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Is My Cat's Snoring Normal?

Posted by Dr. Roth on September 16, 2021

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Since cats spend most of their time sleeping, one common Google search from pet parents is "Is my cat's snoring normal?" It’s not uncommon for them to snore, but it could be a sign of a health issue. As a pet parent, it’s important to know when snoring can be a sign of a health problem.

‌Causes for Cat Snoring

When loose tissue in the upper airways vibrates, it creates the rumbling sound that we associate with snoring. Snoring usually happens when the cat is asleep because that’s when the airway is most relaxed. Most of the time cat snoring is caused by the position they’re sleeping in, but it could be a sign of a breathing problem. Health conditions that can cause a cat to snore include:

  • Obesity ⁠— When a cat is overweight, the upper airways can develop excess fat deposits, causing snoring.‌

  • Genetics ⁠— Cats that have been bred to have flat faces often snore because their nasal passage has been shortened. These breeds, known as brachycephalic breeds, include Persians, Burmese, and Himalayans.

  • Foreign Object ⁠—  Sometimes cats get things stuck up their nose.

  • Trauma ⁠—  An injury to the nasal passage can cause snoring. The snoring can be temporary until the injury heals. However, if the injury doesn’t heal correctly, the snoring can persist.

Diseases

Cats are susceptible to several diseases that impact the upper respiratory tract and can cause snoring. These diseases include:

  • Feline Calicivirus ⁠— Snoring is a mild symptom of this disease. In severe cases, the cat can have a permanent head tilt.

  • Feline Herpes Virus -- Snoring can occur, or become more pronounced, during flare-ups.

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis -- This disease can cause swelling in the nasal cavity, which will cause snoring.

  • Feline Leukemia -- This deadly disease attacks a cat’s immune system. Upper respiratory infections are common with this disease.

There are vaccines available for most of these diseases, and none of them can spread from cats to people. Don’t worry ⁠— pet parents can’t get herpes from their cat.

Treatments for Cat Breathing Problems

Pet parents should take their cat to the vet any time they’re worried about their cat’s health. In most cases, diagnosing the cause of snoring is easy. However, treatment usually requires a vet. Obesity is common for indoor cats because, in many cases, they don’t get a lot of exercise. As a their snoring can become louder and more frequent. It is important to put obese cats on a low-calorie diet and provide plenty of opportunities for them to exercise. As they lose weight, their snoring should go down. Snoring in a brachycephalic cat can be a symptom of a more serious condition called “brachycephalic airway syndrome”. Severe cases of this syndrome make it very difficult for the cat to breathe. A vet can diagnose this condition, but surgery is required to fix the cat’s airways. Foreign objects should be removed by a vet. Pet parents should not try to remove things from their cat’s nose on their own, because they can damage the cat’s airway. If a cat is injured around the face or neck, they need to be taken to the vet so that any possible damage to the airways can be treated.

‌Cat Snoring Prevention

Most common upper respiratory infections in cats can be prevented very early in life with a vaccine. Cat vaccines are vital for preventing cat breathing problems due to viruses. Pet parents can vaccinate their kitten at 6-8 weeks of age. These vaccines only work as a preventative measure, so vaccination won’t cure the cat if they contract the disease.  Preventing feline obesity can easily be done by providing the cat a good diet at a young age. Other ways to prevent feline obesity include:

  • Providing feline climbing structures, such as perches and towers.

  • Puting their food in a feeding puzzle.

  • Having playtime with toys that encourage them to run, such as laser pointers.

It can be very difficult for cats to lose weight. Many cats are not receptive to changes in their and lifestyle. Early prevention is key to preventing feline obesity.

Fuzzy is Here to Help‌

Want to learn more about causes and treatments for your cat’s snoring? Fuzzy vets are highly qualified professionals and can answer your feline health questions. Fuzzy members can always contact a Fuzzy online vet via in-app to ask questions about their cat’s health.

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