When you hear your cat snore it typically means there is some kind of obstruction in their airway. It can be due to the position they chose to lay in, or it can be the result of a barrier preventing the easy movement of air through the nose and throat. If it is due to the position of the cat then it is not an issue. However, in some instances it can be caused by medical issues.
Cats with flat faces, called brachycephalic, do have a tendency to have respiratory issues. Persians and Himalayans, for example, may have narrow nostrils or elongated soft palates when compared to breeds without flat faces. This can restrict air movement and produce snoring sounds. Obesity can also cause your cat to snore so be sure to keep the excess weight off.
You will have to visit a veterinarian if your cat’s snoring is a display of breathing trouble. Open mouthed breathing is how a cat gets oxygen when there is some type of obstruction in the nasal or air passageways. This results in a snoring sound you cat may produce while awake as well as during their sleep. Another sign of difficulty breathing is extending the neck and head straight out. Your cat is trying to open up their breathing passageway with this behavior. In both cases it is imperative to visit your veterinarian immediately.
Other indications that your cat may be having breathing issues include sneezing, coughing, runny nose, swelling in the face, and change in the sound of their meow. In all circumstances consult your veterinarian immediately.
Your veterinarian will typically do an X-ray of your cat to try and pinpoint the problem. The doctor will also thoroughly examine the throat and the nose. Depending on the findings your veterinarian will recommend a course of treatment.
Snoring can also be caused by other factors than a flat face. Your cat may have inhaled a foreign body. The lungs, nasal passages and throat could be inflamed or have polyps, cysts or other masses. Your cat could have a fungal or bacterial infection, suffered an injury or have laryngeal paralysis. All can be identified and treated by your veterinarian.
In most cases snoring is not an issue and will not cause any harm to your cat. The best thing you can do in this case is use earplugs when you go to bed at night or confine your cat to another room where you cannot hear the noise.