The occasional sneeze from your cat is pretty normal, and usually it is nothing that cat owners need to worry too much about. However, frequent sneezing fits in cats can be a sign of a medical condition in some cases. There are actually more causes for sneezing in cats than what many cat lovers have likely previously believed.
Most of the time sneezing in cats is harmless and is just a sign that they have some nose irritation. However, sneezing in cats can sometimes also be a sign of something more serious such as a cat having a foreign body in their nose.
In this article we will be describing all of the common causes for sneezing in cats. We will also be going into detail into some medical conditions that could potentially cause a cat to sneeze, and we will explain when you should take your cat to the vet for sneezing as well. Let’s get into it!
Common Causes For Sneezing In Cats
There are about six common causes for sneezing in cats. Some of these causes are harmless such as nose irritation and intranasal vaccines.
However, sometimes sneezing can be a sign of something more serious in cats such as allergies, an upper respiratory infection, dental disease, or even a foreign body in the cat’s nose. Here are the most common causes for sneezing in cats.
Just like humans, sometimes something will simply be irritating a cat’s nose and cause them to sneeze. Things like dust feathers, and a tickle in the nose do not just affect humans, but it can cause our feline friends to sneeze as well. This is possibly the most common cause for sneezing in cats, especially if it is just the occasional one.
Intranasal vaccines work by shooting a liquid form of a vaccine up your cat’s nose. This can cause a lot of nasal irritation, especially if your cat has just received a vaccine like this. Although this is not normally any cause for concern, you may want to call your vet about this if the sneezing is still going on a few hours after your cat has received the vaccine.
Allergies are actually a more common problem in cats than many people may think, and this is another very common cause for sneezing in cats.
There are three different types of allergies in cats, and these include food allergies, environmental allergies, and flea allergies. Most of the time sneezing in cats is caused by environmental allergies.
Some other common signs of environmental allergies in cats besides sneezing include:
- Coughing and wheezing
- Red, itchy eyes
- Runny eyes
- Swollen and itchy paws
- Itchy skin
- Excessive grooming
- Excessive scratching
- Hair loss
- Dry, red skin
- Signs of atopic dermatitis (severe)
Luckily, allergies are also very treatable when you take your cat to the vet. There are a wide variety of treatments and medications for allergies in cats available that will reduce their symptoms and get them back to normal.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Many different upper respiratory infections can affect cats and also cause them to sneeze. The good thing is that most of the time upper respiratory infections in cats are very treatable. This is especially true when they are caught and treated by a vet early on.
However, it is also important to note that upper respiratory infections are contagious among cats. This means that you may want to quarantine a cat from other cats when they are showing signs of being sick.
Here are some other common signs of an upper respiratory infection in cats in addition to sneezing.
- Nasal discharge
- Eye discharge
- Itchy eyes
- A strange meow (usually sounds hoarse)
- Appearing lethargic
- A reduced appetite
- Drooling or gagging on saliva
It is important to note that some diseases causing upper respiratory infections may have some unique symptoms that do not appear on the above list. It is always best to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect that they have an upper respiratory infection for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Additionally, you may also need to get other cats in your home tested as well if they may have come into contact with your sick cat.
Although it may seem surprising, dental disease can also cause excessive sneezing in cats. This is because the nasal cavity lies very close to the roots of a cat’s teeth, leading to nose irritation when these roots become infected.
Here are some of the other common signs of dental disease to look out for in cats besides excessive sneezing.
- Foul smelling breath
- Noticeable signs of plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth
- Pawing at the mouth or rubbing their mouth on things
- red and inflamed gums
- Bleeding gums
- Showing difficulty eating
- Reduced appetite
- Swelling under the eyes
Although dental disease is not always curable in cats, vets can normally help to manage a cat’s symptoms and make them feel more comfortable. Additionally, a vet can also prevent a cat’s dental disease from getting worse by performing a professional teeth cleaning and other dental services.
A Foreign Body
Sometimes a cat will also sneeze excessively if they have something large that is lodged in their nose. Excessive sneezing occurs because it is the body’s natural response to try and remove the object.
A foreign body in your cat’s nose almost always requires a quick trip to the urgent care vet clinic or emergency vet. This is because you do not want to risk the item from going farther up your cat’s nose or risk them inhaling the object.
When To See A Vet About Your Cat’s Sneezing
Although not every cause for a cat’s sneezing necessarily requires a trip to the vet, there are some situations where you will need to take your cat to the vet for their sneezing. These situations include:
- If your cat is showing signs of allergies
- If your cat is showing symptoms of an upper respiratory infection
- If your cat is showing signs of dental disease
- If your cat has a foreign body in their nose
In addition to these causes for sneezing, you should also take your cat to the vet if they are simply sneezing a lot and you do not know the cause behind it. This is because sometimes a cat will not show many signs of an illness or medical condition, and sneezing may be a cat’s only symptom in some cases.