When To Contact Your Vet
Sneezing from time to time is nothing to worry about, but you should contact your vet if your cat starts sneezing often.
Contact your vet for an urgent appointment if your cat cant stop sneezing, sneezes blood or seems painful.
Consider insuring your cat as soon as you get them, before any signs of illness start. This will ensure you have all the support you need to care for them.
How To Stop Your Cat From Sneezing
If your cats sneezing is not severe, the best way to stop your cat from sneezing is to take steps to prevent the irritation causing the sneeze.
- Make sure your cat is up-to-date on its vaccinations
- Be aware of the scents in your house Candles, air fresheners, certain laundry detergents, or cigarette smoke, may be the cause.
- Check out the litter box Some types of litter tend to kick up more dust when being used and may be the source of irritation.
- Be careful when cleaning It is important to keep your home clean, but it is also essential that you are careful with the disinfectant used around your cats space. The chemicals and any fruity scents may cause discomfort.
Why Is My Cat Sneezing
Cats can sneeze for a variety of reasons, such as:
- A simple nose tickle. Weve all had that!
- A noxious smell, such as chemicals
- Dust and other airborne particles
- A foreign object like a piece of lint, grass or a hair
- A respiratory infection
- Inflammation of nasal cavity and/or sinuses
- Inflammation or infection of a tooth causing drainage into sinuses
Why do Cats Sneeze? Is There a Pattern?
Theres probably no reason to worry about the occasional sneeze here and there it may just be something in the air irritating her nasal passage. If its more than just occasional, look for patterns: Does it happen around the same time of day? Does it only happen in a certain room or during family activities? 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.
If you notice your cat sneezes more when you clean the bathroom, or after doing his business in his own bathroom, he could be having a reaction to a chemical in the cleaning products or dust in litter.
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.
When to See a Veterinarian
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What To Look For
In addition to monitoring any excessive sneezing, you should also pay attention to your kitty’s nasal discharge. “Sneezing and nasal discharge can appear together or can occur as separate problems. They are associated with disorders of the nasal cavity, nasal sinuses, or both,” explains VCA Animal Hospital. “While an occasional sneeze is perfectly normal, repeated bouts of vigorous sneezing suggests irritation of the nasal cavity.” In addition to sneezing and nasal discharge, symptoms including eye discharge, loss of appetite, lethargy and coughing may indicate your kitty is suffering from an infection.
My Cat Is Sneezing: When To Be Concerned
Your cat hops up beside you on the couch, nuzzling your hand in an attempt to get pet. Once he takes a seat, he sneezes three times in a row. After saying bless you to your little feline friend, you cant help but wonder what caused the sneezing. Although sneezing in cats isnt always a cause for alarm, it is important to monitor it and pay attention to any other symptoms that may be present.
At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we know it can be stressful not knowing the cause of your cats discomfort. This is why we strive to educate the Colorado Springs community about the causes that may be behind your cats sneezing. Even though sneezing is not always tied to a serious health concern, you should be sure to understand what causes it and when you need to take your cat to the vet.
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My Cat Is Sneezing A Lot Is He Sick
Sneezing, which occurs when the nasal passage is irritated, is a reflex action common to both humans and cats. When cats sneeze, it doesnt necessarily mean they are sick. There are many reasons cats sneeze, but the best way to know whats going on is to visit your veterinarian. If the cats behavior is noticeably different and sneezing becomes more frequent, seeking the advice of a vet is always recommended.
More often than not, when a cat sneezes it means something is wrong. The most common reason for sneezing is an upper respiratory infection. These can be viral or bacterial in nature, and should always be treated by a veterinarian.
Many times when cats have these infections, there will be nasal discharge that accompanies any sneezing. The cats owner should note the color of the discharge as well as its thickness. Usually the more discolored and thicker the discharge, the more extensive is the infection. Sneezing accompanied by watery eyes and a lack of appetite can mean the cat is also running a fever, and should be examined by a vet. Treatment for upper respiratory infections involves antibiotic shots as well as antibiotic pills or liquids being prescribed.
