And older gray cat sleeping.
And older gray cat sleeping. Photography by Jolanta Beinarovica / Shutterstock.

Is Cat Snoring Normal?

Do cats snore? And if so, why do cats snore? Here are simple guidelines for determining whether that cat snoring is a medical problem — or not.

Do cats snore? And if they do, is cat snoring something to worry about? The short answer is that some cats snore. For many, nothing is wrong. However, some cat snoring can be a sign of trouble.

Why does cat snoring happen?

A calico cat curled up and asleep.
Do cats snore? And if cats do snore, when is cat snoring an issue? Photography ©krblokhin | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Snoring occurs when the passages in the “upper airways” — the nose, back of the mouth (the so-called pharynx), or throat — vibrate audibly during breathing. Vibrations and the resulting snoring are most likely to occur when the tissues of the upper airways are relaxed during sleep.

Persians and other short-nosed, flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds are the usual culprits of cat snoring in the feline world. As humans have bred them to have shorter noses, the tissues in the upper airways have become unnaturally tortuous. When air moves through the convoluted tissues, vibration and snoring are common. In extreme cases, audible breathing noises might even occur while awake. Although snoring while awake is essentially standard in Bulldogs, it’s not as common in cats — and that’s a good thing, because snoring while awake sometimes can be linked to breathing difficulties.

When is cat snoring a sign of a health issue?

In some instances, cat snoring can be a sign of a health problem. The most basic and common health issue that leads to cat snoring is being overweight or obese. Excess body weight leads to fat accumulation in the tissues surrounding the upper airways, which in turn can trigger snoring. This phenomenon is quite common in people as well as cats and dogs.

Cats with upper respiratory infections might develop snoring. The audible breathing occurs due to sinus congestion or mucus buildup in the airways. Viral and bacterial infections are most common, and these usually are self-limiting or curable with medication. However, fungal infections also are possible, and these have the potential to be more serious.

Foreign objects (such as grass blades) in the back of the mouth or nose might trigger snoring as well as coughing, agitation and sinus infections.

More perniciously, masses or tumors in the sinuses or upper airways might cause snoring. Cancers such as lymphoma, fibrosarcoma and adenocarcinoma can be culprits of cat snoring. Benign polyps also occur.

How can you determine whether cat snoring is a problem or not?

An orange tabby cat sleeping with his eyes closed.
When does cat snoring warrant a visit to the vet? Photography ©Ryhor Bruyeu | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

There are some simple guidelines for determining whether cat snoring has a medical problem. Light snoring that occurs during sleep, is not linked to respiratory distress, and that is stable in nature (meaning it doesn’t become more pronounced over time) probably isn’t a problem. Cat snoring that becomes progressively louder or is linked to other symptoms such as sneezing, coughing or changes in appetite is probably as sign of illness. Snoring that occurs in combination with respiratory distress is a medical emergency — respiratory distress is always a medical emergency.

When in doubt, the best option is to have your cat checked by a vet. A course of antibiotics might help speed recovery from a upper respiratory infection. Anesthetic evaluation of the back of the throat might reveal a grass blade that can be removed.

In some cases, snoring that even seems to define a cat’s character can and should be eliminated. Many years ago I had a patient named Wheezer. She was a sweet cat who earned her name through her snoring. When she was anesthetized for dental work, I evaluated the back of her throat and found a large benign polyp. After the polyp was removed, the cat snoring stopped. Despite this development, the owners opted not to change her name.

Plus, wondering why YOU snore? Check out some insight here >>

Thumbnail: Photography by Jolanta Beinarovica / Shutterstock.

This piece was originally published in 2017.

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38 thoughts on “Is Cat Snoring Normal?”

  1. My cat is 16 and has always breathed and purred loud, recently he has been waking me up in my sleep because of snoring. Usually if I say his name he wakes up, goes back to sleep and it stops. Due to his age I’m slightly concerned. I know I need to take him to a vet to find a for sure answer but he’s terrified of car rides and the nearest vet is 20 minutes away. Does this sound like something that could go away possibly on its own? He’s never really gotten sick before.

    1. Sounds like our cat is breathing heavy or snoring while just laying and relaxing, the bet has trouble determining because he purrs so much she can’t hear his breathing.

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  7. My 13 yr old female dsh began softly snoring last year. But I have been concerned about her increasing water intake apx past 9 months. 3 vet visits incl sr wellness exam, antibiotic in Dec 2018 to clear UTI which follow up visit confirmed has not returned, and she still is drinking excessively! I just wondered if the snoring might be related. Also-she began Gabopentin apx 1 year ago for back hip arthritis,and has had many teeth removed over the years for dental problems and regular visits to my same vet says there are no reasons for the increased thirst. Her blood glucose is normal. Should I ask him to check for allergies? I HAVE NOT THOUGHT TO MENTION THE SNORING

    1. Hi Katrina,
      Yes, please check in with your vet. These articles might provide some insight, too:

    2. Another thing to check is kidney disease. Also, check for high blood pressure while you are there at the vets. I learned the hard way that senior cats who drink extra water have the start of ckd especially if other things have been checked. Larger than normal pupils are one indicator of hbp. The two are connected.

