What Makes Cats Sneeze?

Everyone loves to hear a cute cat sneeze the sound can bring an instant smile to your face. But if your cats sneezing is suddenly constant, it could be a sign of a larger problem with your feline friend.

Feline Leukemia : In extremely rare cases, sneezing and easy infection is an early sign of this potentially fatal disease. If your pet has been consistently sneezing before you saw the blood, take that and any other discharges from your cats eyes or mouth as a very serious sign of a health problem.

It can also be something as simple as a foreign object or infection, but it may also be the sign of accidentally ingesting poison, tumors or high blood pressure. They will give your cat a swab from the mouth, nose, throat or eyes and set it to the lab to determine if there is an infection. So, while you dont have to watch over every single sneeze, if your cat begins exhibiting signs of illness, act quickly and consult with your vet.

What should I do if my cat keeps sneezing?

If your cat is sneezing a lot for several days or if she shows other signs of being sick, you should take her to the veterinarian to be examined. She may have developed a respiratory infection, which is quite common in cats. A round of antibiotics should help her get back to her usual self.

Why is my indoor cat sneezing?

Sneezing is a common symptom of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats. Often referred to as the “common cold” or the “cat flu”, upper respiratory infections can be viral, bacterial and even fungal, although that’s less common.

How much is too much sneezing for a cat?

Like humans and other animals, sneezing is a normal thing if it happens occasionally. It’s even normal for a cat to have an occasional sneezing fit. But it’s not normal for a cat to sneeze several times a day for several days in a row.

Sneezing is a useful bodily function in which the body forcefully expels irritants from the nose. A multitude of animal species sneeze, including dogs, chickens, elephants, certain lizards, and cats.

Infections, chronic inflammation, dental disease, cancer, and inhalation of foreign material can all cause a cat to sneeze. Unlike people, herpesvirus in cats causes primarily upper respiratory signs, including sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose.

Other viral infections that can contribute to cat sneezing include calicivirus (which the FVRCP combo vaccine provides protection against) and influenza. Bacterial infections almost always play a secondary role in upper respiratory symptoms in cats. If you see yellow or green snot emerging from your cats nose or eyes, this abnormally colored discharge is a sure sign of a bacterial infection.

Bordetella , mycoplasma , and chlamydia are all common culprits of bacterial infections in a cats nose. Although these infections are rarely the sole issue, treatment with antibiotics such as doxycycline or azithromycin will dramatically reduce sneezing and other symptoms, allowing your cat to breathe more comfortably. A very broad category of disease that contributes to cat sneezing is one that creates inflammation and irritation in the nose.

Inhalation of foreign material, like blades of grass, foxtails, etc., can of course cause irritation to the nasal passages. When these intruders are inhaled by a cat, the bodys response is to sneeze to expel the foreign debris. While this approach might work for smaller particles like dust, larger objects are difficult for a cat to remove by sneezing.

These situations can be diagnosed with either rhinoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into the nose of an anesthetized cat, or a nasal flush, in which sterile saline is forced through the nasal passages (again, under anesthesia) to remove the material that the cat was unable to sneeze away. Many pet owners are surprised to hear that dental disease could contribute to cat sneezing. When teeth become infected, or when severe inflammation exists, the barrier between the tooth socket and the nose can be penetrated.

When the cat eats, food material can enter the nose, triggering the sneeze reflex. Treating the dental disease, either by extraction of the affected tooth or closure of the abnormal hole, will typically alleviate the sneezing unless the issue has progressed to the feedback loop of chronic rhinitis. This condition is generally painful, so if you suspect dental disease in your cat, a veterinary visit is strongly advised.

A physical exam alone will not be enough to distinguish a fungal infection from other causes of cat sneezing, so rhinoscopy or a biopsy are usually required to achieve a diagnosis. If your cat starts sneezing suddenly and it lasts several days, there is a possibility that the issue will resolve, but treatment will likely be needed. Persistence of sneezing to a chronic state substantially raises the odds that an underlying disease process is at play.

