Why Does My Cat Purr AND Snore? The Unexpected Reason Behind This Quirky Behavior

What is Purr Snoring in Cats?

Purr snoring in cats refers to a vibration or rattling sound that occurs when a cat inhales and exhales while sleeping or resting. Unlike normal purring, which is a continuous, low rumbling sound made during inhalation and exhalation, purr snoring only occurs during inhalation. The sound is often louder and more pronounced than regular purring. Purr snoring happens when some part of the airway is narrowed or obstructed during inhalation, creating turbulence and vibration as the cat breathes in. This is different from normal purring which does not cause any obstruction in the airway. The snoring noise tends to be intermittent, occurring when the cat is in certain positions or in certain stages of sleep.

As one Reddit user describes it, purr snoring can sound like the cat is “purr-snoring.” It creates a vibrating, snorting, or rasping noise as the cat inhales. Compared to regular purring, purr snoring can sound louder, harsher, or more disruptive. But it stems from the same source – vibration of the vocal cords or soft palate during breathing. Unlike normal purring which is voluntary, purr snoring is often involuntary and the result of partial airway obstruction during sleep or while the cat is very relaxed.

Common Causes of Purr Snoring

There are several potential causes for purr snoring in cats:

Nasal congestion or upper respiratory infections can cause inflammation and blockage in a cat’s nasal passages and throat, leading to snoring sounds. Colds, allergies, and diseases like feline herpesvirus are common culprits (source). Treatment involves clearing the congestion with medication and steam.

Sleep position and relaxed throat muscles may also trigger snoring. When a cat’s mouth and throat are very relaxed during sleep, the soft tissues can vibrate and cause snoring. Older, overweight cats are prone as excess fat deposits in the throat can contribute (source). Keeping cats at a healthy weight can help.

Age can also be a factor, as cats’ throat tissues change with age. Very young kittens getting used to breathing coordination can snore temporarily. Senior cats may develop throat weakness leading to snoring (source). Monitoring an older cat’s breathing is advised.

Is Purr Snoring Normal?

Purr snoring is usually not a major concern in healthy adult cats. Many cats snore from time to time, especially if sleeping in an awkward position or when they are in a deep sleep. For most cats, purr snoring is a normal occurrence and not indicative of any underlying medical issues.

However, persistent or loud snoring can potentially indicate a health problem, especially in kittens or senior cats. Some conditions that may lead to snoring include:

– Upper respiratory infections: Viruses like feline herpesvirus or calicivirus can cause inflammation in a cat’s nasal passages and throat, leading to snoring. Kittens and cats with weak immune systems are prone to respiratory infections (Source).

– Obstructed airways: Snoring may be a sign of obstructions like polyps in the nasal cavity or a deviated septum blocking airflow.

In senior cats, abnormal tissue growths, dental issues, or cardiac problems could contribute to snoring. An overweight or obese cat is also more likely to snore due to excess tissue in the throat (Source).

If a cat starts snoring suddenly or snores consistently and loudly, it’s a good idea to schedule a veterinary exam to check for potential underlying issues. But occasional soft snoring during sleep is generally normal, especially in an otherwise healthy adult cat.

When to See the Vet

While occasional cat snoring is usually normal, there are some signs that indicate a trip to the veterinarian is necessary. Persistent snoring or wheezing is a major red flag, as it can signal an upper respiratory infection or other illness causing airway obstruction. According to Rover, “Anytime your cat is making abnormal noises while breathing, it warrants a trip to the vet to identify the underlying cause.”

Other symptoms that should prompt a vet visit include discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy, reduced appetite, or any noticeable change in breathing. As PetPlan advises, “It’s not necessary to see a vet about your cat snoring, unless there are other concerning symptoms, or their breathing seems to have changed dramatically.” If your cat’s snoring is accompanied by other symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian.

Some specific reasons for persistent snoring that require veterinary attention include:
– Upper respiratory infections
– Heart disease or heart failure
– Fluid in the lungs
– Tumors or polyps in the airways

– Nasal mites

Your vet can diagnose the cause of unusual snoring through a physical exam and tests such as x-rays, bloodwork, or airway scoping. Prompt treatment is important, as some underlying conditions can become serious if left untreated. With the right diagnosis and care, many cats can recover fully from illnesses causing snoring.

Diagnosing the Cause

If a cat has started snoring or shows other symptoms of respiratory issues like sneezing, coughing, or nasal discharge, a veterinarian will perform a physical exam and take the cat’s medical history to try to pinpoint the cause. The vet will listen to the cat’s breathing and heart with a stethoscope looking for any crackling, wheezing, or other abnormal sounds. They’ll also check the cat’s nose, throat, and mouth for signs of infection, inflammation, masses, or foreign objects lodged in the airway.

The vet may recommend getting radiographs (x-rays) of the cat’s nose, throat, and chest which can reveal masses, abscesses, fluid in the lungs, or other issues that could be causing snoring or breathing problems. Blood work may also be recommended to check for underlying infections or other conditions. cultures of the cat’s nasal passages may be taken to identify a bacterial or fungal infection. Biopsies can also be performed if a mass or tumor is suspected.

