Every cat owner chuckles and smiles when their favorite feline sneezes. The sound and the reaction of the cat are endearing. However, constant sneezing can be a concern because it can indicate something is going on with their health.
What should I do if my cat keeps sneezing? Generally, there shouldn’t be any worries if your cat sneezes every once in a while. However, a cat that sneezes continually will need a trip to the vet to check for illness or allergies.
Read the article below to see when you should get worried and take further action.
Things That Make Cats Sneeze
Cats aren’t unlike humans in why they sneeze. Some sneeze when they come across an element that irritates them, like pepper, dust, or pollen. Cats can also sneeze when they are excited or if there is a dramatic change in temperature such as coming inside to air conditioning after being outside in hot weather.
None of that is unusual. A constantly sneezing cat is out of the norm and should be investigated if it continues.
A range of possibilities exists for why a cat may constantly sneeze. Some possibilities are series while others can be easily treated with medication. There are some things you can do to narrow down the issues to discuss with your vet.
Cats can sneeze due to the following:
- Tooth problems
- Infection or sickness
- Airway blockage
- Toxin exposure
It’s important to look at each possibility to determine what is causing your cat to sneeze.
Cats can be like humans in that they can be allergic to things much the same way we are, although allergies aren’t as common in felines as they are in humans. This goes beyond the occasional sneeze after rubbing up against a blooming plant.
Felines can have spring and fall allergies as well as be allergic to things they come across every day including dust, pollen, grass, mold, candles, cleaning products, perfume, their litter box, and even certain cat foods.
You will need to determine what is causing your kitty to sneeze by looking for patterns. That means figuring out what your cat is around when it starts sneezing. Pay attention if your cat sneezes after you dust, light a candle, or when she exits the litter box.
Allergies will also produce dry skin patches, which can be red and scaley.
One thing to note is that cats can sneeze repeatedly within four to seven days after being vaccinated with an intranasal vaccine. They shouldn’t sneeze more than a few days after receiving it.
Tooth issues may also cause sneezing. This is caused when inflammation results in drainage. The drainage moves into the sinuses and that causes the cat to sneeze.
Pet owners should have their cat’s teeth checked as part of the feline’s annual exam. Some cats may need their teeth cleaned and others may need a bad tooth pulled. Your veterinarian can see if there is an infection by inspecting your cat’s mouth.
Infection or Sickness
Cats can get sick like their human family. They can get colds, flu, and any number of other infections. Infections or sicknesses will have other symptoms beyond sneezing. While a cold or flu typically only lasts around 48 hours for a cat, an infection will last longer. The most common infection for felines is an upper respiratory infection.
Most advise taking your cat to the vet if it remains sick past a couple of days without explanation.
You can determine if there’s an infection or illness by taking an up-close look at your pet. Look for eye discharge and congestion, which are signs of both colds and upper respiratory infections.
An upper respiratory infection also causes the cat to produce green or yellow mucus when they sneeze. Her eyes may be teary or glassy. Its eyes could also produce green or yellow mucus.
One thing to be aware of is whether your cat is breathing loudly or seems to be breathing hard and heavy. These are key signs of an upper respiratory infection.
Other symptoms of infection or sickness are fatigue, feature, drooling, decreased weight, coughing, diarrhea, and a poor coat. You will need to take your cat to the vet to treat them properly.
The vet will likely take a swab of body fluid from the throat, eyes, or mouth to send to a lab to see what kind of infection it is. The vet will likely put your pet on antibiotics to clear the infection.
Types of Infections
Infections are either bacterial, fungal, or viral. Colds and infections are more common in younger cats and are especially common in cats that are adopted from animal shelters.
The two most common infections in cats are feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus. Herpes is passed from infected cat to cat. It can’t be passed to humans. Calicivirus is highly contagious among cats. That infection is accompanied by mouth ulcers but can also cause pneumonia.
Other infections that cats can catch include feline infectious peritonitis, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), feline leukemia, Bordetella, Chlamydia, and Mycoplasma.
Cats eat a lot of things, even things you don’t know about. They can prowl around outside and steal a morsel from a neighbor’s garbage can. They also eat grass and can eat some of the prey they kill, although that isn’t as probable as a well-fed domesticated cat.
Anything that gets stuck in a cat’s airway can irritate the animal and cause it to sneeze repeatedly. A vet will need to extract it to clear up issues. They will first put the cat under anesthesia and then will insert a small camera into the nasal passages to look for foreign matter.
The vet can remove the object during this procedure. There is always a possibility of the cat having other issues besides a foreign object in its airways. It could have swelling, a deformity, nasal polyps, or a tumor.
Some rare cases may result in an advanced CT scan or another surgery.
Many homes have common items that are toxic to cats. Increased exposure to them can cause sneezing and other problems. Cats are infamous for crawling into cabinets where people have cleaning products and other items that are dangerous to cats.
Toxin exposure will produce more effects than sneezing. It typically results in a lack of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, and drooling. It can also produce neurological issues like tremors, seizures, lethargy, excitability, and incoordination.
Toxins affect cats after they ingest them or they come in contact with their skin.
Cancer is rare in cats and is the last thing to consider when a cat sneezes. Cancer has other symptoms beyond sneezing like swollen glands, lethargy, and pain.
Cancers can be either slow growing or aggressive. It would take a vet to diagnose cancer and offer treatment options.
You shouldn’t panic when your cat starts sneezing. Look to see if it’s an allergy first and try to eliminate infection by examining your pet for other symptoms. Most sneezing should clear up within three to four days.
Take your cat to the vet if there are signs of infection or if the sneezing doesn’t clear up in a few days.