Feline Sneezing: What Causes Cat Sneezing?

Are you worried about your cat sneezing? Are you thinking about when to take your cat to a vet? Are you eager to know about the causes, symptoms, remedy, test, and medication for feline sneezing? Bang on! You are at the right place. In this article, we have listed various reasons why cats sneeze. We have also listed about what to be done if your dear cat has started sneezing a lot. Continue reading to learn everything about feline sneezing in detail.

Why is my cat sneezing?

Cats do sneeze like humans and if it is occasional then it is completely normal. But if the sneezing is more than usual, continuous and frequent then do not delay – take your cat for a checkup.

Feline’s sneeze for various reasons –

  • Sneezing can be a sign of health problems, but most of the time it is nothing to worry about.

Why do cats sneeze occasionally?

Like we humans, cats sneezing is an explosive release of air through the mouth and nose.

  • If there is any irritation inside the nasal passage, then sneezing is the way in which the body responds to the irritants.
  • Cats also sneeze when they are in excitement.
  • Some cats like Persian breed cats naturally sneeze more when compared to others; because this cat breed has a flat face and their nasal passage is small.
  • Cats also sneeze when there is inflammation in cats nose.

If sneezing is continuous and if you observe blood and watery eye while sneezing, and several other symptoms then check with your vet if treatment is required.

Common causes for sneezing in cats / stuffy nose:

There are various reasons that cause sneezing in cats. Some of the common causes includes:

  • Allergies
  • Tumors inside nasal passage
  • Fungal infection
  • Parasites
  • Dental abscess
  • Bacterial infection and
  • Viral infection

Viral infections are caused by the feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus.

Feline herpes virus: Herpes is contagious. (Please note: it is not contagious to humans)

Feline calicivirus: This is also contagious. This virus affects the respiratory tract. It can cause mouth ulcer and pneumonia.

Other types of infection which may lead to sneezing are listed below:

  • Feline infectious peritonitis
  • Chlamydia: this infection often produces an eye infection (conjunctivitis)
  • Bordetella
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV): FIV is developed slowly, but it severely affects cat’s immune system and hence cats are more vulnerable to other infections
  • Feline leukemia: this infection is serious and fatal.
  • Mycoplasma

Things to observe/note when a feline is sneezing:

When you observe that your cat is sneezing, consider below mentioned points before you rush to a vet; because there are various other reasons for a cat to sneeze.

  1. Observe if your cat is sneezing more often.
  2. If your cats’ sneeze is more frequent and continuously when compared to other days, then he/she must be in trouble. Visit a vet as soon as possible before things get worst.
  3. Some cats like Persian breed cats naturally sneeze more when compared to other breeds; because this cat breed has a flat face and their nasal passage is small.

When is your cat sneezing?

Cats generally sneeze if there is any irritation inside the nasal passage which may be caused while sniffing around. This occasional sneezing accompanied by excessive shaking of the head and pawing at the nose with no other symptoms is the way in which the body responds to the irritants present inside the nasal passage.

When you observe that your cat is sneezing and if you feel that something (environmental irritants) is bothering him / her, then remove it and see if there is any improvement.

Foreign bodies which cause irritation in their nasal passages are:

  • Cat litter deodorizer
  • Dust
  • Powdery fine cat litter
  • Air freshener
  • Cleaning products which you may be used in household
  • Smoke from cigarette
  • Perfumes or deo
  • Pieces of pollens
  • Pebbles
  • Seeds
  • Grass
  • See if he/she have any other symptoms apart from sneezing?

If your cat is sneezing because of irritation inside the nasal cavity caused by sniffing, then you need not worry. But if you observe any other symptoms, then rush to the nearby vet before things get worst.

Why DO Cats Sneeze

Other then environmental irritants, your cat may be sneezing because of the reasons mentioned below.

  • Allergy: Cats can develop an allergy to certain things in the environment. It’s better to figure out the reason behind it so that you can eliminate it.

