Cat Snoring-- Causes and Remedies
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March 16, 2010

By Rory McClenaghan,  Contributing Columnist

There are few things more annoying than being woken up
by a snoring husband or wife. But they may not be the
culprit, it could be your cat producing that loud wheezing
sound as they sleep. As we all know, cats love to sleep so
this could become a constant musical accompaniment to
owners' lives. But on a serious note, it may not be great
news for the cats either, as snoring can often be a sign of
health problems.

Snoring in cats may be a more common phenomenon than
you think. A study into human sleeping problems by the
Mayo Clinic in 2001 found that pets often had a role to
play when their owners were having trouble nodding off.
In terms of cats, the study found that as many as 7% of
cats who slept in the same room as their owners were
guilty of snoring.

What makes cats snore?

Being overweight – just like in human beings, weight
issues can cause breathing problems in cats. As Indiana
vet Richard L Headley explains: "As the tissue in your
pet's throat becomes thicker, he may start snoring."

A large soft palate – snoring is often caused when the
tissue at the back of a cat's mouth obstructs the airways.
This tissue is called the soft palate. Breeds with larger
soft palates are more susceptible to snoring according to
Kenneth Drobatz, of the University of Pennsylvania
School of Veterinary Medicine.

Nostril size – flat-faced and short-nosed breeds of cats
like Siberian, British short hair and Persian are prime
candidates for Brachycephalic Airway Syndrome. This is
basically an obstruction of the airways, which are already
very small because of the cat's natural head shape. As
evidenced by CE Harvey's 2008 study, Inherited and
congenital airway conditions.

Polyps – these are build-ups of material or growths in the
nose and throat which can again block the air
passageways causing snoring. They can also be a sign of
nasopharyngeal disease, as shown by a study in the
Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association,
published in 1999.

Allergies – just like us, cats can be allergic to a whole
range of things in the environment around them and as in
humans, this can cause breathing difficulties and lead to

How can you stop it?

Sleeping position – just like a snoring wife or husband,
sometimes the problem can simply be caused by an
awkward sleeping position. A slight readjustment from
you should give both owner and pet a good night's sleep.

Exercise – if your cat is overweight, a little exercise will
help. Dr Headley recommends at least two spells of 15
minute exercise per day.

Diet – again a change to a more healthy diet will help
your cat to lose weight which may be the cause of the
snoring problem. The UK-based animal charity, PDSA
recommends using a complete commercial cat food and a
constant supply of fresh water. Know your cat's target
weight. Cats of different species have different target
weights.  Your tabby may be able to carry more weight
than a siamese or persian before she starts snoring.

Avoid allergies – work with your vet to try and isolate
what it is that your cat is allergic to and then either
remove the offending substance from your home or keep
it out of your pet's way.

Change the bed – Harrisburg, Pensylvania vet Annette
Carricatto advises a change in bed to help your cat,
possibly to something longer: "Allowing him to sleep
stretched out may reduce his breathing difficulty,” she

Surgery – snoring is rarely a serious problem but if the
snore gets closer to gasping and seems to be getting
worse over time, talk to your vet, who may advise a
simple surgical procedure to remove a blockage. As Dr
Headley says: “Some pets may literally turn blue because
they're not getting enough air.” It really is not worth
taking the risk...

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