Since many of these conditions are uncomfortable or painful, its never a bad idea to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a problem, even if sneezing is the only symptom. If a cat is coughing and sneezing, it typically means that its primarily an upper respiratory process with postnasal drip irritating the throat. If you see nasal discharge, especially with blood or pus-colored mucus, make a note or take a picture before cleaning your cats face, as this can help narrow down the causes.

Imaging can be useful to look for underlying causes and to evaluate the degree of damage to the inside of the nose in severe cases. Rhinoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into the nasal passages of an anesthetized cat, can be used to search for tumors or fungal plaques. Biopsies of the walls of the nasal cavity may be taken during rhinoscopy to search for inflammatory, fungal, and cancerous causes of sneezing.

Flushing the nasal passages while the cat is under anesthesia can sometimes reveal diagnostic information (e.g., dislodging a foreign body), and it is also a treatment. More research is needed to fully understand the role that infections play in cat sneezing, but repeated or prolonged courses of antibiotics have proved to be effective in controlling clinical signs. Although bacterial infections are rarely the primary problem, antibiotics are often used for such cases, as these drugs make the cat feel better quite quickly.

Nasal lavage under general anesthesia can relieve clinical signs temporarily, regardless of the cause, and it can dislodge hidden foreign material.

Just like humans, there are different reasons why a cat may sneeze. The tickle in their nose may be due to environmental factors or it could be the result of an illness or infection. Read on for a close look at some of the causes, recommendations for when to take your cat to the vet and frequently asked questions.

If you suspect your cat may have dental disease, PetMD advises bringing them to the vet, as this can be a painful condition. If your kitty has recently been adopted from a shelter, boarded while you were on vacation or around other cats that may have been sick, its possible that their sneezing could be a sign of a URI.

Other symptoms of a URI can include coughing, discharge from the eyes or nose, excessive swallowing, lethargy and loss of appetite. A condition called chronic rhinitis can also develop if there is permanent damage to the cats immune system and nasal passages. Other symptoms of feline herpes can include congestion, eye ulcers, loss of appetite and drooling.

Feline Calicivirus: This virus can cause URIs and oral diseases, such as mouth ulcers that can affect a cats respiratory tract. Besides sneezing, the most common symptoms of feline calicivirus are conjunctivitis, congestion and discharge from the nose or eyes. In fact, VCA Hospitals says that these two conditions are responsible for 90% of all feline upper respiratory tract infections.

These conditions will cause frequent sneezing and eye discharge, and you may notice that your cat is breathing through their mouth instead of their nose. The tickle in your cats nose could be because of a piece of litter, catnip or dirt that may be stuck in their nasal passage. Wheezing or Coughing Yellow or Green Nasal Discharge Eye Discharge Drooling Fever Fatigue Decreased Appetite Weight Loss Enlarged Lymph Nodes Trouble Breathing Poor Coat Condition Diarrhea

They will perform a physical exam that includes evaluating your cats nose, eyes and mouth, and from there they will determine if imaging or lab tests are necessary. If sneezing is the result of environmental factors like dust, candles or cigarette smoke, you should remove these irritants to help your cat breathe easy.

Ah, the cat sneeze it may be one of the cutest sounds youll ever hear, but is it ever a cause for concern? Just like their humans, cats can catch colds and suffer from upper respiratory and sinus infections. However, there are other conditions that can also lead to those cute little sneezes.

Looking for patterns can help determine if your cat is sneezing due to an irritant, such as dust or perfume, or if its caused by an infection or other underlying condition. On the other hand, if your cat is sneezing a lot and youve noticed discharge from the nose or eyes along with a lack of energy and loss of appetite, then it may be something to worry about.

Sneezing accompanied by other symptoms could be a sign your cat is suffering from an upper respiratory infection or other underlying condition that may require veterinary care. If the sneezing persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, a visit to the vet is most likely needed for proper diagnosis and treatment. This can result in a serious and potentially fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis (or fatty liver disease).

