Why is my cat sneezing a lot? It could be due to a variety of reasons – from a simple ticklish feeling to respiratory problems. Irritants like pollen, dust, and chemicals will also make your cat sneeze a lot. Sudden sneezing isn’t usually a cause of concern, but if the sniffles linger for days, it might be time to bring your kitty to a veterinarian.
Sneezing is your cat’s natural way of expelling foreign matter from its nose. This works the same for us humans. I’m always told that I sneeze like a cat because of how I sound. After all, the reason behind the frequent sneezing isn’t that different between cats and humans.
Why is my cat sneezing a lot?
The following are some of the potential reasons why your cat keeps sneezing:
One of the most common reasons behind the sudden sneezing of your cat is a ticklish nose. A small amount of dust might have gotten into their nasal opening. And as the body’s defenses kick in, your cat will sneeze involuntarily to expel the irritant.
Nose tickles are isolated cases and shouldn’t last for more than a few seconds. If your cat’s sneezing doesn’t go away, the following reason might be the culprit.
Like human allergies, cat allergies are an immune system response where the body considers a substance as a threat.
This condition also comes by the name of allergic rhinitis. The most common causes of allergic sneezing among cats are pollen, human perfume, and cigarette smoke.
If you live in the south and your cat seems to have incessant sneezing during the summer, pollens might be the one to blame.
Take note that a cat can also become allergic to a specific litter ingredient. If you notice that your cat is sneezing after using the litter box, you should consider switching to a new litter. Consider a clumping and low-dust formula instead.
Moreover, household cleaning products can also trigger cat sneezing. Avoid using abrasive cleaning products since it can also cause skin allergies among cats. Some substandard cat toys may contain harmful chemicals that may trigger allergic reactions on your pet, thus the sneezing.
Foreign matter like a small blade of grass stuck inside your cat’s nose will make your pet sneeze a lot. This is a rare occurrence, but it can happen, especially if you have an outdoor cat. please read here What to do with a stray cat
In most cases, the cat can dislodge the foreign object on its own. However, if it’s too large and stiff, you may need to bring the kitty to the vet for safe removal. Remember that failure to remove a stuck foreign object from your cat’s nose can lead to nasal discharge and eventual infection.
Intranasal vaccines or shots administered through the nasal passage can also lead to constant sneezing. The sneezing may linger for a few days, but it should go away without special treatment or additional vet visits.
Upper respiratory infection
Upper respiratory infections in cats are usually due to viral infections. The most common cause of upper respiratory infection is Feline herpesvirus Type-1. Another potential infection that could cause respiratory irritations and sneezing is Feline Calcifivirus or FCV.
Herpesvirus and FCV are the reason behind 90% of all upper respiratory infections among cats. If your kitty has one of these infections, the sneezing will worsen and lead to nasal discharge.
Over time, your cat will suffer from conjunctivitis, fever, and hypersalivation. Other symptoms also include gagging, fever, oral ulcers, and eye rubbing.
If you suspect that your cat has FCV or herpesvirus, you should bring it to the veterinarian right away.
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for feline herpesvirus. Once your cat contracted the infection, the only thing that the vet could do is to reduce the severity of the symptoms and lessen the recurrence. Most cats that receive proper medical care respond to treatments positively and can live normally.
Dental problems among cats can lead to various complications if not addressed right away. This can happen when an upper canine tooth gets infected because it’s located close to the nasal passages.
The dental problem may appear as swollen gums but without intense pain. However, you should know that some cats have higher pain tolerance, so they may not show signs of tooth pain. Learn how to get a cat to eat after tooth extraction
Over time, the infection will lead to drainage into the sinuses, which will cause your cat to sneeze a lot.
How to reduce sneezing in cats
If your cat is sneezing a lot, you can use some home remedies to ease the pet’s discomfort. While my suggestions could help, proper veterinarian consultation is still the best solution.
Keep the cat warm
Your cat’s sneezing will only worsen if they are exposed to very cold temperatures. If your cat’s nose is clogged, you can give it a short and warm bath. This will help loosen up their nasal passages for better drainage. You should wipe the discharge properly.
During winter, consider getting a heating pad for your cat to keep it warm. This will soothe your sneezing cat, but you must regulate the temperature, so it doesn’t burn or injure your pet.
A kitten sneezing should be kept warm all day long to prevent chills.
Use a vaporizer or humidifier
For minor sneezing and breathing problems, a humidifier will also help, especially when the air is dry. Avoid diffusing oils with repulsive scents as it may cause further irritations on your cat’s respiratory system.
You can place the humidifier beside your cat’s bed, but make sure that it’s secured and will not cause electrocution.
Use nasal decongestants
With the guidance from your cat’s veterinarian, you can administer decongestants if your cat’s nasal passages are blocked with mucus.
If there’s a bacterial infection, the vet will prescribe an antibiotic that must be taken consistently for a specific period. Avoid giving your cat medications without the supervision and prescription of a veterinarian.
How to prevent sneezing in cats
Like what the trite saying says, ‘prevention is always better than cure’. Instead of waiting for your cat to exhibit the symptoms, I recommend the following preventive measures to keep the sniffles at bay:
Wash the cat bed regularly
Regardless if you have an indoor or outdoor cat, you should make it a habit to wash its bed weekly. Over time, allergens and dirt will accumulate on the bed, which may trigger sneezing and allergic reactions. Also, if your cat has nasal discharge, it would usually wipe its nose on the bed’s surface.
