The Purrfect Lullaby. Uncovering the Mysteries of Cat Snoring


Snoring is an issue that many cat owners have to deal with. Like humans, cats can snore for a variety of reasons. In this article, we’ll explore what cat snoring sounds like, reasons for cat snoring, when to be concerned, how it differs from other noises, breeds prone to snoring, ways to prevent snoring, snoring in older cats, and when to take your cat to the vet.

We will look at the various causes of feline snoring, from harmless reasons like deep sleep to more serious conditions like respiratory infections. We’ll also discuss what snoring sounds like in cats compared to other noises they make. Understanding the difference between snoring and other sounds can help owners identify when there may be a health issue present.

While snoring is common in some breeds, there are things you can do to reduce it if the noise becomes disruptive. We’ll go over lifestyle changes and medical treatments that may provide relief. By the end, cat owners will have a better understanding of why their furry friend snores and when it warrants a trip to the veterinarian.

What Does Cat Snoring Sound Like?

Cat snoring can sound similar to human snoring, with a raspy or vibrating noise as air passes through the throat. However, cat snoring often sounds more congested, wheezy, or labored compared to humans. Some descriptions of cat snoring noises include:

In some cases, cat snoring may sound gravelly or harsh, similar to a human with a very congested nose. It can range from soft to loud snoring. Any abnormal breathing sounds in cats should be checked by a vet.

Reasons For Cat Snoring

There are several potential medical causes for cat snoring including respiratory infections, nasal polyps, and allergies. Respiratory infections like feline calicivirus or feline herpesvirus can cause inflammation and congestion in a cat’s nasal passages and throat leading to snoring sounds while breathing (Source). Nasal polyps, which are benign growths in the nasal cavity, can also obstruct airflow and lead to snoring. Allergies to things like pollen, dust, or food can trigger upper respiratory inflammation resulting in noisy breathing as well (Source). It’s important to have a veterinarian examine a snoring cat to pinpoint if any underlying medical conditions are present and require treatment.

When Should I Be Concerned?

Although some snoring is normal in cats, there are certain circumstances when cat snoring can be a sign of an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention. According to PetMD, you should contact your vet if your cat’s snoring is accompanied by other symptoms, suddenly becomes louder or more frequent, occurs while awake, or is disruptive to your cat’s sleep.

Specific warning signs that point to potentially serious health problems include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness or appearing chronically fatigued
  • Noticeable weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Noisy breathing while awake such as wheezing or raspy sounding breaths
  • Discharge from the nose or excessive sneezing
  • Coughing or gagging
  • Lethargy, reduced appetite, or less interest in play
  • Snoring accompanied by twitching, tremors, or startled awake episodes

If your cat shows any of these symptoms in addition to snoring, it’s important to schedule a veterinary appointment right away. The snoring may be indicative of a potentially serious health issue like an upper airway obstruction, heart or lung disease, infection, or tumor that requires prompt veterinary attention.

Snoring vs Other Noises

It’s important to distinguish snoring sounds from other noises your cat might make. While snoring tends to be lower-pitched and rhythmic, other sounds can indicate different issues.

Purring is a common cat vocalization that signifies contentment. It consists of a low rumbling or vibrating sound during inhalation and exhalation 1. Purring is usually louder than snoring.

Hissing is a defensive sound cats make when frightened or angry. It’s characterized by a harsh, sustained, forceful exhaling through the mouth 2. The sound is louder and more aggressive than snoring.

Growling indicates a warning or a threat. It consists of low-pitched rumblings from the throat during exhaling 3. Growling has a rougher quality than snoring.

Being able to distinguish snoring from other vocalizations can help determine if your cat’s noises require medical attention.

Breeds Prone to Snoring

Certain breeds of cats are more likely to snore due to the shape of their heads and facial features. Brachycephalic breeds, which have flat faces, are most prone to snoring.

Some specific breeds known for snoring include:

  • Persians – Their extremely flat faces and short noses make them prone to snoring. Persian cats often sound like very loud snorers.
  • Exotic Shorthairs – As a variant of the Persian breed, Exotics also have the signature squished face leading to snoring.
  • British Shorthairs – British Shorthairs have round heads and flat faces, though not as extreme as Persians. They are still likely to snore.
  • Scottish Folds – Their folded ears and flat face shape can lead to snoring.
  • Himalayans – Himalayans have the same flat facial structure as Persians, being color variations of that breed. Loud snoring is common.