Another common reason for sneezing in cats can be allergies. Cats can be allergic to many of the same things as humans including perfumes, smoke and various plants such as ragweed. In fact, its not uncommon for cats to be allergic to some of todays scented cat litters.
What About A Cat Sneezing Blood
Seeing blood coming out of your cats nose can be a shocking experience. 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. Immediately schedule an appointment with your veterinary clinic to have your pet examined.
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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.
How To Treat Sneezing In Cats
Just like people, kittens and cats sneeze for a variety of reasons. An occasional sneeze isn’t a symptom of a serious problem, but constant sneezing could be a sign of an illness.
If your kitten is sneezing, you may worry that something is seriously wrong. The good news is that there are many minor reasons for a mildly sneezing kitten. Excessive or moderate and severe sneezing, should always be checked out by a veterinarian.
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What Are Some Other Reasons Why My Cat Is Sneezing
If your cat wont stop sneezing, check out these potential reasons why:
- Nasal and Sinus Issues: Some cats do suffer from rhinitis and sinusitis, two common respiratory issues. Rhinitis is the equivalent of a stuffy nose, while sinusitis is an inflammation in the lining of the sinuses.
- Foreign Objects: Sometimes lint or grass can get stuck in the nasal cavity, which is a very uncomfortable experience for the cat.
- Allergies/Asthma: Allergies rarely present themselves in the form of sneezing in cats, but it is possible, especially in felines with asthma. Your pets allergies could be caused by outdoor irritants like pollen or indoor ones like mold.
- Feline Immunodeficiency Virus : This serious virus takes a long time to fully develop but can severely compromise the cats immune system, leaving it exposed to many illnesses.
- Feline Leukemia: In extremely rare cases, sneezing and easy infection is an early sign of this potentially fatal disease.
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.
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
- A lump on the bridge of the nose
Diagnosing rhinitis and sinusitis involves an evaluation of your cats medical history, along with a thorough physical examination. A rhinoscopy, which involves inserting a small endoscope into the nose or mouth for better visualization of the nasal structure, may also be needed along with a nasal wash to collect samples.
Treatment may include a nasal flush and broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat or prevent bacterial infections, along with a dose of steroids to open up the nasal and sinus cavities. Intravenous fluids and nutritional support may also be needed in severe cases.
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If your cat’s sneezing and/or nasal discharge is mild and he/she has a normal appetite and energy level, it is okay to monitor him/her for the first couple of days. Keeping your cat separate from other cats is recommended until a veterinarian gives the okay, since he/she may have a contagious upper respiratory infection.
Why Does My Cat Drink A Lot Of Water
Most cats are very good at covering up illnesses, so increased thirst could be the first sign you notice. If you think your cat is drinking a lot more than usual, look out for these other common signs: Changes in appetite eating more or less than usual. Changes in behaviour for example, being aggressive when theyre usually calm.
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Why Sneezing Occurs In Cats
Cats with flat faces such as Persians, Himalayans, Munchkins, and Scottish Folds are more susceptible to all kinds of respiratory issues.
Upper Respiratory Infection
An upper respiratory infection may be caused by any number of viruses such as chlamydia or bordetella, but often turns into a secondary bacterial infection so it is usually treated as such.
Fungal infections are not seen often in cats due to their immune system, but sometimes, a cat can breathe in the spores from a fungus such as cryptococcosis or aspergillosis. These are both quite rare, but the cause is usually from inhaling spores around pigeon droppings.
Cats are able to catch herpes from other cats with the virus and it is common in cats who spend a lot of time outside. The virus is known to go into remission and recur during times of stress. There is no cure and it is not contagious to humans.
Feline calicivirus is a common and extremely contagious virus that spreads between cats through direct contact. It usually only affects the mouth where it causes ulcers, but it is also known to affect the respiratory tract. It can affect both indoor and outdoor cats but is more common in cats that live in multi-cat households.
