Opinion: The cat that snored


My wife, Mary Ellen, recently said, “Dick, I know that the snoring is not intentional. But it has some devastating effects on our health and well-being.”

“I’ll call the vet,” I said.

Yes, we have a pet that snores. But it’s not a dog. We have a cat that snores. A cat named Angel.

We have had two dogs over the years that snored. Both Barney and my second beagle, Toby, were snorers. It wasn’t the occasional snort that kept us awake; it was a full-blown, get-out-of-my-way foghorn. Both dogs woke themselves up every night, which made them cranky the next day. Dogs need their 18 hours.

I specifically remember the first onset of Toby’s snoring. Knee surgery had slowed him down a bit, resulting in a modest weight gain, a factor in snoring. I had observed no increase in smoking or alcohol consumption in the hound, another common cause. I Googled pets and snoring. Apparently, there’s a real epidemic of sleep disorders in the canine world: narcolepsy, jet lag, insomnia, night terrors and restless paw syndrome.

But cats?

The first thing I learned was those animals with short, flat faces — like bulldogs, pugs, Pekingese — are more apt to snore. If your human partner has a short, flat face, you just better accept it. Or trade your significant other for a horse.

The site also noted that when pets sleep on their backs, snoring is more apt to occur. The best solution is to roust them out of a deep sleep, then abruptly flip them over on their stomachs. Mary Ellen thought this sounded like a good idea because that method worked temporarily on me several years ago.

But I still snore. Just like the cat.

One pet owner suggested gluing a tennis ball on a leather belt and wrapping it around the cat’s torso, so the bulge on his back would prevent him from rolling over. I tried this with Toby and Barney years ago. Both were pretty adept at twisting themselves into a knot, snatching the ball from the strap, and then dropping it on my head at two in the morning so we could play fetch.

I saw that one woman recommended nasal strips, but sticking one of those on a beagle’s nose is like trying to keep a bandage on a peeled banana. Another idea was giving your pet a nice foam cushioning to prop his head up at night, thus opening the nasal airway. Angel had no interest in this. But both beagles loved the pillows. Every bite of them.

Apparently, there’s not much you can do to stop a cat from snoring. A vet on the site suggested having the cat sleep in the basement, but my wife quickly rejected that solution, but that did give her another thought. Now, she’s calling my doctor to see if he would advise her to do the same thing with me.