While any breed can snore, these brachycephalic breeds are most known for chronic, loud snoring due to their facial structure leading to obstructed airways.

Preventing Snoring

There are a few things you can try to help prevent or reduce your cat’s snoring:

  • Help your cat lose weight if needed. Extra weight, especially around the neck and chest, can cause airway obstruction and snoring. Consult with your vet on a safe weight loss plan for your cat that involves diet and exercise.
  • Keep your cat’s nasal passages clear. Gently wipe your cat’s nose with a warm, damp cloth to remove any mucus or debris that may be blocking airflow. You can also use a saline nasal spray made for pets.
  • Consider elevating your cat’s head while sleeping. Use a pillow, wedge, or elevate the head of your cat’s bed slightly to keep their airway open. This may reduce obstruction and snoring.
  • Run a humidifier near your cat’s sleep area. Dry air can irritate airways and lead to snoring. Adding moisture to the air can soothe airways.
  • Avoid exposing your cat to irritants like smoke or dust. Irritants can cause nasal inflammation and obstruct airways.

If snoring persists despite these prevention tips, have your vet examine your cat to check for underlying health issues.

Snoring in Older Cats

As cats age, they become more prone to snoring for a variety of reasons. According to PetGuard, older cats often develop health conditions like obesity and arthritis that can cause chest congestion and snoring when they breathe. The tissues in the airways also loosen with age, which can lead to more snoring, says veterinarian Ernie Ward on Rover.

Snoring in senior cats is often a result of the natural aging process, but there are some steps you can take to potentially reduce it. Helping your cat maintain a healthy weight through diet and exercise can decrease snoring caused by obesity. Managing arthritis pain and inflammation with medications prescribed by your vet may also help open airways. You can also encourage proper breathing by placing your cat’s food bowls elevated off the floor.

While snoring alone may not require medical treatment in older cats, a sudden increase in snoring or other accompanying symptoms like gagging or wheezing warrant a vet visit. Your vet can examine your senior cat to determine if snoring is a sign of a more serious condition requiring intervention.

When to See the Vet

While some snoring may be normal, there are times when cat snoring can indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention. You should make an appointment with your vet if your cat’s snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

Wheezing or coughing – If your cat is making wheezing sounds or has a persistent cough along with snoring, this could point to respiratory issues like asthma, pneumonia, or upper airway obstructions.

Lethargy – Excessive snoring that leads to daytime sleepiness or low energy levels in your cat should be addressed by your vet.

Weight loss or changes in appetite – An abrupt change in your cat’s snoring along with weight loss or lack of appetite could signal an illness or disease.

Nasal discharge – Any discharge coming from your cat’s nose when accompanied by snoring warrants a vet visit to check for infection.

Difficulty breathing – Snoring paired with visibly labored breathing, open mouth breathing, or exaggerated abdominal movements indicates struggling for air.

Change in snoring – A sudden increase in volume, frequency, or new onset of snoring in an adult cat should be evaluated by your veterinarian.

Lack of improvement – If your cat’s snoring persists despite your attempts to reduce environmental irritants, a health problem may be to blame.

In kittens – Any snoring in a kitten is abnormal and requires prompt veterinary attention as it could signal an obstruction.

When in doubt about the cause or severity of your cat’s snoring, check with your veterinarian. They can examine your cat for underlying issues and provide treatment recommendations. Don’t hesitate to call if your cat’s snoring has you concerned.


In summary, cat snoring can be normal but may also indicate an underlying health issue. Snoring in cats is often caused by obstructions in the nasal passages or throat. Brachycephalic breeds like Persians are more prone to snoring due to their shortened airways. If your cat is snoring, look for other signs of respiratory distress and contact your vet if concerned. Treatment options include clearing nasal obstructions, weight loss, and lifestyle changes. While occasional cat snoring may be normal, persistent or loud snoring warrants veterinary attention to address potential causes and improve your cat’s quality of life.

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