Is Cat Snoring Normal?

Although cat snoring is not common, some owners discover their pets can be just noisy as people while they sleep. Felines are notorious for their abilities to nap long hours in a variety of conditions. While these cat sleeping characteristics may seem fairly consistent, snoring is often unexpected. Cat owners may wonder if this activity is normal, or an indication of something serious. In many instances, snoring is an uncommon but relatively harmless cat behavior. However, snoring can sometimes indicate health problems requiring medical attention. Here are some guidelines to help identify the differences between a quirky cat sleeping trait and an underlying problem.

When Cat Snoring Is Normal

Like humans, cats experience different levels of sleep. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep your cat's brain activity levels are higher. Twitching paws and whiskers or sudden eyelid movement often occur at this stage. When your pet is in non-REM sleep she is in a state of deep relaxation, and is more likely to snore. This is a similar pattern among humans. Certain physical characteristics can make your cat more susceptible to snoring. Overweight cats and breeds with flat faces and short noses are more likely to snore during a cat nap. Such breed-related snoring is often a sign of Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome, a harmless condition affecting mainly Persian, Himalayan and exotic short-haired cats.

When Snoring Is Cause for Concern

In some cases, snoring is more than just a sign of your cat's deep relaxation, it's a sign of illness or other physical problems. Snoring along with nasal discharge, sneezing or sores may indicate congestion due to an upper respiratory infection. Loud snoring coinciding with noisy breathing and coughing while your cat is awake could be signs of a polyp or tumor growing in your pet's nasal passages. Another potential source of your cat's snoring is an allergy to inhalants, food, bacteria or parasites. This condition can trigger a response in her autoimmune system, resulting in constricted nasal passages.

For many cat owners, the initial sound of their pet snoring can be strange and somewhat surprising. While this type of sleep behavior is not widespread among cats, it is generally considered a harmless activity. In some cases, particularly overweight and short-nosed, flat-faced breeds, snoring may become a long-term sleeping behavior. However, if your cat's snoring is accompanied by other unusual physical or behavioral changes, a visit to the vet may be in order.