  8. Better at least have your furry friend checked by a “good” Veterinarian. Cat snoring can be a sign of asthma which surprisingly (to me) is common in cat. A Radiograph (x ray) can be very helpful
    in determining if asthma is present. And, if you opt for an x ray to check for possible signs of asthma you may discover some other Medical issue not even related to asthma. It could make a huge difference in kitty’s lifespan. Or, at least give you peace of mind that nothing serious is brewing!

  9. Luigi was abt 2 yrs old when he began snoring. Took him to a vet that ran tests etc. supposedly looked at every possibility. $2000 later she said “I don’t know why he snorts.”
    His breathing is snorting. Its with him 24-7 not just when he sleeps. But thru it all he eats, drinks water and plays with his older brother everyday. These days its difficult to find a vet that isn’t thinking ka-ching first instead of the pets wellbeing. I’m still looking for that vet who will fix lil Luigi’s snorting problem so he can finally sleep peacefully with his head in any position he wants!

    We may be going to see Doctor Jeff in Colorado if need be.

  10. Also – record the snoring. I was able to record/video my cat snoring and the vet was easily able to figure it out. Always try to video any symptoms – so helpful to the vet since our cats won’t ever display the symptoms while AT the vets. >^..^<

  11. I lost my snorer last year and I miss her snoring. MeHa was 18 and had snored as longer as I can remember. She could get quite loud more than once my husband has woken me up to turn over only to discover that the snoring didn’t stop when I was awake.

  12. My cat seems to snore very often, even when shes just dosing off partially awake and relaxed. but she is only a common short haired black cat. ive been wondering if there is anything wrong with her, but she seems perfectly fine when shes awake and doesnt make any noise at all. ive been a little concerned because ive never heard a cat snore before, only dogs.

    1. My cat just started doing the same thing . He s 11. He s also on Pred for
      IBD so don’t know if that has something to do with it. I just noticed this last night so have not run this by my Vet yet.

      1. Not sure about cats, but when my dog was on Prednisone, he always has breathing difficulties: panting a lot, breathing hard when not panting, and a little bit of snoring when asleep.

  13. Unfortunately you only covered some of the reasons. I had a cat that snored because of bad teeth. I didn’t see any mention of that being an issue for snoring. Which it can be.

    1. I have a small siamese female (9) that snores super loud. We had to have a lot of teeth removed over the last few years. So I agree with you that dental issues cause snoring but it doesn’t seem to bother her in any other way.

  14. My cat snores, especially when he is deeply asleep. He is a normal weight for his frame and has always snored lightly. I find it cute and relaxing. It’s even cuter when he has a dream and his feet and whiskers twitch a bit. :)

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  16. I have three cats (9 years, 7 years, and 5 years) all of whom on occasion when in deep or REM sleep, do snore or breath heavily. They are all well albeit a pound or two heavier than they should be and see a vet for their annual physical. So, do cats snore? The answer is yes. However, it is good to know their might be an issue.

  17. Margaret Sullivan

    My beautiful Persian Sophie snores when deep sleeping but not all the time. She has a heart murmer but thankfully low grade. She’s the sweetest little girl ever and sleeps in my bed most nights.

  18. I’ve heard cats that snore. What Edmond does is not technically snoring, but much cuter… he moans in his sleep. When I can’t see him it sounds like children talking outside. We call it “Edmond snoring”

  19. how could they possibly change Wheezer’s name, my cats, Rocky and Trixie only respond to their own name, if anyone ever called kitty kitty, they would not pay any attention . They would be very confused if I tried to change their name. Rocky snores and it sounds good.

  20. Aydene Militello

    Sure Cats snore. In point of fact, I enjoy the muffled little sounds that come from my Dakota, fifteen years old, as she lays next to me at night. Cinco, younger, purrs so loud one might think I have an engine in my bed. Those two friends help me sleep through the night.
    Actually, I wonder if I snore/ Hhmmm,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  21. So true about heading your Kitty calmly sleeping besides you! Except, now, my SO is allergic to them :( what to do?!

    1. Hi there — 
      These articles might be helpful:

  22. Good article! Some context for other cat servants: my lord & master Lizzie has been snoring since she was a kitten. I first heard it when she was 2 or 3 months old and it was the tiniest, most adorable sound ever. There’s nothing wrong with her, it’s just how she’s built. She’s 17 now and I can’t fall asleep without hearing the little snore first.
    Get your cat checked if you think there’s a problem or there are other signs of ill health; otherwise, do like me and put the cat’s bed right beside yours. Every night is a good night when there’s a kitty sawing logs beside you.

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