Is My Cat Making Weird Noises Because They’re Sick?

'Is my cat making weird noises because they’re sick?' along with a picture of sick cat.


It’s always a cause for concern if you notice a change in your animal’s behaviour. It will no doubt leave you worrying “is my cat making weird noises because they’re sick?”.

 Fortunately, you won’t need to rush to the vets every time as – just like us fragile humans – our cats can be just as prone to the occasional cough or wheeze.


  •  What Should I Do if My Cat is Breathing Heavily Through the Nose?

 There are a variety of causes as to why your cat might be making weird noises when breathing. Thankfully, not all of them will warrant a trip to the vets and not all causes of noisy breathing are life-threatening, either.

 Here at Hiputee, we would highly recommend that, if you have any immediate and serious concerns for the health of your pet, you take them off for a trip to the dreaded vets as soon as possible.

On the other hand, let’s look at some of the possible causes for your cat's noisy breathing. Especially if you’re concerned about your cat making weird noises because they’re sick and their immediate symptoms don’t appear life-threatening.


  •  Why is My Cat Making a Gurgling Sound in Their Throat?

 Straight off the bat, we need to let you know how to handle a gurgling sound. If your cat is making weird noises, it could be a gurgling sound or just strange breathing.

 Luckily, a gurgling sound in your cat’s throat will stand out more than a change in breathing or some other symptoms. 

 This particular symptom, as with others, can be harmless. Often times, it won’t need veterinary attention. However, if your cat has recently had surgery, we would advise contacting the vet as soon as possible.

 In rare cases following surgery, your cat's windpipe may be injured due to the way your vet administers the anaesthesia. So, be sure to ask your vet about their method of choice. This way, they can also advise if your cat may need to take a trip back for a check-up.


  •  The Noisy Breathing of Stertor and Stridor in Cats

 Back to understanding a cat’s strange noises in the case of breathing. While there could be more (if your vet takes an analysis), there are two primary variations of noisy breathing in your cat. The first is Stertor and the second is Stridor. Which, funnily enough, sound like good names for the little furballs. 

 Recognising the type of noisy breathing coming from your cat will help to identify the potential difficulties that your feline friend is facing. And, of course, help you find the best ways to comfort your cat.

 So, let’s have a look in a little more detail:

1. Stretor

This is a low-pitched sound almost like the sound of snoring. And, just like with us and our snoring, it’s generally caused by an airway blockage in the throat.

A quick tip from the Hiputee team about blockages in your cat’s throat is to call your vet immediately. They’ll be able to guide you through what to do and if it’s best to bring them in.

In other words, if you’re concerned your cat is breathing heavily through its nose due to a blockage in its airways, seek veterinary assistance! 

2. Stridor

Stridor, on the other side of the cat’s paw, is actually a high-pitched type of noise. 

 It’s often caused by a partial (or complete) blockage of the voice box, nasal passages or issue within the upper part of the windpipe.

 So, for a bit of a break-down difference, Stertor noises stem from a blockage in the throat while Stridor noises stem from a blockage anywhere else in the upper part of the body.


Some of the Common Causes of Changes in Your Cat’s Breathing

Now we have more of an understanding of the variations of strange cat breathing, we can touch on the reasons. And there are a few common causes for strange breathing in a cat out there.

For example, if they’re a brachycephalic kitten under the age of 1. These types of cats characteristically have short-noses and flat-faces with inherited paralysis of the voice box. It’s these particular features that lead to breathing problems, especially when purpose-bred. Some of the more affected breeds include Persians and Himalayans.

If your cat is an affected breed but older than one year, we advise contacting your vet for guidance.