By combining a thorough physical exam with diagnostic imaging and lab tests, the vet can get to the root cause of a cat’s snoring and trouble breathing. Common culprits include upper respiratory infections, allergies, nasal polyps, cancerous growths, dental disease, heart conditions, and more. Once an accurate diagnosis is made, targeted treatment can begin.

Treating Upper Respiratory Infections

Cats with upper respiratory infections (URIs) may be treated with antibiotics and antivirals to fight the primary infection, as well as relieve secondary symptoms like congestion and snoring. Veterinarians often prescribe oral antibiotics like doxycycline or azithromycin to treat bacterial causes of URI such as Chlamydia or Bordetella. Antibiotics are administered for 7-14 days. Antiviral medications may also be given if the vet suspects a viral origin, such as herpesvirus or calicivirus. These help reduce viral shedding and transmission.

To relieve nasal congestion and open up airways, vets may prescribe corticosteroids like prednisolone to reduce inflammation. Decongestants such as phenylephrine may also be given. Natural remedies like eucalyptus can help clear nasal passages. Ensure fresh water is available to keep mucus membranes hydrated. Steam therapy by placing your cat in the bathroom during a shower can also provide relief for congestion and snoring.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, most cats with uncomplicated URIs can be treated symptomatically at home with medications from your vet. Severe cases may require hospitalization, oxygen therapy, and nebulization medications.

Managing Snoring

There are a few ways to help manage a cat’s snoring if it becomes disruptive or concerning:

First, address any weight issues the cat may have. According to Petplan, overweight and obese cats are more prone to snoring. Help your cat lose weight by exercising more and feeding a portion-controlled, healthy diet.

Also try adjusting your cat’s sleep position. Elevating your cat’s head slightly while sleeping can help open the airway. Use a pillow or wedge to prop up your sleeping cat.

Finally, use a humidifier in the room when your cat sleeps to help moisten and clear nasal passageways if congestion is the cause of snoring. Keep the room around 30-50% humidity.

When Snoring Requires Surgery

In some cases, snoring in cats can become severe enough that surgery is required. This often occurs when there is significant obstruction in the nasal passages or throat that impairs normal breathing. Some common reasons surgery may be necessary include:

Cases of severe obstruction – Cats with very narrow nostril openings or elongated soft palates can develop severe breathing difficulties that disrupt sleep and quality of life. These abnormalities associated with brachycephalic breeds often require surgery to open up the airways and improve breathing capacity. Procedures like stenotic nares correction help enlarge restricted nasal passages.

Polyps, deformities, masses – Snoring accompanied by nasal discharge or bleeding may indicate the presence of polyps, tumors, or other abnormalities in the nasal cavity or throat. Surgery like rhinoscopy with biopsy can remove problematic masses and allow identification of any underlying conditions.

According to https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/brachycephalic-airway-syndrome-in-cats, surgical correction of stenotic nares involves removing a wedge of tissue from the nostrils to improve airflow. The prognosis after surgery is often excellent with most cats experiencing relief from noisy breathing. However, brachycephalic cats may continue to experience some level of snoring and breathing issues throughout life.

Caring for a Snoring Cat

There are some ways cat owners can help care for a snoring cat to ensure their pet remains comfortable and healthy:

Let your cat sleep undisturbed. Avoid waking your snoring cat or interrupting their sleep. They need uninterrupted rest to recover from any upper respiratory infection causing the snoring. Only wake your cat if their snoring seems distressed or they have breathing difficulty.

Avoid irritants and allergens. Keep your home free of smoke, chemical cleaners with strong odors, and other potential respiratory irritants. Use an air purifier and vacuum regularly. This reduces allergens and creates better air quality to alleviate stuffy noses.

Provide a relaxing environment. Set up a quiet, comfortable sleeping area for your cat away from other pets and noise. You can try a heated cat bed to soothe sinus congestion contributing to snoring. Keeping your cat relaxed prevents stressed breathing and snoring.

The Outlook for Snoring Cats

With proper treatment, most cats can recover well from conditions causing snoring and have a good long-term prognosis. Many of the causes like upper respiratory infections or nasal inflammation can be fully resolved with medications prescribed by a veterinarian.

To prevent future issues, it’s important to keep cats up-to-date on vaccines, parasite prevention, and routine vet visits to catch any underlying illness early. Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise can also lower risks. Consider limiting exposure to environmental irritants like dust, cigarette smoke, or scented litter.

Owners can support healthy sleep by ensuring the cat has a comfortable, quiet area to rest undisturbed. This allows for proper sleep cycles and prevents extra pressure on airways from contorted sleeping positions. Avoid overcrowding to reduce stress. Providing affection and playtime during waking hours also promotes restful sleep.

With attentive care and treatment from a veterinarian when needed, most cats with snoring can go on to live a full, healthy life.

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