Sneezing is a common occurrence in cats and can be caused by a variety of factors. While the occasional sneeze here and there is normal, frequent sneezing or other accompanying symptoms may indicate an underlying health issue, such as a viral upper respiratory infection.
In this blog, we will discuss exactly why your cat sneezes, remedies for sneezing cats, and tips for keeping your kitty healthy.
Why Do Cats Sneeze?
It's not uncommon for our feline friends to sneeze from time to time, but persistent or excessive sneezing could be a cause for concern.
Some common causes of cat sneezing include:
Just like humans, cats can have allergies too. Some common allergens for cats include pollen, dust mites, and mold. If your cat is sneezing more than usual or has other allergy symptoms, such as red eyes or itchy skin, they may be allergic to something in their environment.
Upper Respiratory Infections
Upper respiratory infections, or URIs, are another common cause of sneezing in cats. Viruses or bacteria can cause these infections, which can lead to various symptoms including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
What Is an Upper Respiratory Infection?
An upper respiratory infection is a contagious illness that affects the nose, throat, and sinuses. Cats can catch URIs from other cats through direct contact, sharing food or water bowls, or even just being close to an infected cat.
Cats are curious creatures that love to explore their surroundings. If your cat has something stuck in their nose or throat, it can irritate that area and lead to sneezing. Common foreign objects that can cause sneezing include grass, dust, or even a small toy.
If you suspect your cat has something stuck in their nose or throat, it's important to seek veterinary care.
Believe it or not, dental disease, bacterial infections, or poor dental hygiene can also cause cats to sneeze. If your cat has an infected tooth or gum disease, the bacteria from these issues can travel to the sinuses and cause sneezing.
If your cat has even mild symptoms such as bad breath, it's worth getting their teeth checked by a veterinarian.
Why Do Dental Issues Cause Sneezing?
The roots of our cat's teeth are connected to their nasal passages, so when there is an infection or inflammation in the mouth, it can also affect the sinuses.
Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths that can occur in a cat's nasal passages. These growths can cause irritation and inflammation, leading to sneezing. If your cat has chronic sneezing along with difficulty breathing or discharge from their nose, they may have nasal polyps.
How Do Cats Get Nasal Polyps?
The exact cause of nasal polyps in cats is unknown, but it's believed that they can develop as a result of chronic inflammation or infection.
Fungal infections, such as Aspergillosis, can also cause sneezing in cats. Although more common in outdoor cats (as they may have an increased exposure to fungi such as mold), these infections also occur in indoor cats when they inhale spores from moldy food or litter.
Some viral infections, such as Feline Herpesvirus, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or Calicivirus, can also cause sneezing in cats. It's important to note that a bacterial infection is highly contagious and can easily spread among cats.
If your cat is showing signs of a viral infection, such as sneezing, fever, or lack of appetite, it's important to keep them isolated from other cats and seek veterinary care.
Remedies for Cat Sneezing
If your cat is sneezing due to an allergy or upper respiratory infection, there are some remedies you can try at home to help ease their discomfort. However, if your cat's sneezing persists or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's important to seek veterinary care.
A humidifier can help add moisture to the air and soothe your cat's irritated nasal passages. Be sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent any mold or bacteria growth.
Saline Nasal Drops
Just like humans, saline nasal drops can help clear out your cat's nasal passages and provide relief. Be sure to use a pet-safe saline solution and follow the instructions carefully.
Steam therapy can also help loosen up any mucus in your cat's nose and provide relief. You can create a steam room for your cat by running a hot shower and sitting with them in the bathroom for a few minutes.
Consult with A Veterinarian
If your cat's sneezing is persistent or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, it's best to consult with a veterinarian. They can properly diagnose the cause of your cat's sneezing and provide appropriate treatment.
Keeping Your Kitty Healthy
Prevention is always better than cure, and there are steps you can take to help keep your kitty healthy and reduce their chances of developing sneezing episodes.
Regular Vet Visits
Regular check-ups with your veterinarian can help catch any underlying health issues early on. Vets recommend bringing your cat in for a check-up at least once a year.
