Why Is My Cat Sneezing?
If you’ve wondered why cats sneeze and have noticed your own cat sneezing, in most cases, there’s no reason to be worried. It’s perfectly normal behavior. Cats, just like humans, will occasionally sneeze from time to time and they’ll do it for the same reasons that we do, whether that’s in response to a tickling sensation inside their nose or to dispel an irritant.
While the occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about, if you notice your cat doing it regularly or if it seems to be accompanied by other symptoms, it may be worth seeking veterinary advice.
Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing?
Infections are commonly associated with sneezing. Though most common infections are easily diagnosed by vets, there may be rare cases where your vet is required to take a swab from the mouth, throat, eyes or nose of your cat. The swab will then be sent to a lab where professionals will be able to accurately diagnose any kind of infection. Make sure you have cat health insurance in place to help keep your vet bills cheap.
Infections and Viruses
If the sneezes are becoming so regular that they’re now impossible to ignore, there’s a good chance your cat has developed an upper respiratory infection. This may sound serious, but it just means your cat has a cold.
Younger cats, and often those that have come from shelters or have been surrounded by lots of other cats, are more likely to catch cat colds. Thankfully, many of the infections that lead to colds are easily preventable and treatable with the right vaccinations and medication.
Feline Herpes and Chlamydia
Feline herpes is another common infection that cats and kittens can catch as it’s transferred so easily. Chlamydia can also develop in the upper respiratory tract and, if it’s not treated, can spread to the lungs. Stress can aggravate both infectious viruses and worsen conditions, as well as making it easier to pass to other cats. Despite the infectious nature of both viruses, humans are perfectly safe from catching either virus from their cats!
Feline calicivirus is highly contagious and one of the leading causes of respiratory infection. It can even cause pneumonia in more serious cases.
If your cat has any of these infections, it’ll be more prone to developing other respiratory problems that can worsen their sneezing. They’re more likely to develop bacterial infections if they have feline calicivirus, so it’s important to treat such infections with antibiotics.
As well as feline herpes, chlamydia, and calicivirus, there’s a wide range of infections that can also lead to sneezing, such as:
- Mycoplasma, a bacterial upper respiratory infection
- Feline leukemia, an often fatal condition
- Bordetella, a contagious bacterial disease
- Feline infectious peritonitis, also known as feline coronavirus, which can either display no symptoms or serious symptoms such as wheezing, difficulty breathing, and
- dehydration in cats
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). It develops slowly but can cause serious damage to a cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to other diseases
Allergies and Irritants
Allergens and irritants can also cause sneezing. Just like humans, cats can display reactions to certain chemical scents. Some of the most common irritants are:
- Tobacco smoke
- Pest sprays
- Household products
- Cat litter
What Else Causes Sneezing in Cats?
As well as common viruses and infections resulting in sneezing, there are other factors that can contribute too. If your cat has been vaccinated with an intranasal vaccine, expect sneezing within four to seven days of the vaccine being administered.
Cats will also sneeze to get rid of any kind of blockage or irritant in their own nose. Plus, the inflammation of a tooth root from dental disease can cause drainage into the sinuses which can also result in sneezing. Adding to the necessity of seeking veterinary advice is the link between cancer and sneezing – but thankfully this only occurs in very rare cases.
Other Important Symptoms to Look Out For
Be aware that while most sneezes are harmless, some could indicate serious underlying health issues. From difficulty breathing to fever in cats, other symptoms related to sneezing may include:
- Rough coat from poor cat grooming
- Fatigue or depression
- Excessive nasal discharge in a yellow or green color
- Eye discharge, swelling or ulcers
When Should I See a Vet?
If your cat is only sneezing once in a while or you believe it may be a reaction to a certain smell or chemical, there’s usually no cause to worry. Simply watch your cat, monitor any changes in their behavior and check for any other symptoms. If the sneezing becomes more regular and if it’s ever accompanied by any of the symptoms listed above, you should contact your vet.