what does it mean when cats sneeze

WHAT CAUSES A CAT TO SNEEZE? Our feline friends sneeze for the same reasons humans do: usually an itch in the nose, prompted by suspended particles in the air such as dust, smoke or even their own cat fur. Sneezing is a normal, biological function when it occurs infrequently.

Sneezing and Other Symptoms

Sneezing in cats can have a variety of accompanying symptoms, including infections and other issues. These symptoms may include:

  • Eye discharge, swelling, or ulcers
  • excessive nasal discharge that can occasionally be green or yellow in color and indicate a bacterial infection
  • Fatigue or depression
  • Fever
  • Drooling
  • Decreased appetite or weight loss
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Poor coat condition
  • Trouble breathing
  • Diarrhea

When to See the Vet

You might want to just keep an eye on your cat for a few days if they only sneeze occasionally, show no other symptoms, or show very minor symptoms. Keep your cat indoors and watch for changes. However, if your cat sneezes frequently or constantly, sneezes blood, or exhibits other symptoms like those mentioned above, make sure to contact the veterinarian. They might indicate a disease or other issue that requires veterinary attention.

Treatment depends on the cause of the sneezing. In minor situations, the veterinarian might advise taking basic comfort measures for your cat, such as using a humidifier. In other situations, you might need to take steroids, antihistamines, fluids, or antibiotics. Surgery is rarely necessary for cats who don’t respond to medical therapy.

Infections (Viral or Bacterial)

Infections can cause your cat to sneeze. They will usually be partnered with other symptoms.

  • Feline Herpesvirus type-1 (FVR)
  • Feline Calicivirus (FCV)

Both viral and bacterial infections have similar symptoms. These include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal Discharge
  • Discharge from eyes
  • Inflammation of eyelids
  • Ulcers
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Difficulty breathing

Sneezing can be caused by any of the three primary forms of dental disease in cats. Although dental disease is a common issue in cats, it is easily treatable and preventable if detected early.

Cats can get gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption. If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms, it could be one of these:

  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums
  • Inflamed gums
  • Bleeding in the mouth
  • Pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty eating

If gingivitis is not treated, periodontitis and possibly tooth resorption will result. When a tooth starts to disintegrate and decay, it is called tooth resorption. It is too late to save the tooth by the time this appears. On the other hand, dental care and tooth extraction could preserve more teeth.

Your cat may sneeze if something foreign gets lodged in their throat or nasal passage. Your cat may also cough. It might seem like they’re attempting to extricate a hairball. In severe cases, they may also have trouble breathing.

Contact your veterinarian right away if you think a foreign object is the cause of the choking because it can be fatal. Rather than becoming more loose, the object might become more embedded.

Cats with cancer have occasionally been observed to sneeze. These are the other symptoms to watch out for, though they are not as common.

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Lack or loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Lumps
  • Lethargy
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Wounds don’t heal

Cat cancer varies due to its numerous forms and causes. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is one of the causes. Luckily, FeLV is rare.


When should I worry about my cat sneezing?

Cats, like people and other animals, sneeze to clear irritating substances from their nasal passages. An occasional sneeze here or there is nothing to worry about, but sneezing that persists or is accompanied by other illness signs may indicate a problem.

How do I know if my cat has a cold?

Cats with colds may have symptoms including coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, and sometimes fever. For many cats, these symptoms are will go away on their own in about 7-10 days. However, some cats may experience complications, such as a secondary bacterial infection or pneumonia.

What to do if a cat sneezes in your eye?

Unless you have a compromised immune system, are an infant or elderly, you should have no problems of going blind. It would be advisable to wash yourself with soap and water, not so much to protect yourself, but to ensure you don’t pass something along to other cats.

How can I help my sneezing cat?

Keep the living area clean and free of dust particles and foreign matter that can be inhaled. This will protect your cat’s nasal and throat passages from further aggravation. The use of a humidifier, a vaporizer, or the steam from a hot shower may help your cat breathe more easily.