Recurring sneezing over several hours or days Unusual discharge from the nose or eyes that can appear clear, yellow, green or bloody Repeated coughing or swallowing Lethargy or fever Dehydration and/or decreased appetite Since many of the viruses that cause these infections are highly contagious, those kept in groups such as shelters and multicat households are also vulnerable, especially if theyre unvaccinated. In cases with generally mild symptoms, URIs can resolve on their own after a couple of weeks.

Antiviral medications or antibiotics Eye and/or nose drops Steroids Subcutaneous fluids (in cases involving dehydration) Severe cases may require hospitalization for more intensive treatment such as IV fluids and nutritional support. If left untreated, upper respiratory infections can lead to other serious complications such as pneumonia, chronic breathing issues and even blindness.

If you do suspect your cat has an upper respiratory infection, here are some immediate steps you can take to offer some relief: Regularly clean any discharge from your cats nose and face with warm, moist cotton. These two conditions often occur together in cats, termed rhinosinusitis, and are common complications of upper respiratory infections.

Symptoms In addition to frequent sneezing, signs of rhinitis and sinusitis in cats include: Clear nasal discharge in mild cases OR yellow, green or bloody in severe cases Labored breathing, snoring and/or breathing through the mouth Pawing at the face Tearing and discharge from the eyes Reverse sneezing (clearing the nose through short, rapid inhalations) A lump on the bridge of the nose (if fungal) Treatment Diagnosing rhinitis and sinusitis involves an evaluation of your cats medical history, along with a thorough physical examination.

Frequent and recurring sneezing in cats can also be due to chronic respiratory conditions. Chronic rhinitis is the most common and is usually the result of permanent damage to the immune system and nasal passages. Treatment Options With chronic conditions, further investigation is needed to determine the underlying causes, including:

Unfortunately, there are no cures for chronic upper respiratory conditions in cats, therefore, treatment usually involves managing the symptoms with frequent veterinary care and medications. However, the symptoms can be managed with a specialized treatment plan developed by your primary veterinarian or a veterinary dermatology specialist . One of the best ways to prevent certain viruses is by having your cat vaccinated according to the schedule recommended by your family veterinarian.

Why Is My Cat Sneezing a Lot?

Everyone loves to hear a cute cat sneeze – the sound can bring an instant smile to your face. But if your cat’s sneezing is suddenly constant, it could be a sign of a larger problem with your feline friend.If you’re wondering, “Why do cats sneeze?”, there are a number of reasons why cats get the sniffles. Some are less problematic than others. But if you are worried about a rise in sneezing, it is important to monitor your pet’s condition and overall health and determine if the sneezing issues are serious enough to bring the cat in to your local veterinary provider.Use this informational guide to help you determine if your cat’s sneezing fits are normal or worth examining further.

Why is my cat sneezing?

On one end, it could be as simple as your feline friend has something irritating in their nose – just like humans. Cats can be struck with the sudden urge to sneeze by dust or other irritants. Sometimes, cats will sneeze due to excitement or rapid movement. None of these issues should be cause for major concern.

Can cats get colds?

Yes, just like their human owners, cats can catch colds. The “cat flu” is generally a viral or bacterial infection that leads to cold-like symptoms in cats, especially in younger cats or those who came from animal shelters. For the most part, cat colds will pass after a week or so, but some can last longer.

What about a cat sneezing blood?

If your cat won’t stop sneezing, check out these potential reasons why:

What Causes Cat Sneezing?

Cat sneezing can be surprisingly difficult to diagnose, for several reasons. First, your veterinarian will need to confirm that your cat is actually sneezing.Coughing, gagging, reverse sneezing, hiccupping, retching, and wheezing can all be misidentified as a sneeze, and each of these symptoms come with a separate list of possible causes.Take a video of your cat during an episode to help your vet confirm whether it really is a sneeze.Another obstacle in diagnosing cat sneezing is the plethora of underlying causes. Infections, chronic inflammation, dental disease, cancer, and inhalation of foreign material can all cause a cat to sneeze.Further complicating matters is the fact that in cats, more than one of these causes is usually going on at the same time.Here are some of the possible causes for sneezing in cats.

