Why does my cat snore?

What does it mean when your cat snores? Can it be sign of illness? Our snoring blog post gives you all the information on this slightly amusing behaviour.

7th June 2016

We all know that our feline friends love to sleep. They’ll drop off whenever and wherever they can. Sometimes, you may be able to hear your cat snoring while they doze, but is this normal in cats?

When snoring in cats is normal behaviour (usually)

Just like their human owners, cats have sleep cycles. If you see them twitching, displaying ‘running’ feet or jerking their facial muscles, they’re in a rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep. Cats also have a deeper, non-REM sleep phase during which they’re fully relaxed. This is when you’re more likely to hear them snore.

If you notice your feline friend snoring every once and a while, it’s probably nothing to be concerned about. Similarly, if your cat has always snored, and you don’t notice any other signs of illness, it’s also more than likely not a medical concern.

A cat sleeping

There are a few reasons why your cat might be snoring, such as:

  • Your cat may be sleeping in a strange position, as they so often do, which might cause temporary snoring
  • Your cat is overweight, putting pressure on their nasal passages and causing them to snore
  • Your cat is a brachycephalic breed, for example, a Persian cat. Its shortened nasal passage and elongated palates, as a result of their breeding, can lead to noisy sleeping.

When should I be concerned about my cat snoring?

There are some symptoms which accompany snoring that could be a cause for concern. If your pet is experiencing any of the following issues, and you’re worried about its health, it’s always best to schedule a check-up with your vet practice.

  • A drop in appetite or feeling lethargic – these signs are the most common symptom that your cat isn’t happy, and should always be investigated by your vet
  • Snorting air quickly, coughing, or breathing with their mouth open (panting) – these are all signs of a respiratory problem which could be causing/worsening your cats snoring
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose, or sores on the nose – if these symptoms are present, it could mean that your cat is snoring due to mucus in the nasal passage as a result of a respiratory infection
  • Sitting with an extended neck and breathing rapidly – this is a sign of laboured breathing and you should consult your vet immediately if you see this behaviour

For the most part, hearing your cat snoring away as it sleeps shouldn’t be a huge problem and can even be quite cute! If you keep your eyes out for the symptoms we’ve mentioned and monitor your cat’s eating habits, you can ensure that any issues don’t become serious.

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