Does your cat snore louder than you thought such a tiny creature could? Cat snoring is less common than dog snoring, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Let’s talk about why cats snore, when it’s normal, and when you might want to schedule a visit to the vet.

What Is Snoring?

When your cat sleeps, tissues at the back of their throat relax and may vibrate. It’s the vibration of this tissue that makes the snoring sound. Any animal with a soft palate (a tissue structure near the throat) is capable of snoring, though it’s more common in some animals than others.

Why Do Cats Snore?

While any cat may snore, there are a lot of triggers that may increase the likelihood of a cat snoring. Here are some of the most common causes of cat snoring.

Overweight

Around half of cats age 5 to 11 weigh more than they should, and about a third of all cats in North America are obese (weigh at least 20% more than they should). Just like with overweight people, extra fat can accumulate around your cat’s neck, which can make it harder for your cat to breathe and may trigger snoring.

Obesity causes many health problems in cats that are more serious than snoring. If your cat is overweight, you should talk to your vet about how to help them lose weight. It just may help extend your cat’s life.

Brachycephalic

Brachycephalic (flat-faced) cat breeds like Himalayans and Persians are more prone to snoring due to the structure of their face. With their entire nasal cavity inside their skull, they are more likely to have their soft palate or other tissue blocking their airway. That increases the likelihood of cat snoring.

Respiratory Illnesses

You’re more likely to snore when you have a cold, and your cat is the same way. Asthma, fungal infections, and bacterial infections can all cause a cat to snore. It’s time for a trip to the vet if your cat also has symptoms like sneezing, coughing, eye or nose discharge, or behavioral or appetite changes.

Sleep Position

Cats can sleep in the craziest positions. Sometimes, they manage to tilt their head at just the right angle to trigger snoring. As soon as your cat shifts position, the snoring will go away. This is nothing to worry about.

Foreign Object

If your cat’s snoring is new, they may have inhaled a foreign object, like a blade of grass. If your cat has a foreign object in their nose, they’ll likely be agitated or coughing. If you suspect your cat has something in their nose, don’t try to remove it yourself. Take your cat to the vet, so you don’t accidentally cause more harm than good.

Other

Other things that may cause a cat to snore include nasal polyps or tumors, trauma, inflammation, or allergies. When in doubt, it’s never a bad idea to have a vet check over your cat to look for reasons your cat is snoring now when they didn’t before.

cat sleeping in bed

Is Cat Snoring Normal?

Most of the time, cat snoring is normal. If your cat has always snored and isn’t showing any other symptoms, then you shouldn’t need to worry about your cat’s snoring.

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.

If your cat is showing any of the following symptoms, call your vet immediately: wheezing, panting, or difficulty breathing. These could indicate a very serious or potentially deadly health problem.

How to Stop Cat Snoring

Most of the time, cat snoring is normal, and there is little you can do about it. However, obesity is one preventable and treatable cause of snoring. Obesity also contributes to many other health conditions that can shorten your cat’s life. Here are some tips for managing your cat’s weight, snoring, and overall health.

Yearly Vet Visits

Cats are very good at hiding their symptoms when they don’t feel good. Your cat may be seriously ill, but you won’t notice any symptoms until it’s nearly too late. That’s why it’s crucial to take your cat to the vet at least once a year.

If your cat’s snoring is new or accompanied by any other symptoms, don’t wait for your cat’s yearly exam to talk to the vet about it. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Food Puzzles

Cats in the wild must spend a significant part of their day hunting for their next meal. Make your cat work a little harder for their kibble with a food puzzle. They come in a wide variety of difficulty levels to satisfy every cat’s desire to find their food.

Food puzzles help your cat get more exercise. However, they also help your cat use a different part of their brain. It makes their life just a little more interesting when they have to work for their food rather than eating it right out of the bowl.

Exercise

Many people don’t think about providing exercise for their cats the same way you exercise a dog. After all, most cats don’t do well walking on a leash. However, exercising your cat is just as important as walking a dog.

There are all types of interactive toys you can buy to play with your cat, even when you aren’t home. Whether it’s a wand toy, a laser pointer, a cat wheel, or something else, find a form of exercise that your cat enjoys and encourage them to do it every day.

Encourage Climbing

Cats love to climb and view the world from above. Provide your cat with plenty of perches where they can feel safe. The more variety you can provide for your cat, the better. Encourage them to jump or climb from perch to perch to get important exercise.

cat playing

About the author: Dan Richardson owns both a cat (Whisky) and a dog (Rufus) who get on well... most of the time! He has been writing about cats for over four years and is a passionate advocate of feline adoption.