Why Do Cats Make Huffing Noises – Should You Be Concerned?

It is not a secret that cats have prominent personalities. Cats will purr to let you know when they like something and make noises to let you know when they do not. If you hear your cat huffing, you might be curious what they are trying to tell you and if everything is ok. So, why do cats make huffing noises? 

Cats make huffing noises to express irritation or annoyance. Huffing in cats is a sign of aggravation, but may also be related to an exhausted cat. Cats may also huff after playing or if they have an underlying condition. 

While huffing noises are fairly common in cats, it can definitely be concerning if this is your first time experiencing this. In this article, we’ll share some unique information about huffing sounds, what they mean, and what you can do as a pet owner to protect your cat. 

Is It Normal For Cats To Huff

It is normal for your cat to make a huffing noise occasionally. This huffing is usually your cat expressing their emotions. They may be trying to let you know they are frustrated or frightened by something going on. Some cats are also very expressive if another cat has invaded their personal space or are tired of being petted.

Huffing can also be closely related to a cat that’s exhausted, so do keep that in mind. 

Try to evaluate in what circumstances your cat is prone to huffing. Does it correlate with some other factor that is irritating your cat? Often you can tell if your cat is annoyed by other body cues such as a swishing tail, meowing, or flattened ears.

Why Does My Cat Huff And Puff At Me

A cat that is huffing and puffing is engaging in one of the few feline forms of self-expression. They are trying to let their owner know their feelings about something going on in their environment. An isolated huff from your cat is not a reason for concern.

Your cat is usually just huffing and puffing out its frustration about some issue. Sometimes cats will huff if they were looking for you to give them attention, and you failed to do so. Other cats will huff if they are hungry and feel like you are not feeding them quickly enough. 

What Does It Mean When A Cat Snorts At You

A snort from your cat can indicate a few different things. Your cat might make a noise that resembles a snort while they are purring. Usually, in this case, this is a sign that they are feeling very content with their surroundings, and this noise is not intentional.

If your cat snorts at you while they are also growling or hissing, this indicates a high level of irritation. If you witness this kind of behavior from your cat, it is best to give them a wide berth. If they are annoyed or frightened about something, they are likely to be slightly more aggressive at that moment. It is best to give your cat some space until they have calmed back down.

Why Does My Cat Make Huffing Noises When Playing

Your cat makes huffing noises while playing because they are exerting a lot of energy. The concept is similar to humans breathing heavily after running a few miles. When cats are playing, they get their heart rate up with the physical exertion, which often causes them to breathe a little heavier or make a huffing noise. Cats that are overweight are the most susceptible to getting winded.

While this is an average side effect of vigorous playtime, you do want to be careful to watch that your cat does not overexert themselves to the point of actual fatigue during playtime. Cats who get truly overheated are prone to throwing up, so this is something to be avoided.

Why Do Cats Exhale Loudly Through Their Nose

It is most common for cats to be exhaling loudly through their nose while they are asleep. While it is not conventional for cats to snore, it does occasionally happen. Snoring is more common in cat breeds with flatter face features, like Persian cats.

Sometimes your cat might fall asleep in an odd or uncomfortable position that restricts airflow through its nasal passages. This can cause them to sound like they are snoring or loudly exhaling. If your cat starts snoring suddenly and has other breathing issues while they are awake, it could be an indicator of a more serious respiratory issue.

Is It Bad If I Can Hear My Cat Breathing

There may be an underlying issue if you can hear your cat breathing heavily. Some of the signs to look for are coughing shallow breaths, and a noisy breathing sound. Cats that are breathing heavily could be suffering from several ailments, ranging from mild to more serious.

Cats that are struggling to breathe could have food or a foreign object lodged in their throat. Heavy breathing is also often a sign that your cat may be in pain. Do a body scan to see if you can notice any visible cuts, bumps, or bloating.

As a general rule, heavy breathing by itself is not a concerning problem. Monitor your cat for heavy breathing coupled with additional symptoms like coughing or panting. In addition to signs of other respiratory problems, heavy breathing could suggest that your cat is ailing.

How Do You Help A Cat That Is Wheezing

If you hear your cat wheezing, you should schedule an appointment to take your cat to the veterinarian. Wheezing sounds are not a noise a healthy cat should make, which signifies that your cat is experiencing a health problem.

One likely scenario is that your cat has asthma. If your cat is wheezing, look for some of the other accompanying signs of asthma in cats, including rapid breathing, coughing, or vomiting. While asthma in cats is not a curable illness, you can create a treatment plan to keep your cat healthy and feeling happier with help from your vet.

Asthma is not always the case of wheezing in cats. In fact, it can just be from intense play without taking the necessary breaks in between. Of course, we all love playing with our cats, so it’s not out of the ordinary for something like this to happen incidentally.

If your cat is wheezing during play, you should stop immediately. Move your cat to an isolated area, preferably a location where they can relax and catch their breath. Provide a small amount of water and make sure they don’t gulp it down either. 

Final Thoughts

Cats can certainly are fickle creatures, and their moods can change in a minute. Tuning in and listening to their feline sounds is a great way to clue into your cat’s current mood. It is also essential to listen to the noises your cat is making to ensure they are innocuous and don’t indicate a more serious health condition.

So, if to recap, if you hear huffing noises, be sure to not ignore them. Observe your cat for the next several minutes. Is it a huffing sound accompanied by awkward body language? Was your cat recently playing or drinking lots of water? Are they walking slowly as if they are in pain?

Those are the kinds of questions you want to ask. If your cat is huffing and you can connect the dots between what may have caused it (such as finishing an intense play session) then you likely have nothing to worry about. However, if this is your first time hearing your cat do this and it’s way out of character, get them to a vet so you can get answers from a certified professional. 


Welcome to FAQCats! We are a team of cat owners and writers who love to write about everything related to cats. We strive to provide the most accurate and helpful information about cats through extensive research and caring for our own fur-pals!

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