Why Do Cats Sneeze?

2018/08/18

The question may have come to your mind. Although it is completely normal for your cat to sneeze from time to time without being disturbing, frequent sneezing can catch your eye. In humans, sneezing is a normal response to irritation of the nasal passages. The body clears the irritant through the nose. If your cat does not stop sneezing, or if you notice other symptoms such as a runny nose or cough, make an appointment with your veterinarian for treatment.

Symptoms of sneezing

Sneezing is a strong expulsion of air through the mouth and nose. It is possible that this expulsion is accompanied by secretions. They can be clear, tinged with blood or even yellow or green in case of infection. Sneezing is often the only symptom your cat presents, but sometimes it's accompanied by other signs that can help your veterinarian find the cause. Excessive nasal or ocular discharge, coughing, wheezing, decreased appetite, and fatigue are all possible symptoms in a sneezing cat.

The most common cause of persistent sneezing in cats is an upper respiratory tract infection, usually caused by viral infections such as feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. These two viruses are contagious for cats but fortunately are not for humans. Stress often aggravates signs of infection or increases transmission between cats. As with the flu and colds in humans, the treatment aims to control the symptoms while your cat is fighting the infection. Viral infections can sometimes lead to bacterial superinfections that can be treated with antibiotics. Fungal infections of the nose can also occur in cats, but they are more rare.

Unlike humans, allergies rarely result in sneezing in cats, but they can sneeze if they inhale an irritant. Tobacco smoke, dusty cat litter, perfume, household sprays, mildew, dust, pollen and even candles are potential irritants. Pay attention to when your cat sneezes to identify the cause: for example, is it while cleaning? Or just after changing the litter?

The rarer causes of a persistent sneeze may include dental root infections that affect the cat's sinuses, inhaled foreign bodies, such as blades of grass, or tumors in the nasal passages.

The right things to do

Make sure your cat is regularly vaccinated against Feline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus to prevent these viral infections.

If your cat sneezes occasionally and has no health problems, watch for a few days and look for a recurring pattern in his sneezing. If sneezing becomes more persistent, if your cat sneezes blood or has other symptoms such as excessive runny nose, runny eyes, tiredness, coughing, difficulty breathing or refusing to eat, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Most causes can be easily treated and your cat will be quickly recovered.