If your kitty snores when she sleeps, it may mean something is wrong. Then again, it may mean absolutely nothing. If the snoring is a new symptom, Kitty is having difficulty breathing or if she seems otherwise unwell, consult your vet right away.
What is Snoring?
Snoring is the sound produced when the passages in your kitty's upper airways (throat, nose and pharynx) vibrate audibly when she breathes. It typically occurs during sleep because that is when the upper airway tissues are most relaxed, but it is possible to snore at any time. Some breeds, such as Persians, are more prone to snoring because of their short noses. Your cat's snoring is probably innocent if she lightly snores when asleep and if the snoring remains stable over time. If the snoring becomes progressively louder or more frequent, or if coughing, sneezing or any other symptoms are present, it may mean your cat has an underlying medical problem that needs attention.
Snoring and Obesity
Being overweight or obese is the most common cause of snoring in kittens. Being overweight causes fat to accumulate in the tissues that surround your kitty's upper airways, which in turn increases the vibrations that are associated with snoring. Treatment involves losing weight through lifestyle and dietary changes. Your vet may also check for underlying causes of obesity, such as hypothyroidism.
Upper Respiratory Infections and Snoring
Upper respiratory infections, whether minor or serious, can trigger snoring in kittens. The sound occurs in response to mucus buildup, sinus congestion or swelling in the nasal passages. If a virus is to blame, time and home care are generally sufficient to clear the infection and stop the snoring. If a bacteria or fungi is responsible for your kitty's symptoms, she'll need medication to eliminate the infection. If you're unsure of the cause, seek veterinary attention. Also, call your vet if your cat has trouble breathing, seems very unwell or is less than 8 weeks old.
Other Causes of Snoring
Inhaled grass blades or other foreign objects, nasal polyps, tumors of the sinus cavities or upper airways, allergies and numerous other conditions can cause snoring and noisy breathing in kittens. For this reason, it's important to consult your vet if the snoring is a new symptom or if your cat exhibits other symptoms. Never assume the snoring is innocent; only your vet can determine the underlying cause.
Sandra Ketcham has nearly two decades of experience writing and editing for major websites and magazines. Her work appears in numerous web and print publications, including "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," "The Tampa Bay Times," Visit Florida, "USA Today," AOL's Gadling and "Kraze Magazine."