An occasional sneeze from your feline buddy is quite normal and is should not really cause for alarm.
Like humans, cat sneezing is an explosive release of air through their mouth and nose— usually as the body’s response to some irritants in the nasal passage.
In cats, movement or excitement can sometimes cause sneezing.
However, if your feline’s sneezing just won’t go away or if there are other symptoms that come along with sneezing, then you might need to check with your vet in order to see if there is any treatment required.
Causes of Sneezing
If you feline sneezes a lot, then your vet can initially suspect a cause based on the review of your pet’s symptoms.
In some cases, your vet may take a swab from the nose, eyes, throat or mouth and send it to a lab in order to confirm an infection.
Here are some of the most common cause of frequent sneezing in cats:
1. Allergens or Inhaled Irritants
If your feline only sneezes once in a while, then there might be something that simply irritates her nasal passages. Look for patterns in your feline’s sneezing.
Does it occur after you’ve cleaned the house? After your cat leaves the litter box? After you have lit the candles or turn on the scented humidifier?
These are all examples of possible allergens or irritants in cats:
- Cleaning agents
- Cat litter, the types that create dusts
- Pest sprays
- Cigarette smoke
In felines, allergies are less common cause of sneezing. However, is sneezing is related to allergies, sometimes an itchy skin is also present.
2. Fungal, Bacterial or Viral Infections
If you’re feline sneezes a lot, chances are your cat has an upper respiratory infection. Just like colds in humans, these infections are usually common in young felines, particularly those that come from animal shelters. Most of these infections may be prevented with complete and early vaccinations.
The viral infections that commonly cause frequent sneezing in cats include:
- FELINE CALICIVIRUS: A virus that is highly contagious between felines. Mouth ulcers are the most usual problem, however it also affects the respiratory tract and even cause pneumonia.
- FELINE HERPES VIRUS: Felines catch herpes from exposure to other felines that are infected. Stress may cause a flare-up as well as the transmission to other felines. Treatment is usually aimed at controlling the symptoms and is not contagious to humans.
Fungal infections, on the other hand, are not often seen in cats because of their strong immune system, however sometimes, a cat may breathe in the spores from fungus like aspergillosis or cryptococcosis which are quite rare.
Your cat, however, can inhale spores around pigeon droppings and cause frequent sneezing.
These infections can make your cat more likely to develop respiratory problems which can worsen sneezing.
A broad range of other infections which may lead to frequent sneezing includes:
- FIV OR FELINE IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS that develops slowly and severely impacts your cat’s immune system, leaving the feline more vulnerable to other infections.
- FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS that may cause no to mild symptoms to even more severe symptoms if not treated.
- CHLAMYDIA, often produces conjunctivitis or an eye infection
- FELINE LEUKEMIA, which is the second leading cause of death in felines, affecting 3 percent of all cats and is highly fatal in 85 percent of infected cats within the first 3 years of transmission. It attacks the immune system and causes anemia.
3. Dental Disease
The 2 most common symptoms of a feline dental disease are nasal discharge and sneezing. Infections in the teeth can allow bacteria to grow and populate in the nasal sinus with resulting sneezing and inflammation.
If left untreated, these bacteria can also travel to other parts of the body.
4. Other Potential Causes
There are other factors that may contribute to cat frequent sneezing. For instance, it is common for cats to experience sneezing at least 4 – 7 days after receiving an intranasal vaccine.
However, it should last for no more than a few days. In addition, cats may also sneeze in order to dislodge a blockage inside their nasal passages.
In very rare cases, frequent sneezing in cats can be a sign of cancer.
Sneezing and Symptoms
Symptoms which may accompany frequent sneezing in cats can be the result of a broad range of infections and other issues. These include:
- Eye discharge, ulcers or swelling
- Excessive nasal discharge that can be green or yellow in color
- Poor coat condition
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Trouble breathing
- Coughing or wheezing
- Weight loss or decreased appetite
When To See Your Vet?
If your feline sneeze once in a while, has only mild to no other accompanying symptoms, then you might want to simply monitor her for a few days. Keep your pet indoors and watch for any changes.
Call the vet if your feline sneezes often or continuously sneeze blood or have other symptoms listed above, since they may be signs of a condition or illness which needs veterinary care.
Treatment will depend on the cause of sneezing from making your cat comfortable and using humidifier to fluids, steroids, nasal decongestants, and antibiotics, to rare cases of medical therapies that need surgery.