Viral Respiratory Infections

In sneezing cats, viral upper respiratory infections are, as a general rule, the original problem. The most prevalent infection is feline herpesvirus. Some researchers have estimated that as many as 80-90% of cats are infected with herpesvirus.Unlike people, herpesvirus in cats causes primarily upper respiratory signs, including sneezing and discharge from the eyes and nose. As in people, the symptoms of feline herpesvirus are exacerbated by stress.Although there is emerging research to suggest that existing drugs could improve outcomes for cats infected with herpesvirus, there is currently no cure, and infections are lifelong.Other viral infections that can contribute to cat sneezing include calicivirus (which the FVRCP combo vaccine provides protection against) and influenza.

Bacterial Infections

Bacterial infections almost always play a secondary role in upper respiratory symptoms in cats.If you see yellow or green snot emerging from your cat’s nose or eyes, this abnormally colored discharge is a sure sign of a bacterial infection.However, in cats, these bacterial infections almost never act alone; after a respiratory virus or other disease process causes damage to the nasal passages, bacteria seize the opportunity to take advantage of the diminished barriers that usually protect the cat from such attacks.Bordetella, mycoplasma, and chlamydia are all common culprits of bacterial infections in a cat’s nose. Although these infections are rarely the sole issue, treatment with antibiotics such as doxycycline or azithromycin will dramatically reduce sneezing and other symptoms, allowing your cat to breathe more comfortably.Research into the efficacy of newer antibiotics may allow your vet to more easily treat these infections in the future.

Inflammation and Irritation

A very broad category of disease that contributes to cat sneezing is one that creates inflammation and irritation in the nose.The infections mentioned above can certainly cause inflammation, but so can almost all other causes of cat sneezing.Making matters more complicated, inflammation itself can cause a cat to sneeze, creating a feedback loop where cats continue to sneeze long after the initial problem is eliminated or has been inactivated. This situation is typically referred to as chronic rhinitis.There is no good test for diagnosing an inflammatory condition as the sole cause of sneezing in cats (short of a nasal biopsy, which must be done under anesthesia). So, typically, once the other causes are ruled out, inflammation is the last man standing, so to speak.Reportedly effective treatments range from steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to drugs typically used for nausea. Although in its infancy, there is evidence to suggest that immunotherapy could help sneezing cats in certain cases.Although allergies are inflammatory, allergic rhinitis (sneezing from allergies) is so rare as to be nonexistent in the domestic cat.

Foreign Material

Inhalation of foreign material, like blades of grass, foxtails, etc., can of course cause irritation to the nasal passages.When these intruders are inhaled by a cat, the body’s response is to sneeze to expel the foreign debris. While this approach might work for smaller particles like dust, larger objects are difficult for a cat to remove by sneezing.These situations can be diagnosed with either rhinoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into the nose of an anesthetized cat, or a nasal flush, in which sterile saline is forced through the nasal passages (again, under anesthesia) to remove the material that the cat was unable to sneeze away.

Dental Disease

Many pet owners are surprised to hear that dental disease could contribute to cat sneezing.As with many species, the roots of the teeth on the upper jaw are located right next to the nasal passages. When teeth become infected, or when severe inflammation exists, the barrier between the tooth socket and the nose can be penetrated.When the cat eats, food material can enter the nose, triggering the sneeze reflex.Treating the dental disease, either by extraction of the affected tooth or closure of the abnormal hole, will typically alleviate the sneezing unless the issue has progressed to the feedback loop of chronic rhinitis.This condition is generally painful, so if you suspect dental disease in your cat, a veterinary visit is strongly advised.

Neoplasia (Tumors)

As with most symptoms, tumors are always on the list of possible causes.In older cats especially, tumors can grow inside the nasal passage, creating irritation and inflammation that causes the cat to sneeze. These tumors are typically detected visually via rhinoscopy or a nasal biopsy.When they are present, the prognosis is unfortunately quite poor. Similar to dental disease, nasal tumors are thought to be painful.

