tabby cat sniffing woman's nose

Why is my cat snorting? Here’s 6 reasons why!

If you are a cat owner, you may have a cat who snorts or snores occasionally. In fact, for some cats, and in certain situations, this can be normal. But noisy breathing in the form of a snort or a snore can also be a sign that your cat might need a check-up with your veterinarian, especially if there are other symptoms as well. So, let’s look at the possible answers to the question, why is my cat snorting?

Snorting vs. snoring

Although both a snort and a snore are a form of noisy breathing, the main difference is that a snort is usually more forceful, and often intentional, to dislodge something from the airways or clear some irritation.

What are possible reasons why cats might snort?


Some breeds of cats have short noses or flat faces. This can make them generally noisy breathers but isn’t necessarily cause for concern unless the noise worsens or they seem otherwise unwell. However, discharge from the nose, frequent coughing or sneezing, and loss of appetite would all be signs that you should call your veterinary clinic.


Occasionally, if your cat is trying to bring up a hairball it can sound like they’re snorting as well as gagging and coughing. If the snorting doesn’t settle and no hairball is produced it would be sensible to get them checked over.

Grass blades

Blades of grass, as well as seeds and other foreign objects, can occasionally find their way into your cat’s nasal passages or throat. Sometimes this can cause snorting. If you notice your cat has suddenly started sneezing, snorting, or pawing at their face, or if they suddenly have discharge from their nose, do contact your veterinarian, especially if the nasal discharge is bloody.

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Snorting can be a reaction to irritation of the lining of the nasal passages, known as rhinitis. One of the most common types of rhinitis amongst cats is due to allergies – ‘allergic rhinitis’. These allergies could be to anything, although pollen, dust, cleaning chemicals, and air fresheners are common.


Another type of rhinitis that cats are prone to is infectious rhinitis. Normally this type of rhinitis would be caused by viral infections, although bacterial infections also occur less frequently. If your pet has rhinitis caused by infection, as well as having a discharge from the nose, they may also be off their food and lethargic due to having a fever.

Interaction with other animals

Snorting may also be used as a defensive response when cats are faced with an undesirable situation with other animals or predators. In these scenarios, snorting is similar to a mechanism known as puffing the tail, which is a form of body language used to scare off potential threats.

Conclusion: cats and snorting

There are many reasons why your feline friend might snort, and some are nothing to be concerned about. However, if the snorting is new and persistent, or your cat has other symptoms of being unwell, it is important to see the advice of your veterinarian in case there is an underlying medical reason for the snorting.

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