Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

July 28, 2023

Cats are beloved companions known for their grace and independence. However, it's natural to feel concerned when your feline friend starts sneezing. Sneezing in cats can occur for various reasons, some harmless while others may indicate underlying health issues. In this article, we'll explore the common causes of sneezing in cats and discuss potential treatment options to help your furry friend find relief.

Common Causes of Sneezing in Cats

Sneezing is a natural reflex in cats that helps clear their nasal passages from irritants, such as dust or foreign objects. It is similar to humans sneezing when exposed to allergens. However, when sneezing becomes excessive or persistent, it may indicate an underlying problem that requires attention.

  • Infectious Causes: Cats can contract viral upper respiratory infections, such as feline herpesvirus or calicivirus, leading to sneezing, nasal discharge, and other symptoms. Bacterial and fungal infections can also contribute to sneezing.
  • Non-infectious Causes: Allergies and irritants, such as pollen, mold, or cigarette smoke, can trigger sneezing in cats. Environmental factors, including dusty or poorly ventilated spaces, may also play a role. Additionally, foreign objects lodged in the nasal passages, dental or oral health issues, and nasal polyps or tumors can cause sneezing.
  • Other Contributing Factors: Age and the cat's immune system health can influence susceptibility to sneezing. Stress or significant changes in the cat's environment may also trigger sneezing episodes.
cat in cardboard box sneezing

Determining the underlying cause of your cat's sneezing requires a veterinary examination. Your vet will conduct a thorough physical examination and inquire about your cat's medical history. In some cases, additional diagnostic tests, including blood tests, nasal swabs, cultures, or imaging techniques such as X-rays or CT scans, may be necessary to identify the cause accurately.

Treatment Options for Sneezing in Cats

Prevention is better than cure. Vaccinations against common viral infections can help reduce the risk of respiratory issues. Regular veterinary check-ups, including preventive care measures, can detect problems early. Minimizing your cat's exposure to irritants and allergens can also prevent sneezing episodes.

When treatments are needed, working with your veterinarian to determine the best course of action is important. Taking the wrong treatment approach could worsen the problem and cause stress for the cat. Here are some potential treatment options that you might be encouraged to explore following a check-up:

Vet listening fluffy cat using stethoscope during appointment in veterinary clinic
  • Medications

    Antibiotics are prescribed for bacterial infections, antifungal medications for fungal infections, and antiviral medications for viral infections. Allergies may be managed with steroids or antihistamines. Nasal decongestants or saline solutions can help relieve nasal congestion.

  • Supportive Care

    Creating a clean and irritant-free environment is crucial. Regular cleaning and minimizing exposure to known allergens can help alleviate symptoms. Proper nutrition and hydration are also vital for overall health. Using a humidifier can combat nasal dryness and ease discomfort.

  • Surgical Interventions

    If nasal polyps or tumors are identified as the cause of sneezing, your veterinarian may recommend surgical removal. Dental or oral health issues that contribute to sneezing may require appropriate treatments.

When to Consult a Veterinarian

If your cat's sneezing persists, worsens, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's essential to consult a veterinarian promptly. Changes in behavior or appetite should not be overlooked, as they may indicate underlying health issues.

Cat sneezing can occur for various reasons, and understanding the underlying cause is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment. You can better address your cat's needs by familiarizing yourself with the common causes of sneezing in cats, such as infections, allergies, and environmental factors.

Veterinarian doctor checking cat at a vet clinic

Remember, it's always recommended to seek veterinary advice when your cat is experiencing persistent or worsening sneezing. A veterinarian can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options tailored to your cat's specific condition. Taking proactive steps, such as maintaining a clean environment, minimizing exposure to irritants, and providing optimal nutrition and hydration, can contribute to your cat's overall respiratory health.

While sneezing in cats can be a cause for concern, it's often manageable with proper care and treatment. By staying informed about the potential causes and treatment options, you can help ensure your feline friend's well-being. Keep an eye on your cat's respiratory health, and don't hesitate to consult your veterinarian for guidance. Your sneezing cat can enjoy a happy and healthy life with your love and attention.

Why Choose Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital?

When you bring your pet to us, we want you to know they will receive the best care, whether in a routine or emergency. Our doctors and staff will care for your animal as if it were their own. Don't hesitate to reach out and schedule an appointment to tour our facility and meet with the team!