Fungal Infections

Although less common than viral or bacterial infections, fungal infections are a known cause of sneezing in cats.A fungus called Cryptococcus is the usual suspect.Unlike viral infections, there are effective treatments for fungal infections in the feline nose. A physical exam alone will not be enough to distinguish a fungal infection from other causes of cat sneezing, so rhinoscopy or a biopsy are usually required to achieve a diagnosis.Fungal infections in this location can be painful.

Other Causes

Although a handful of other causes can contribute to your cat’s sneezing—including polyps or abnormal formation of the nose and mouth—the causes listed above are vastly more common.

Is Cat Sneezing Serious?

It depends on whether the cause is environmental or a disease.Sometimes the irritants that trigger the sneeze reflex are environmental—like dust, mold, or pollen—which the cat inhales, causing them to sneeze. In these cases, sneezing is usually not serious, especially if seen in an isolated episode.More often, though, cat sneezing is caused by one or more disease processes.Most commonly, a viral infection is the initial problem, with subsequent inflammation and bacterial infections causing damage to the architecture inside the nose, perpetuating the problem.

What If My Cat Keeps Sneezing?

It depends on the cause. If it is an isolated episode of cat sneezing, the issue is likely to go away and not return.If your cat starts sneezing suddenly and it lasts several days, there is a possibility that the issue will resolve, but treatment will likely be needed.If your cat suffers from chronic sneezing, however, they will likely be sneezing intermittently for the rest of their life. Persistence of sneezing to a chronic state substantially raises the odds that an underlying disease process is at play.

Cat Sneezing With Other Symptoms

Since many of these conditions are uncomfortable or painful, it’s never a bad idea to take your cat to the vet as soon as you notice a problem, even if sneezing is the only symptom.However, these signs are more serious and require a vet visit sooner rather than later:

Physical Exam

Your vet may want to first run some baseline tests to evaluate the overall health status of your cat. A dental exam should be a part of the initial physical exam to investigate whether dental disease may be causing the sneezing.

Imaging

Imaging can be useful to look for underlying causes and to evaluate the degree of damage to the inside of the nose in severe cases.Your veterinarian can take X-rays of your cat’s head and chest, but the gold standard for imaging sneezing cats is a computerized tomography scan, which requires general anesthesia and is typically done in emergency or referral hospitals.

Rhinoscopy

Rhinoscopy, in which a camera is inserted into the nasal passages of an anesthetized cat, can be used to search for tumors or fungal plaques.

Biopsy

Biopsies of the walls of the nasal cavity may be taken during rhinoscopy to search for inflammatory, fungal, and cancerous causes of sneezing.

Nasal Lavage

Flushing the nasal passages while the cat is under anesthesia can sometimes reveal diagnostic information (e.g., dislodging a foreign body), and it is also a treatment.

How Do You Treat a Sneezing Cat?

Treatment for cat sneezing is typically targeted at the underlying cause where possible.While a wide variety of treatments are available, owners should be aware that the goal in most cases, especially chronic cases, is to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, not to cure them.More research is needed to fully understand the role that infections play in cat sneezing, but repeated or prolonged courses of antibiotics have proved to be effective in controlling clinical signs.

Antibiotics

Although bacterial infections are rarely the primary problem, antibiotics are often used for such cases, as these drugs make the cat feel better quite quickly.

Nasal Lavage

Nasal lavage under general anesthesia can relieve clinical signs temporarily, regardless of the cause, and it can dislodge hidden foreign material.

When to See a Veterinarian

A sneeze every now and then is normal, but if it becomes frequent or other symptoms develop, your cat would benefit from a visit to the vet.If you are monitoring your cat at home, Fetch by WebMD says to keep an eye out for these other symptoms:When in doubt, it’s always best to take your cat to the vet for an expert assessment. They will perform a physical exam that includes evaluating your cat’s nose, eyes and mouth, and from there they will determine if imaging or lab tests are necessary.

