Should I be concerned that my cat sometimes snores?

Original Question: My cat Charlie sometimes snores. Should I be worried? - Brigitte

Should I be concerned that my cat sometimes snores? Jul 12, 2018

Hi Brigitte,

Thanks for your question.

Snoring in ourselves and our pets is caused by air passing through the respiratory tract and causing the relaxed tissues at the back of the oral cavity and at the top of the trachea (or windpipe) to vibrate together. This creates the snoring noise.

If it is a new condition, it may be occurring because the tissues are not only relaxed, but they could be enlarged from inflammation. It may indicate that a disease process has developed recently. If this were the case, you would expect to see other clinical symptoms when your cat is awake, such as coughing, sneezing, shortness of breath nasal discharge, lethargy or general malaise. If you are seeing other symptoms such as these, I would recommend that you visit your veterinarian for a consultation, examination and any recommended testing. If the condition has started recently, I would recommend you do this regardless of whether there are other symptoms or not.

Aside from a disease, snoring in and of itself is not a great concern. If there are any episodes of gasping for air and waking in an alarmed state, the tissues along the airway may need to be surgically cut back but I have never seen this to be a problem. You may find that the snoring reduces with a different head position during sleep. You could try offering a cat bed to sleep on which may cause a different head position and resolve the issue. Otherwise, snoring is not a concern. My wife tells me I snore terribly and I’ve managed to make it 44 years. It should be fine.

I hope this helps,

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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