If your cat is sneezing because of allergy, then sneezing will be accompanied by other skin problems and your cat can be seen scratching; frequent rubbing and scratching will lead to hair loss.

  • Upper respiratory tract infection (URI) or cat flu:
    If your cat is down with flu and is suffering from upper respiratory tract infection (URI) then you can see your cat sneezing.

    Fever will be accompanied by thick nasal discharge, stuffy nose, discharge from eyes, loss of appetite and sores in the mouth. Stuffy nose is caused by calicivirus and herpes virus.

    Don’t wait; consult a vet because secondary infections need antibiotics to cure.
  • Dental problem:
    Feline sneezes if there is an infection inside the nose which is caused by dental issues like mouth infection etc.
    Examine if your cat’s mouth is reddish in color or if you can see ulcer inside his / her mouth.
    In such a condition, your cat will reduce eating and drinking.
  • Intranasal vaccination:
    Intranasal shots which are given to prevent or fight against respiratory infections can cause sneezing in cats. It lasts for a few days and goes away on its own. This type of sneezing does not require any treatment.
  • Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and cat leukemia:
    Feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and cat leukemia can weaken the immune system of your cat and as a result, your cat can catch infections easily.

Cats suffering from feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and leukemia are prone to sinus and respiratory tract infection.

Symptoms of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV):

Some of the symptoms of feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are enumerated below:

  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Poor appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Diarrhea
  • Sneezing
  • Discharge from eyes and nose

Symptoms of leukemia

Some of the symptoms / signs of leukemia (FeLV) are enumerated below:

  • Upper respiratory infection (URI)
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Pale gums
  • Mouth will be yellowish

To prevent your cat from serious infections, do not forget to give leukemia virus (FeLV) vaccination and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) vaccination.

What are the remedies to be taken if a cat is sneezing (if the cat is suffering from cold)?

Cat sneezing can lead to a stuffy nose. Mucus filled nose can be very irritating. Identify the main cause for your cat’s stuffy nose, so that you can treat it with medication or vaccination.

If your cat is suffering from a stuffy nose, then make sure to follow below mentioned points to ease their suffering.

  • Use a soft towel or a tissue to wipe the stuffy nose and eyes of your cat in order to keep it clean. Be gentle while you are cleaning.
  • Ensure your cat is drinking plenty of water.
  • Offer warm food and make sure your cat is eating.
  • If required give steam therapy to your cat. It helps to drain out the mucus from nostrils and makes it easier for them to breathe when their nose is stuffy. ( For steam therapy you can use vaporizer that produces warm moist air or you can place your cat in a steamy bathroom ).
  • Do not give any medicine without consulting your vet.

When to consult a vet if a cat is sneezing?

If you feel that your cat is suffering from any of these symptoms mentioned below, then take him/her to vet immediately.

  • Infection
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • If he/she is sneezing blood
  • If the discharge coming from nostrils is yellow or green in color.
  • If pus-like discharge comes out of the nasal passage.
  • Drooling
  • Wheezing
  • Squinting of eyes
  • Bloody discharge from nostrils
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling around the nose
  • Noisy breathing
  • Lethargy
  • Redness of the eyes
  • Ulcer inside the mouth
  • Dehydration

Sneezing with stuffy nose along with above mentioned symptoms has to be treated with antibiotics and antifungal medication.

Treatment for sneezing (cold in cats):

Treatment for sneezing depends upon the root cause of it.

  • If the reason for sneezing is not serious then keeping your cat indoors and using humidifier will help.
  • If the reason is serious, then he/she should be treated with antibiotics, nasal decongestants, steroids, and fluids to avoid dehydration.
  • If your cat doesn’t respond to medical therapy then surgery may be required. (This scenario is very rare.)

How to prevent infections in a cat?

Consult your vet when you get a new cat/ kitten home and make sure your dear cat gets an initial series of injections.

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