathing. If you see your cat doing this, contacting your vet immediately should be on top of your to-do list.
4. Lethargy & Lack Of Appetite
Like humans, cats can also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. And same with humans, daytime fatigue or lethargy is a telltale sign that your cat isn’t getting quality sleep (despite your cat’s ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime).
If your cat has also lost its appetite, consider this a red flag and seek the help of your vet whenever possible.
5. Swollen Areas On The Face
If parts of your cat’s face look inflamed or swollen, your cat might be suffering from a tooth root abscess. This is a painful condition that requires veterinary care.
How To Treat Snoring In Cats?
Snoring caused by underlying health problems can be treated by dealing with the root cause and with the help of your vet.
On the other hand, if the culprit behind your cat’s loud breathing is something else like its weight, you might want to try these tips and tricks:
Exercise. Since obesity increases your cat’s risk of snoring, helping your cat manage its weight might also help reduce the snoring. Losing weight can be achieved through diet and exercise.
Using food puzzles can help limit your cat’s food intake and encourage them to get active. If your cat enjoys playing with a wand toy or some other toys, you can also use those and play with your cat.
Humidifier. Dry air can dry out the nasal passages and cause snoring in humans. The same effect can be observed in cats. If this is the case, opt to put a humidifier where your cats love to sleep.
Food For Thought
Snoring isn’t something to worry about as long as it does not disrupt you or the life and health of your furry friend. However, it’s a different story once it does.
So, make sure to keep a watchful eye on your cat’s health condition and behavior. A change in either one can mean a quick visit to the vet.
Should I worry if my cat snores?
Most of the time, cat snoring is normal. If your cat starts snoring more often or louder than usual, it may indicate a problem. Make an appointment with your vet if your cat's snoring is loud or new, or your cat has other symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, or behavioral changes.
Why do cats wheeze when sleeping?
Feline asthma — Just like in people, some cats' lower airways can become inflamed when triggered by allergens, resulting in wheezing and difficulty breathing. Parasites — Unwelcome parasite infections like feline heartworms and lungworms can wreak havoc on the lungs, resulting in breathing abnormalities.
Why does it sound like my cat is snoring?
Sometimes, cats make snoring noises when they are awake. Astertor is a low-pitched noise, and it can sound like a snore. Astridor is a high-pitched tone you sometimes hear during cat respiration. And wheezing is the sound that occurs in the lungs while your cat is breathing.
What does it mean if cats snore?
In most scenarios, your cat's snoring is perfectly normal. According to Pet MD, snoring happens when there's some kind of pressure or blockage related to the nasal passages. There are also cats that snore because of their weight. An obese cat is more likely to snore than a skinny cat because of their extra weight.
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