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

Our feline friends can sleep for up 18 hours a day! So, since they sleep for such a long time, it isn’t surprising our cats can snore.

Cat snoring can be confused for purring, and vice versa. Occasionally, cats who are dreaming will make purring or squeaking sounds. To help you tell the difference:

  • Snoring is usually quite loud and will have breaks in sound between each breath.
  • Purring sounds softer than snoring and will be more of a continuous vibration.

What causes snoring in cats?

Just like us, cats snore when they are affected by allergies (to pollen, dust, etc.), respiratory infections (like cat flu), or a partial blockage of their airways. Another reason your cat snores has to do with their sleep cycles. If your cat is enjoying REM (rapid eye movement) sleep they’ll be busy dreaming, but during deep sleep, your feline friend’s muscles will be fully relaxed, which could cause more snoring.

Other causes of snoring in cats include:

  • Sleeping in a strange position – this can increase the possibility of snoring.
  • Being overweight – which can put pressure on their nasal passages.
  • Their breed – brachycephalic (wide head, short nose) breeds are more likely to snore (e.g. Persian cats).

When snoring in cats is normal behaviour

Cats who are natural snorers are unlikely to have underlying health problems. Also, if you notice your feline friend snoring every once and a while, it’s probably not a cause for concern.

However, if your cat suddenly starts snoring or the style of their snoring changes, please contact your vet for advice.

A cat sleeping

Do cats snore when they get older?

Older cats tend to snore more if they suffer from age-related health conditions, like arthritis (difficulty moving can increase the likelihood of cats becoming obese, which puts pressure on their respiratory systems), or because they are at greater risk of infections, like cat flu.

It’s worth contacting your vet if you notice your older cat has started snoring.

When should I be concerned about my cat snoring?

If your cat shows any of the following symptoms along with their snoring, they should see a vet as soon as possible:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Lethargy.
  • Drooling
  • Snorting air quickly.
  • Coughing.
  • Panting (breathing with their mouth open).
  • Discharge from their eyes and/or nose.
  • Bleeding from their nose.
  • Sores on their nose.
  • Swellings around their mouth and/or throat.
  • Clawing at their face.
  • Vomiting.
  • Behavioural changes (e.g. aggression or hiding).

Call your vet immediately if you notice your cat extending their neck and breathing rapidly – laboured breathing should always be treated as an emergency.


Read our cat blog!

If you found this article useful, why not visit our cat blog for more news, insight and opinion pieces?


Need cat insurance?

Cat insurance can help cover the cost of veterinary treatment if your cat gets injured or falls ill.


We know pets

Animal Friends Insurance is a multi-award winning FCA-regulated pet insurer, founded in 1998 to provide industry-leading pet insurance and first-class animal care to create a better life for every animal.
As one of the UK’s largest pet insurance providers, Animal Friends works with vets, veterinary professionals, and partners pioneering the latest veterinary technology & healthcare advancements to achieve our vision.
Our policyholders have helped donate over £8.5 million to more than 800 animal charities worldwide and by educating and inspiring others to act on current events and responsible pet ownership, Animal Friends is driving positive change for animal welfare and conservation.