Purr-fect Solutions For Your Snoring Cat

What Causes Cats to Snore?

Snoring in cats is often caused by obstructed airways. This can occur when the soft palate at the back of the mouth relaxes during sleep and partially blocks airflow. Fat deposits in the throat or enlarged tonsils can also obstruct breathing. Being overweight puts additional pressure on the airways, increasing the likelihood of snoring (source).

Some health conditions can contribute to snoring as well. Upper respiratory infections, asthma, and allergies may cause inflammation in the nasal passages or throat. Cats with heart disease may snore due to poor circulation and reduced oxygen. Tumors or polyps in the nasal cavity or throat can also impede air flow (source).

In some cases, snoring is just due to relaxed throat muscles during sleep. Older cats tend to snore more as their throats lose muscle tone. If the cat is otherwise healthy, minor snoring may not be a concern.

When Snoring May Indicate a Health Problem

While occasional, light snoring may be normal for some cats, persistent, loud snoring or snoring accompanied by other concerning symptoms can potentially indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

According to PetMD, cats that snore persistently and loudly may have obstructions or inflammation in their nasal passages or throat that impede normal breathing. Polyps, tumors, infections, or foreign objects lodged in the airway can all lead to disruptive snoring.

Cats that snore chronically along with breathing issues like coughing, gagging, wheezing, or labored breathing may be exhibiting signs of more serious respiratory conditions. These can include asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, or heart disease. Proper veterinary diagnosis is needed to identify the underlying cause.

Certain brachycephalic or flat-faced breeds like Persians and Himalayans are also more prone to upper airway obstructions leading to snoring. Their facial structure can compress soft tissue and cartilage, obstructing normal airflow.

Overall, any persistent, disruptive snoring or snoring combined with other respiratory red flags warrants having your cat seen by a veterinarian. They can perform the necessary exams and diagnostic tests to pinpoint whether an underlying health issue requires treatment.

Getting a Veterinary Exam

It’s important to have your cat examined by a veterinarian if they suddenly start snoring or if the snoring is accompanied by other concerning symptoms. The vet will be able to identify any underlying medical issues that may be causing the snoring.

The veterinarian will likely listen to your cat’s breathing and heart with a stethoscope. They may also perform additional tests to get a closer look at your cat’s airways, such as:

  • X-rays – To identify obstructions or anomalies in the nasal passages, throat, or windpipe.
  • Endoscopy – A camera is inserted into the throat to visually inspect for blockages or masses.
  • CT scan or MRI – Advanced imaging to obtain a detailed view of the head and neck area.
  • Rhinoscopy – A tiny flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the nasal passages.

Identifying the underlying cause of your cat’s snoring through diagnostic testing will allow the vet to recommend the most effective treatment plan. Leaving snoring unchecked could potentially lead to more severe respiratory issues for your cat down the line. It’s best to schedule an appointment as soon as you notice a change in their breathing during sleep.




Treating Obstructed Airways

There are several methods for treating obstructed airways in cats that snore:

  • Trimming the hair around the nostrils can help reduce obstruction and improve airflow. Long hair around the nose should be trimmed short regularly 1.
  • Treating nasal discharge by gently wiping the nose and applying saline drops can help clear blockages. Severe cases may require suctioning by a veterinarian 2.
  • Surgically removing polyps or excess tissue in the nasal passages can improve airflow. This may be recommended for severe obstruction 1.

Relieving obstruction is important for improving breathing and reducing snoring sounds.

Helping an Overweight Cat

If your cat is overweight, developing a weight loss regimen with your veterinarian can get your cat back to a healthy size. According to VCA Hospitals, many cats will lose weight more effectively on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Portion-controlled meals, puzzle feeders, and hiding kibble around the house can slow down eating and make mealtime more of a challenge.

Increasing exercise and play can also help your cat burn more calories. The ASPCA recommends 5-10 minutes of playtime 2-3 times per day. Try engaging your cat with interactive toys like feathers on a string or laser pointers. Place food bowls and litter boxes in different rooms so your cat has to walk more. Provide climbing surfaces like cat trees and shelves to encourage jumping and climbing. Just be sure to check with your veterinarian before significantly increasing your cat’s activity level.

Positional Devices

One way to help a snoring cat is by using positional devices to keep their airway open while sleeping. This includes special beds, collars, and other items designed to elevate a cat’s head and keep their airway clear.