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:
- Wheezing or Coughing
- Yellow or Green Nasal Discharge
- Eye Discharge
- Poor Coat Condition
When in doubt, its always best to take your cat to the vet for an expert assessment. 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.
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Allergies Toothaches And Objects
Cats can suffer from allergies, although they tend to have itchy skin more often than sneezing. If youve started using a new household cleaner, a different brand of cat litter, or made other changes that affect air quality, your cats nose might be irritated. If you cant eliminate the irritant, your cat might get used to it. If he doesnt, our CVETS staff can suggest ways to relieve your cats symptoms.
If you notice that your cat has difficulty chewing or eating, it might have a dental disease. Bacteria from the mouth can travel to the sinus cavities. An examination of your cats mouth and nose will help us diagnose and correctly treat the underlying medical issue.
Occasionally a foreign object gets lodged in a cats nose. Usually, a few sneezes will expel it. If not, one of our veterinarians can remove it. We strongly urge you to avoid trying to remove it yourself as you could injure your cat doing so.
So What Can I Do At Home
Buy a humidifier.
If your cat sleeps with you, consider using a humidifier in the bedroom to help hydrate the nasal passages. This will make it easier to wipe away the nose crusts!
Bring your cat into the bathroom with you when you shower.
When you go to shower, let your cat lounge on the bathroom floor and skip the ceiling fan. The humidified, warm, steamy air will help keep your cat breathe better.
Yummy canned cat food, please!
When your cats nose is occluded with discharge or cat boogers, your cat cant smell food. If your cat cant smell their food, they wont eat their food. Youll need to tempt your cat to eat with something super palatable human meat-based baby food or INABA Churu cat food works in a pinch to tempt your cat to eat. Keep in mind that you should not feed human baby food to your cat long term, as its not balanced and can cause severe amino acid abnormalities. Alternatively, try microwaving a small amount of different types of cat food for a few seconds to make it more enticing for your cat . Also, try hand feeding your cat as it may help encourage them to eat just no force feeding as thats a huge no-no.
If you have more than one cat, its pet quarantine time. You want to keep your sick cat indoors only , and keep them away from other feline family housemates since URIs are so contagious.
Give them nursing care.
Go ahead skip the Lysine.
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What If My Cat Is Sneezing A Lot
Recurring sneezes in cats can be explained in several ways. The first one may be environmental. Does it seem like your cat only sneezes in one particular room or only when you perform certain activities? Your cat may be allergic to dust in one room or a perfume scent found in a bathroom, for example.
But consistent sneezing may also be a sign of upper respiratory infections in cats. If you suspect that your cat is dealing with an upper respiratory infection, you should take it to the vet to discuss treatment options.
Home Treatments For A Cat Sneezing A Lot
If you have gotten the okay from your veterinarian to care for your sneezing cat at home, there are a few ways to help them get past their respiratory illness with ease. While some of these treatment tools were mentioned briefly above, these tips will cater more toward the actual treatment of sneezing in cats.
- Be diligent about giving any antibiotics, supplements, or antiviral medications that your veterinarian prescribes.
- Speak with your vet about getting a prescription for a nebulizer if your cat is struggling with congestion. This can help to break up the mucus in your cats nasal cavity and chest.
- Be sure to fill the room your cat is in with moisture. This can mean confining them to a small room with a humidifier, or putting a humidifier in multiple rooms of your house.
- Try your best to disinfect surfaces your cat frequents, and any bedding that your cat often naps in. If this is an infectious disease, you will want to rid your home of the bacteria or virus as best as you can.
- Try your best to clear your cats eyes and nares of any hardened discharge, as this can make it more challenging for your cat to breathe if it accumulates.
- Make sure your cat is still eating and drinking, as congestion often causes a cat to lose their appetite. You can do this by offering your cat wet food, heating up their wet food to make it more pungent, or even adding warm water or broth to your cats normal diet.
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