Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

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My cat is sneezing, what do I do? Do cats get colds like us? Why do cats sneeze? My cat keeps sneezing, should I start to worry?–These are some of the common concerns being asked by most pet owners. We couldn’t really blame them. 

After all, cats are notoriously good at hiding their illnesses until it becomes severe. 

Much like humans and other animals, the occasional sneezing or coughing may just be a part of a normal process to clear the nose and throat. It’s likely something small like a simple nose tickle, cigarette smoke, fur in the throat, or floating dust in the air.

 However, if a cat sneezing a lot more frequently than usual, this is certainly not normal and maybe a sign to take your cat to the vet.

Here’s what you need to know about feline sneezing–from causes to pet care and how to help.

Reasons Why Cats Sneeze

There are various reasons why your cat sneezes. The following is a list of common causes of cats’ sneezing:

Irritants

Apparently, benign inhaled irritants can trigger a cat’s sneezing. It may just be something in the air irritating the nasal passages of your feline friend.

In this case, you have to pay attention to when your cat is sneezing: Did your cat start to sneeze after you changed his litter box with a scented brand? Is he sneezing after checking out what you’re doing in the kitchen? Have you just cleaned the house, and the dust has yet to settle?

Maybe you just sprayed an air freshener to musk pet smells? If you suspect the scented cat litter is the cause of your cat’s sneezing, try switching to an unscented brand.

Looking for patterns can help you determine if your cat is sneezing because of an irritant found in his environment.

Foreign Materials

Blades of grass, pollen, or foxtails are some of the examples of foreign materials that could cause irritation to the nasal passages.

If sneezing doesn’t expel this foreign debris, do not attempt to remove the object yourself. Take your cat to the vet immediately and have a professional do the job.

These situations can be diagnosed with either a nasal flush–sterile saline forced through the nasal cavity to remove the foreign matter–or rhinoscopy, a camera will be inserted into the cat’s nose while under anesthesia.

Cat Sneezing Could Be Due To Upper Respiratory Infections

Viruses

The most common reason that can cause sneezing in cats is viral respiratory infections, typically caused by feline calicivirus and the most prevalent infection, feline herpes virus.

Herpes virus, for example, is spread from cat to cat and can cause primarily upper respiratory signs including sneezing, nasal discharge, and eye discharge. A feline with herpes may also develop into a secondary bacterial infection–but this can often be treated by antibiotics.

Other viruses include rabies, ringworm, and toxoplasmosis. Not all of these viruses are transferable to humans, except for toxoplasmosis–these are quite serious and can be acquired by humans.

Infections

It’s rare for a cat’s allergies to manifest as sneezing. Usually, cat sneezing is a common symptom of upper respiratory infections (URIs). Although less common, an upper respiratory infection–often referred to as the “cat flu”, or the “common cold”–can be viral, bacterial, or even fungal.

There are a wide variety of infections that could also be the root cause of sneezing in cats such as Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), Feline Leukemia (FeLeuk), Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Fungal Infections caused by Cryptococcus fungus, and Bordetella.

Your vet can diagnose these infections and plan a course of treatment for your cat.

Dental Disease

If you notice that your feline friend has difficulty eating or chewing, he might be suffering from dental disease. The two most common symptoms of feline cat dental disease are nasal discharge and sneezing.

Infections of the feline tooth can allow bacteria from the mouth to travel to the sinus cavities–resulting in inflammation and sneezing. A vet visit is a must to examine your cat’s nose and mouth and correctly treat the underlying medical condition.

Various Foreign Substances Can Cause Cats to Sneeze

Respiratory Illnesses

If your cat is experiencing more than the causes above like a loss of appetite, other medical concerns may arise. There are three main respiratory issues that often cause cat sneezing [1].

These include Upper Respiratory Infections, Nasal and Sinus Issues or Rhinitis and Sinusitis, and the most severe respiratory illness, Chronic Upper Respiratory Conditions–which can permanently damage a cat’s nasal passages and his immune system–and can cause frequent sneezing.

Is Cat Sneezing A Serious Concern?

It depends on whether the causes of sneezing in cats are environmental or a disease. It’s environmental when cats inhale irritants from the environment –like dust, pollen, or mold–and triggered their sneeze reflexes.

In this respect, a cat sneezing is usually not serious and not a cause for concern–especially if observed in an isolated episode. Although allergies are inflammatory, sneezing from allergies is also infrequent as to nonexistent in domestic cats.

More often, however, a sneezing cat can be caused by one or more disease processes. Usually, a viral infection is an initial condition, with ensuing inflammation and bacterial infection can result in damage to the structure inside the nose, perpetuating the problem.

In addition, age has a significant role in your cat’s sneezing condition. If adult cats are only sneezing on occasion with either very mild symptoms or no other symptoms, you may be able to wait a day or two and simply monitor them for any changes.

Kittens with young age and senior cats, on the other hand, should always be checked by their family vet when suffering from these types of symptoms.

Different Causes of Sneezing for Cats

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Constant Sneezing A Sign To Take It To A Vet?

Yes, constant sneezing is a sign to take your cat to a vet especially if you’ve noticed a nasal discharge, along with losing weight and loss of appetite, these may be something to worry about.

Sneezing accompanied by other symptoms could be a sign that your pet–whether it’s an adult cat or a kitten–is suffering from an upper respiratory infection or other underlying health conditions that may require veterinary care.

How To Treat A Sneezing Cat?

The treatment for a sneezing cat will depend on what causes him to sneeze. If your pet has more than a mild case, you should seek treatment from the vet.

Most often, the vet may recommend taking steps to simply help your furry friend be more comfortable–like using a humidifier.

Other possible treatments include eye and/or nose drops, antibiotics or antiviral medications, rhinoscopy, steroids, x-rays or advanced imaging of nose, chest, and pharynx, blood and urine tests, as well as small biopsies for the nose.

Do Cat Colds Go Away On Their Own?

Yes, cat colds will go away on their own. In most cases, a cat cold is harmless and usually resolves on its own within 1-2 weeks. However, you still need to monitor your cat’s health, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should take your cat to the vet–to diagnose and plan a course of treatment for your pet.

What Home Remedy Can I Give My Cat for Sneezing?

The best home remedy you can give to your cat for his sneezing is to take action to prevent the irritation causing his sneeze. In this case, you should:

  • Check out your cat’s litter box or change to a low-dust cat litter
  • Make sure they’re up-to-date on their vaccinations
  • Be aware of the scents you use in your house
  • Be careful when cleaning your home. Chemicals and any fruity scents may cause discomfort to your cat.

Conclusion

Indeed, prevention is always better than treatment. By taking a few extra steps like taking your cat for regular checkups, you might be able to avoid his lifetime of sneezing and help keep him in a tip-top shape.

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