Other causes can be easily treated or may require surgery. These can include things such as:


  • Acquired paralysis of the voice box
  • Anaesthesia or sedation
  • Cardiac problems
  • Feline asthma
  • Fluid build-up or inflammation
  • Infection
  • Laryngitis
  • Lung disease
  • Muscular or nervous system dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Parasites
  • Tumours either benign or malignant

The Symptoms of a Cat Making Weird Noises  Because They’re Sick

 Whether it’s loud breathing or you have a cat making a gurgling sound in their throat that’s worrying you, here are other symptoms that can indicate something’s wrong:

  • Behaviour changes such as restlessness, weakness or intolerance to exercise
  • Extending of the neck or sticking out their elbows while breathing
  • Flaring of the nostrils
  • Loud breathing sounds heard from a distance (and up close, of course)
  • Movement of the belly and chest while breathing
  • Open-mouth breathing
  • Panting or rapid breathing
  • Sneezing or coughing
  • Snoring-type sounds even when awake
  • Squeaking sounds
  • Trouble breathing
  • Voice changes such as an inability to mew
  • Wheezing

The Recovery for a Cat Making Weird Noises Because They’re Sick

While the road to recovery for your feline will vary based on the cause of their noisy breathing, there’s always a few things you can do to help them along: 

     1. Keep the Immediate Area Safe

It may be worth making sure there’s no breakables or risks around your recovering cat. Especially as they may be a bit groggy if they’ve had to be anaesthetised while at the vet.

     2. Keep Their Diet Plain

We suggest avoiding any sudden dietary changes for your recovering cat. Because, after surgery, they can become very fragile and might cause you a lot of clean-ups through their discomfort. In most cases, your vet will be able to advise you on a dietary plan. 

     3. Avoid Unnecessary Stressors

Whether this is young children or other pets, let your poorly feline have some peace and calm while they get back on their paws as quickly as possible. After all, you’d want some too, right? 

When to Call the Vet if Your Cat is Breathing Heavily Through the Nose

When the health and wellbeing of a family pet is at risk, pretty much anytime is a good time to call the vet. In fact, if you’re an avid reader of the Hiputee library, you might already know we love to send everyone off to the vet.

That’s because your vet can carry out general health checks and diagnose things without any signs or symptoms. So, even if you don’t see anything wrong with your furry feline, it’s best to take the trip.  

Then again, we do want to let you know about the definite signs. This way, you’re not taking an unnecessary trip and you’re not potentially stressing your cat for a long time in the car. 

Plus, you may be feeling a little more at ease after reading through the symptoms and causes of why your cat is breathing heavily through the nose. 

Nevertheless, here are some things to look out for that could mean it’s time to take a trip to the local vet:

  • Your cat is collapsing or fainting
  • Your cat is having seizures (big or small)
  • The abnormal breathing or noises persist for longer than two hours
  • Your cat has not eaten, is visibly acting out of character or hiding
  • There is blue or grey colouration in their tongue or gums
  • Your cat is actively struggling to breathe
  • Your cat is coughing
  • Your cat sounds as though it is panting like a dog


You’ll know your cat’s behaviour better than anyone and while breathing noises can be harmless, we would always advise being cautious.

Hopefully, it was just a sniffle or a cough and you’ve spent all this time worrying for nothing. 

Although, if you’re still concerned, the team here at Hiputee will always recommend a visit to the vet to put a worried mind at ease. Plus, of course, a new way to keep them comfy and cosy as they get back to their mewing and healthy selves. 

Whether your cat has been prescribed some bed rest or you just feel the need to treat your poorly feline, we can help out. It’s actually what we do best. With cat beds, cat houses and cat toys to suit all manner of sizes of furry and feline friends, we’ve got something for every pet parent looking to treat their little one. 

Of course, we’re also here to make sure you’re kept informed about everything to do with your family pets (from dogs and cats to anything else with fur). So, don’t forget to have a look at the Hiputee blog for more tips and tricks regarding your pet.

For example, have you ever wondered why your cat has a flabby belly? It turns out, it’s perfectly natural! We can fill you in on all the fun facts about primordial pouches in “Why Does Your Cat Have a Flabby Belly?”.