what does it mean when my cat sneezes

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

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.

Causes of Sneezing in Cats

Cat sneezes can have anything from minor causes like a dust particle tickling their nose to major ones like cancer. If your cat is just sneezing and not exhibiting any other symptoms, a minor issue is probably the cause.

  • “Nose tickle”
  • Strong, chemical smell
  • Allergies
  • Infections (viral or bacterial)
  • Dental disease
  • Foreign object
  • Cancer

We’ll go over each of these reasons in the sections that follow, along with when to call your veterinarian.

It might just be a tickle if your cat only sneezes a few times and there don’t appear to be any other symptoms. This may be brought on by their own fur, pollen, or dust. There is nothing serious about a nose tickle.

Strong chemical smells or other strong smells may cause your cat to react. They might not smell bad to you, but your cat might find them unpleasant. When they smell something strong that they don’t like, cats will sneeze.

Your cat might be reacting to the smell if they haven’t shown any other symptoms and you’ve recently cleaned or used perfume or air freshener.

Sneezing is a common symptom of allergies. Your cat may have allergies if they are sneezing more than usual and exhibit any of the following signs.

  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Runny eyes
  • Ear infections
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Snoring
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swollen paws
  • Sensitive paws
  • Excessive licking or grooming
  • Red skin
  • Dry skin
  • Excessive scratching

You can determine what type of allergy your cat has with the assistance of your veterinarian. Insect allergies, food allergies, and environmental allergies are the three primary categories.


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.

Will cat sneezing resolve on its own?

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.

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.

Do cats get colds and sneeze?

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.