Speaking with your veterinarian, you may find that an elevated cat bed, pillow, or other device can help reduce your cat’s snoring. These work by keeping your cat’s head and neck at an angle that prevents their airway from becoming obstructed or collapsed while sleeping. According to experts, keeping a cat’s head elevated by around 4-6 inches can be an effective anti-snoring solution (Source: https://iheartcats.com/sleepless-nights-heres-help-cat-stop-snoring/).

There are also special anti-snoring collars available for cats that are designed to keep their head and neck supported in an elevated position. These collars gently hold your cat’s head up while they sleep to maintain an open airway. Just be sure any anti-snoring collar properly fits your cat and isn’t causing them discomfort.

By using the right positional devices for your cat, you may see a noticeable reduction in snoring. Be sure to monitor your cat to ensure the position is comfortable and allows for restful sleep. positional devices, used safely, can be an easy way to quiet those nighttime snores.

Environmental Changes

One of the easiest ways to reduce a cat’s snoring is to make some changes in their environment. Irritants in the air like cigarette smoke, dust, and chemicals in cleaning products can inflame nasal passages and make breathing more difficult.

Using a humidifier in your home can help add moisture to the air and soothe dry, irritated airways. The optimal humidity level for cats is between 30-50%. Place the humidifier in your cat’s favorite room and clean it regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Avoid using scented candles, perfumes, air fresheners, and strong cleaners. Stick to unscented and gentle, hypoallergenic products whenever possible. Ensure the litter box area has good ventilation and clean the box frequently.

It’s also a good idea to keep your cat indoors to reduce exposure to outdoor allergens and irritants. Use a high efficiency air filter in your home if possible. Opening windows regularly to let in fresh air can also help improve indoor air quality.


Some cats experiencing frequent or severe snoring may benefit from certain medications prescribed by a veterinarian. These can help reduce inflammation, clear obstructions, or relieve other underlying conditions contributing to snoring.

Steroids like prednisolone can reduce swelling and inflammation in the airways, making breathing easier. However, steroids can have side effects like increased thirst, urination, and appetite (source).

Antibiotics may be prescribed if a bacterial infection is causing snoring or obstructing airways. Antibiotics can cause nausea or diarrhea in some cats.

Other medications like bronchodilators, decongestants, or sedatives may also be options depending on the specific cause of snoring. It’s important to follow veterinary advice and be aware of potential medication side effects.

While over-the-counter cold medications may seem appealing, they should never be given to cats without veterinary approval, as many human medications can be toxic to cats.

When to Seek Emergency Care

In some cases, snoring in cats can indicate a serious, life-threatening condition that requires emergency veterinary care. According to the ASPCA, you should seek immediate medical attention if your cat shows signs of respiratory distress such as:

  • Gasping or labored breathing
  • Severe lethargy or appearing weak and listless
  • Turning blue around the gums or tongue
  • Collapsing or losing consciousness

These emergency symptoms can arise from conditions like:

  • Airway obstruction from something lodged in the throat
  • Laryngeal paralysis
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart failure
  • Smoke inhalation

According to Dr. Gary Richter writing for Rover.com, if your cat is making choking, gagging or wheezing sounds along with snoring, it could be a sign they are struggling to breathe properly and immediate veterinary attention is needed[1]. Don’t delay in these emergency situations – seek vet care right away to relieve airway obstructions or provide supportive treatment.

Creating a Peaceful Environment

There are some steps you can take to create a more peaceful environment for a cat that snores due to stress or anxiety:

Reduce stressors. Try to minimize anything that creates stress or anxiety for your cat, such as loud noises, changes to their routine, or introducing new pets or people. Keeping their environment calm and consistent can help reduce snoring triggered by stress.

Stick to routines. Cats tend to appreciate structure and predictability. Feed them, play with them, and put them to bed around the same times every day. Avoid abruptly changing their schedule when possible.

Provide comfort. Make sure your cat has a quiet, comfortable place to sleep and relax. Set up beds in low-traffic areas and give them access to hiding spots or high perches. You can also try calming supplements or pheromone diffusers.

According to PetMD (https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/cat-snoring-it-normal), a peaceful environment can help reduce cat snoring, especially if it’s brought on by stress or anxiety. Sticking to routines, reducing stressors, and providing comforting sleeping areas are some ways to achieve this.

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