Aside from the cat bed, you should also wash the padding of cat condos and cat trees. This will lessen your pets’ exposure to irritants.
Buy high-quality litter
Cheap and low-quality litter are usually made of substandard materials. Also, it could be packed with harmful chemicals that may irritate your cat’s nose.
As much as possible, avoid cat litters with a strong smell. Although it helps in masking malodors, it’s not doing your cat’s nose a favor.
Avoid using overpowering air fresheners
Air fresheners are made for humans, but not for pets. Remember that cats have a stronger sense of smell than humans, so a spray of your favorite air freshener will be overpowering for them. It may also cause sneezing in the long run.
If you can, look for pet-friendly air fresheners or, better yet, use natural deodorizers at home like activated charcoal, lemon, and cat-friendly essential oils.
Know your pet’s sensitivities
The first step to prevent allergic reactions on your cat is knowing what causes it. This way, you can remove it from your home to reduce your cat’s exposure to the allergen. Regular consultation with the vet is the only way for proper diagnosis.
Keep tiny objects away
Tiny objects that may get stuck on your cat’s nose should be kept out of your pet’s reach. Also, consider cleaning your lawn after mowing the grass to eliminate the risk of grass blades getting into your curious cat’s nose. Please read here: Why Do Cats Noses Get Wet When They Purr
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why is my cat sneezing so much all of a sudden?
A: If your cat is sneezing incessantly out of nowhere, an irritant may be present in the environment. Try taking your cat out for some fresh air and see if the sneezing will stop. If it didn’t, try checking its nose for foreign objects. However, avoid poking or forcing your cat’s nose. If the sneezing seems labored, a check-up with the veterinarian is the best move.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing so much?
A: If your cat is sneezing a lot, it probably encountered an irritant. If the sneezing doesn’t subside, your cat might be experiencing colds.
You must check with the vet as it can be a viral infection that your cat can transfer to other felines or pets in the house.
Q: Why is my indoor cat sneezing?
A: Indoor cats are sheltered pets, so they are not exposed to irritants as much as outdoor cats do. If your indoor feline is starting to have the sniffles, you should check the cleaning products you’re using at home. Your new perfume or house plant might be the culprits, too.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing out mucus?
A: Nasal discharge is a sign of nasal infection. Your cat’s nose releases mucus to expel the irritants in the nasal passage. This will affect your cat’s sense of smell, which will make it difficult for them to identify food. Make sure that you wipe the discharge off their nose and consult with your cat’s veterinarian.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing blood?
A: Bleeding from the nose of a cat is usually due to trauma after falling or bumping into a stiff object. However, if the bloody discharge is accompanied by uncontrollable sneezing, a foreign object may be stuck inside your cat’s nose. The vet is the best person to remove this to prevent further complications.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing and coughing?
A: Your cat may cough and sneeze at the same time if it inhaled and swallowed irritants. However, if your cat is gagging and coughing more, it might be dealing with hairballs. Coughing and sneezing that lingers for days is a sign of upper respiratory infection. This should be brought to the vet’s attention for proper treatment.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing all the time?
A: Isolated sneezing from time to time is normal. However, if your cat’s sniffles happen every day, it could be a sign of an infection or allergic reaction. Veterinarians will take a swab of your cat’s nasal discharge to diagnose the problem. It can be anything from bacterial, viral, to fungal infections.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing and watery eyes?
A: Sneezing, followed by a watery eye discharge is usually a sign of a viral infection. It could be a calicivirus or herpesvirus. Whatever the cause is, it requires immediate veterinarian care. It may also be accompanied by congestion, drooling, and poor appetite.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing so much lately?
A: If your cat has been sneezing in the past few days, your pet may be suffering from a viral infection. Less serious conditions include nose tickle, irritation, and allergies.
Q: Why is my cat drooling and sneezing?
A: An upper respiratory infection (URI) can lead to a slew of symptoms. This includes drooling, sneezing, squinting, and watery eyes. URI is rampant among cats in shelters and rescue facilities. If you just adopted a cat, it’s best to bring it to the vet right away for a general check-up.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing uncontrollably?
A: Uncontrollable sneezing happens when a foreign object gets stuck inside your cat’s nose. As long as the object is inside the cat’s nose, your pet will try to expel it through forceful and uncontrollable sneezing. This can be a bothersome feeling for your cat, which may affect its behavior, appetite, and overall health.
Q: Why is my cat sneezing and throwing up?
A: If your cat is sneezing and vomiting, your pet may be infected with feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). FIP is a highly contagious health condition caused by feline coronavirus (FCoV). The dry form of this condition can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, nasal discharge, eye problems, and seizures. You need the help of a veterinarian to deal with this problem, especially if you have a multi-cat household.
Why is my cat sneezing a lot? It could be due to irritants, allergies, or respiratory problems. Most sneezing cases aren’t severe, but if the symptoms linger on your cat, it’s best to consult with the vet. This will help prevent further complications and discomfort on the part of your pet.
Marco Vasquez is a passionate animal lover and writer with extensive experience in the pet care industry. He has worked with various pets, including dogs, cats, birds, and fish, and deeply understand their unique needs and behaviors. Marco’s love for animals has driven him to become an expert in pet health, nutrition, and behavior, and he is always eager to share his knowledge and insights with others. As a member of the Petcosset team, Marco brings his expertise to help pet owners make informed decisions about the well-being of their little friends. He enjoys hiking and spending time outdoors with his pets in his free time.