Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing

icon October 27, 2023

Cats are known for their grace, agility, and independence, but just like humans, they are not immune to health issues. One common concern that cat owners may encounter is when their feline companion starts sneezing frequently. While an occasional sneeze is perfectly normal, persistent sneezing can be a cause for concern. In this article, we will explore the various reasons why your cat might keep sneezing and what you can do to help them.

Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing: Common Causes

Before diving into the reasons behind your cat's sneezing fits, it's essential to understand that sneezing is a reflexive action that helps clear the nasal passages of irritants. Here are some of the most common causes of sneezing in cats:

A. Foreign Objects

Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they can sometimes get their noses into places where they don't belong. In doing so, they might inhale or sniff foreign objects, such as dust, pollen, or even small particles of food. These foreign objects can trigger sneezing as the body tries to expel them.

B. Allergies

Just like humans, cats can suffer from allergies. Common allergens for cats include pollen, dust mites, mold, and certain foods. Allergies can cause inflammation in the nasal passages, leading to sneezing as the body attempts to remove the irritants.

C. Respiratory Infections

Respiratory infections, such as the feline herpes virus or calicivirus, are common culprits for sneezing in cats. These infections can lead to symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing. If your cat is sneezing excessively and also displays other signs of illness, it's important to consult a veterinarian.

D. Irritants and Chemicals

Exposure to irritants or chemicals, such as household cleaners, strong odors, or cigarette smoke, can cause sneezing in cats. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and their noses are sensitive to environmental changes.

E. Dental Problems

Surprisingly, dental issues can lead to sneezing in cats. If a cat has a toothache or a dental abscess, it may lead to nasal irritation and sneezing.

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F. Nasal Polyps

Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths in the nasal passages that can obstruct airflow and cause sneezing. These growths can sometimes be visible if you look up your cat's nostrils.

When Should I Worry About My Cat Sneezing

It's essential to differentiate between an occasional sneeze and persistent, repetitive sneezing. If your cat sneezes once in a while, it's usually nothing to worry about. However, if your cat's sneezing becomes frequent, and severe, or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's time to consult your veterinarian.

Here are some red flags that should prompt a veterinary visit:

- Persistent sneezing for more than a day or two.
- Nasal discharge, especially if it's colored or has a foul odor.
- Coughing, wheezing, or labored breathing.
- Lethargy and loss of appetite.
- Squinting, watery eyes, or eye discharge.
- Swelling or visible abnormalities in or around the nose.

How To Treat Cat With Runny Nose: Diagnosis and Treatment

If your cat's sneezing is causing concern, your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause. This may include a physical examination, blood tests, and possibly imaging like X-rays or nasal endoscopy.

The treatment for sneezing in cats depends on the diagnosis:

A. Foreign Objects: If a foreign object is the cause, the vet may try to remove it and prescribe medications to reduce inflammation or prevent infection.

B. Allergies: Allergy management may involve identifying and eliminating allergens in the cat's environment. Antihistamines or corticosteroids may also be prescribed to alleviate symptoms.

C. Respiratory Infections: Viral infections like feline herpesvirus have no cure, but symptoms can be managed with antiviral medications and supportive care. Bacterial infections may require antibiotics.

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D. Irritants and Chemicals: Remove or reduce exposure to irritants, and your veterinarian may prescribe medication to relieve symptoms.

E. Dental Problems: Dental issues are treated with dental care, including extractions if necessary, and may involve pain management and antibiotics.

F. Nasal Polyps: Nasal polyps may require surgical removal, which can be a more complex procedure depending on the size and location of the polyps.

Preventing Sneezing in Cats

Prevention is often the best course of action when it comes to keeping your cat healthy and minimizing sneezing. Here are some steps you can take:

A. Allergen Management: Identify and reduce allergens in your cat's environment. This may involve using air purifiers, vacuuming regularly, and keeping windows closed during peak pollen seasons.

B. Dental Care: Maintain your cat's oral health by providing regular dental check-ups and cleanings. Good dental hygiene can prevent dental issues that may lead to sneezing.

C. Vaccination: Ensure your cat is up to date with vaccinations, particularly if there is a risk of respiratory infections.

D. Environmental Control: Keep your home environment clean and free from toxic chemicals or strong odors that could irritate your cat's nasal passages.

E. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule routine veterinary check-ups to catch any potential health issues early. Early detection can prevent many conditions from progressing to the point of causing excessive sneezing.


While the occasional sneeze is a natural response to irritants, persistent sneezing in your cat can be a sign of an underlying problem. Understanding the potential causes and when to seek veterinary care is crucial for your pet's health and well-being. Remember that prevention is often the best approach, and maintaining a clean, allergen-free environment can go a long way in keeping your feline friend sneeze-free. If you ever have concerns about your cat's health, don't hesitate to consult with a veterinarian to ensure your furry companion leads a happy and healthy life.

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