Sneezing in cats is a normal bodily function to expel irritants from the nose. A lot of other animals sneezing, including dogs, elephants, even chickens.
If your cat is sneezing on occasions and is behaving normally as it does, there’s probably nothing to worry about.
However, if the sneezing is more than usual and persistent, and you have noticed some other symptoms like mucus discharge, fatigue, loss of appetite, there might be an underlying disease.
Here are all the things you need to know about cat sneezing- what causes them- when to worry and when to see a vet.
- When to take a sneezing cat to the vet?
- Treatments for cat sneezing
- Why is my cat sneezing?
- Precautions to prevent cats from sneezing
- Final Thoughts
When to take a sneezing cat to the vet?
Here are the symptoms that raise concern and need proper diagnosis and medication.
- You need to head to the vet if:
- Your cat is not eating anything. Loss of appetite is the most common symptom of upper respiratory infection, which causes difficulty in swallowing and loss of smell and taste.
- You have noticed yellow or pus or bloody discharge from the nose or mouth.
- Your cat is losing weight rapidly.
- She/he is facing difficulty in breathing. Snoring, wheezing, and breathing from the mouth instead of the nose indicate an infection or chronic disease.
- Symptoms are worsening with each day.
If a cat feels sick, it stops eating very often, which is concerning. Unlike the human body that can go several weeks without eating anything, a cat starts to starve after only 2 to 3 days. It can result in a serious fatal disease known as fatty liver.
In such cases, IV fluids and additional nutrient support are necessary for immediate treatment. Your vet might also refer to some antibiotics, appetite stimulants, and medicines for nausea and vomiting.
Treatments for cat sneezing
Depending on what the vet has found out behind your cat’s sneezing will determine the further treatment procedure. We need more research to know more about the infections that cause cats to sneeze, but the right doses of antibiotics have shown good results in controlling nasal infections in cats.
- Possible treatments for sneezing cats are:
- Eye and nasal drops
- Antibiotics and antiviral medicines for treating viral infections
- Nasal lavage
- Humidifiers or nebulizers
- Surgery (rare)
Home remedy for cat sneezing
We do not recommend over-the-counter medicines and home remedies without consulting a doctor.
- There are a few things that are safe to provide some comfort to your kitty:
- Give your cat a steam bath: Put your cat inside the bathroom and run the hot shower. The steam will help open up your cat's nose providing immediate relief.
- Get a humidifier: You can get a small humidifier for your cat and place it in a small room.
- Feed ½ tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to eliminate bacterial infection. Mix it with tuna or beef broth to reduce the bitterness.
- Daily 500mg of Vitamin C is recommended for cats to boost immunity. When sick, you can give 1000 mg twice a day.
Why is my cat sneezing?
Cat sneezing can be caused by a number of reasons. But coughing, wheezing, hiccupping, and gagging are often confused with sneezing. It might be possible that your cat is having a reaction to the smell of the cleaning products or the perfume you use. It might also be the dust from the litter box. So, it’s best to record a video of the incident before heading to the vet.
- Mild cat sneezing may be because of the following reasons:
- A simple nose tickle
- A foreign particle such as hair or grass
- Chemical smell
- Dust and airborne particles
- Viral, bacterial, or fungal infection
There is no need to worry about the occasional sneezing. It might be a simple nose tickle caused by dust, hair, grass, etc. If the sneezing is more than occasional, look for patterns. Does it happen during a certain time of the day? Does it occur inside a certain room?
If you are sure your cat is sneezing abnormally and you have noticed a discharge from the nose and eyes, loss of energy, there might be a cause of concern. Sneezing, along with other symptoms, may indicate an infection in the upper respiratory or an underlying disease that needs medical treatment.
- 7 Possible reasons behind critical cat sneezing:
- Upper respiratory infections (URIs)
It is like the common cold in cats, and sneezing is the most common symptom of an upper respiratory infection. Often known as cat-flu, the symptoms of URIs include recurring sneezing and clear nasal discharge. A viral respiratory infection can also show unusual tearing from the nose or eyes, cough, lethargy, and fever in severe cases. These types of infections usually last for 7 to 21 days.
Elderly cats, unvaccinated cats, and cats with a suppressed immune response are more susceptible to URIs. Since the viral infection is highly contagious, cats kept in groups such as shelters are also vulnerable to the infection.
- Chronic upper respiratory illness
Chronic respiratory infections in cats are similar to URIs, but the symptoms persist for several weeks or months. You may also notice sneezing fits, loss of appetite, difficulty in swallowing, etc.
Chronic rhinitis can cause permanent damage to the nasal passages and the immune responses of the cat. Since it weakens the immune system, it can lead to frequent bacterial infection, worsening the condition. Your cat needs immediate assistance now.
- Feline Herpes
It's a viral infection in cats that is very contagious. The virus mainly spreads through contact with an infected cat's discharge from the nose, mouth, or eyes. Apart from frequent sneezing, the symptoms of feline herpes include runny nose, ulcers in the eyes, drooling, and loss of appetite.
- Nasal and sinus issues
Rhinitis and sinusitis both are common in cats. These are inflammatory conditions that are complications of URIs or cat flu. They cause inflammation of the mucous membrane inside the nose and in the lining of the sinuses.
Apart from frequent sneezing, you may notice clear, yellow, or bloody ( in serious cases) nasal discharge, snoring or breathing through their mouth, and frequent pawing at the face.
- Dental diseases
Feline teeth roots sit next to their nasal passage. It means if they have infected teeth or inflammation in the area, it can irritate their nose. If your cat shows abnormal sneezing, there might be a chance of dental infection.
Allergies causing sneezing are highly unlikely in cats. However, allergies in some cats may cause itchy and watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, and wheezing. These are more common in cats with asthma. These allergic symptoms may occur seasonally and are usually triggered by pollens, dust, and mold.
Like any other reason, tumors can also be the cause of your cat sneezing. Tumors are more common in elderly cats, and if they sneeze a lot, they might have a tumor in the nasal passage causing inflation and irritation.
If your cat is sneezing because of one of these reasons, the symptoms will be evident. If the cat is sneezing on occasions with no other symptoms or very mild symptoms, you may wait a day or two and keep a close eye on your cat for other symptoms. Nevertheless, small kittens should always be taken to the vet if any of the symptoms occur.
Precautions to prevent cats from sneezing
Prevention is always better than cure. If the sneezing is not severe, you can take preventive measurements to help your furry friend.
If your cat is sneezing, don’t panic. It might not be the cause you are thinking of. Look for the above symptoms. If you are not sure what’s wrong with your cat, see a vet. If your cat has not eaten anything for more than 2 days, your friend needs immediate medical assistance.
Don’t go for any over-the-counter medicines without suggesting a vet. It might worsen the conditions. Remember, prevention is always better than treatment.