Feline Sneezing: Causes and Treatment

Ah, the cat sneeze – it may be one of the cutest sounds you’ll ever hear, but is it ever a cause for concern? Just like their humans, cats can catch colds and suffer from upper respiratory and sinus infections. However, there are other conditions that can also lead to those cute little sneezes.

When to See a Veterinarian

If your cat is only sneezing on occasion with either no other symptoms or very mild symptoms, you may be able to wait a day or two and simply monitor her for any changes. Kittens, on the other hand, should always be seen by a veterinarian when suffering from these types of symptoms.If the sneezing persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, a visit to the vet is most likely needed for proper diagnosis and treatment. This is especially important if your cat has stopped eating. Loss of appetite is a very common symptom of upper respiratory conditions in cats due to loss of smell and/or taste, as well as the inability to breathe out of the nose. Some conditions may also cause difficulty swallowing.Unlike the human body that can go weeks or even months without eating, a cat’s body goes into starvation mode after only 2-3 days. This can result in a serious and potentially fatal condition called hepatic lipidosis (or fatty liver disease). In these cases, intravenous fluids and additional nutritional support are often needed for immediate treatment, followed by any needed prescriptions such as antibiotics, anti-nausea medications and appetite stimulants.

Upper Respiratory Infections

Sneezing is a common symptom of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats. Often referred to as the “common cold” or the “cat flu”, upper respiratory infections can be viral, bacterial and even fungal, although that’s less common.These types of infections can last anywhere from 7 to 21 days, with 7 to 10 days as the average duration for uncomplicated cases.

Treatment

Common symptoms of upper respiratory infection in cats include:Cats at a higher risk of developing URIs include kittens and elderly cats, as well as unvaccinated and immunosuppressed cats. Since many of the viruses that cause these infections are highly contagious, those kept in groups such as shelters and multicat households are also vulnerable, especially if they’re unvaccinated.

Nasal and Sinus Issues

Cats can also suffer from inflammatory conditions like rhinitis and sinusitis. Rhinitis is the inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, which we all know as a “stuffy nose”, and sinusitis is inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.These two conditions often occur together in cats, termed “rhinosinusitis”, and are common complications of upper respiratory infections.

Treatment

In addition to frequent sneezing, signs of rhinitis and sinusitis in cats include:

Chronic Upper Respiratory Conditions

Frequent and recurring sneezing in cats can also be due to chronic respiratory conditions. Chronic rhinitis is the most common and is usually the result of permanent damage to the immune system and nasal passages.

Treatment Options

The symptoms of chronic upper respiratory conditions in cats are similar to upper respiratory infections and inflammation, but persist over weeks or months or in intervals of a few weeks. Conditions like chronic rhinitis can also lead to recurring bacterial infections, which can worsen the symptoms.These symptoms may include:Cats that have already recovered from severe acute viral infections, such as feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus, are more susceptible to chronic upper respiratory conditions, with symptoms persisting continuously or intermittently. They are also more likely to suffer from virus reactivation due to stress, illness, or immunosuppression.

Allergies

Unlike in humans, allergies are not a common cause of sneezing in cats. Instead, symptoms usually appear in the form of skin irritations, such as lesions, itchiness and hair loss. However, some cats can suffer from other symptoms, such as itchy and watery eyes along with coughing, sneezing and wheezing – particularly in cats with asthma.This condition, known as “hay fever” in humans, is called allergic rhinitis and symptoms can occur seasonally if due to outdoor allergens like pollen, or year-round if caused by indoor allergens such as dust and mold.

Treatment Options

Unfortunately, there are no cures for allergies in cats. However, the symptoms can be managed with a specialized treatment plan developed by your primary veterinarian or a veterinary dermatology specialist. This may include customized vaccines and other medications, along with a special diet.

Vaccines

Certain vaccines, like those used to prevent upper respiratory infections, may also cause sneezing in cats. However, symptoms usually resolve on their own within a few days.