Make sure your cat is up to date on all their vaccinations. Some diseases, such as feline herpesvirus, can cause upper respiratory infections and sneezing.
Clean Food and Water Bowls
Regularly cleaning your cat's food and water bowls will help prevent any bacteria growth. We recommend washing them daily with hot water and soap.
Groom Your Cat Regularly
Regular grooming can help reduce the amount of allergens on your cat's fur. Use a pet-safe brush or wipe down their fur with a damp cloth to remove any dander or pollen.
A well-balanced diet is essential for your cat's overall health. Make sure you are feeding them a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs.
What Does A Well-Balanced Diet Look Like?
A well-balanced diet for cats includes a combination of protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, by incorporating supplements such as omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics, you can help support your cat's immune system and keep their respiratory health in tip-top shape.
Why Are These Supplements Important In Maintaining Good Health?
Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and can support a healthy respiratory system. Probiotics, on the other hand, promote good gut health and can help boost your cat's immune system, which will further help prevent infections and allergies.
Stress can weaken your cat's immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses. Ensure that your cat has a comfortable and stress-free environment, with plenty of toys and hiding spots.
How Can I Reduce Stress In My Cat?
Provide your cat with plenty of mental and physical stimulation, such as interactive toys and playtime. Additionally, make sure they have a quiet and safe space to retreat to when needed.
If you have multiple cats, ensure that they each have their own designated spaces to avoid any conflicts or stressors.
Change Their Litter Regularly
Cats are sensitive to strong smells, and a dirty litter box can be a source of stress for them. Make sure to scoop out the litter box daily and completely change the litter at least once a week.
What Type Of Litter Should I Use?
This can vary depending on your cat's preferences, but it's generally recommended that you use unscented litter made of natural materials (such as clay, corn, or wheat).
Keep the House Clean
Regularly dust, vacuum, and mop your home to keep allergens at bay. This can help reduce the chances of your cat developing allergies or respiratory issues. Also, make sure to wash their bedding regularly in hot water.
Can my cat catch a cold from me?
No, cats cannot catch the same viruses that cause the common cold in humans.
Is it normal for my cat to have discharge from their nose when they sneeze?
It depends on the type and color of the discharge. If it is clear or milky white, it is likely just excess mucus and therefore nothing to worry about. However, if the discharge is yellow or green, it could indicate an infection, meaning you should consult with a veterinarian.
Is there a specific breed of cat that is more prone to sneezing?
No, any breed of cat can develop sneezing episodes. However, cats with shorter noses or flat faces (such as Persians) may have more respiratory issues due to their anatomy.
Can stress cause my cat to sneeze?
Yes, stress can weaken your cat's immune system and make them more susceptible to respiratory infections and allergies.
Is it normal for kittens to sneeze more often than adult cats?
Kittens have developing immune systems, so they may be more prone to sneezing as their body learns to fight off infections. However, if you notice excessive sneezing or other symptoms in your kitten, it's best to consult with a veterinarian.
Can my cat develop allergies later in life?
Yes, just like humans, cats can develop allergies at any point in their lives. If you notice your cat suddenly experiencing sneezing or other allergy symptoms, it's best to consult with a veterinarian for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Can my cat's allergies be triggered by certain foods?
Yes, food allergies or toxins can cause sneezing in cats. If you suspect your cat has a food allergy, speak to a veterinarian about an elimination diet to identify the specific allergen.
Can smoking affect my cat's respiratory health?
Yes, secondhand smoke can irritate your cat's respiratory system and increase their risk of developing allergies or infections.
Will my cat always need to take medication for their allergies?
It depends on the cause and severity of their allergies. Some cats may only require occasional medication during allergy season, while others may require it year-round.
Our Final Message to Cat Owners
While sneezing in cats can be common and usually isn't a cause for concern, it's important to pay attention to any changes in frequency or severity. If your cat experiences other symptoms along with sneezing, such as loss of appetite or lethargy, it's best to consult with a veterinarian.
Taking the necessary precautions and keeping your cat healthy through regular grooming, a balanced diet, and a clean environment can help prevent sneezing and other respiratory issues in your furry friend. With proper care and attention, your cat can live a happy and healthy life without constant sneezing!