Here is when your cat sneezing is a sign of trouble

Mádi-Krezinger Cintia

2024. February 21 - Photos: Getty Images Hungary

Does your cat sneeze too? If your pet occasionally sneezes, you probably have nothing to worry about. But there may be cases where prompt veterinary examination and treatment is essential.


As with humans and other animals, sneezing is perfectly natural with cats as well. There’s no need to worry if the animal sneezes occasionally, and in general, even if it sneezes frequently for an hour or two, but then is subsides, you don’t have to think of the worst. But if the sneezing persists for several days, it’s time for a vet visit.

What can cause sneezing?

The most common cause of sneezing, like allergic symptoms in pet owners, is airborne dust. If you notice that your favourite is sneezing more often than usual, the first thing to do is to rule out the possibility that dust is causing the problem. Other environmental causes might also be responsible for sneezing – provided that you don’t see any other signs of illness in your cat.

If you are using a different type of litter, your cat may be sensitive to the new product. Some cats may sneeze from the fragrance in scented cat litter, but dust rising from a sandy, softer litter can also irritate the animal’s nose.

Also think about whether you have used a product recently that was not present in your home before. A new type of cleaner, a stronger fabric softener, or even a scented candle or incense can irritate your pet’s nose, causing them to sneeze. Choose fragrance-free or products with a milder aroma that your cat will tolerate better.

And if you notice that it’s time for a clean-up don’t put it off any longer.

Worrying cases

If you’ve ruled out all the external factors at home but your pet is still sneezing, there could be a number of reasons why they need to see a vet as soon as possible. In particular, you should not delay the investigation if, in addition to the sneezing, symptoms such as a runny nose, or discharge from the eyes appear.

Sneezing can be caused by problems such as

  • upper respiratory tract infection,
  • foreign body in the airways,
  • some kind of disorder,
  • cancer (such as squamous cell carcinoma or lymphoma).

Of course, you shouldn’t immediately think the worst, but it is essential to examine the animal so that a specialist can make a diagnosis as soon as possible and, if necessary, start treating the cat as soon as possible.

Upper respiratory tract infections often cause sneezing, which results in the cat spitting up yellowish or greenish drool. The eyes may become glassy, watery and yellow or green discharge may also appear. Breathing may also be heavier and louder.

These infections are the most common causes of persistent sneezing. Very similar to the human cold – but we know that colds, as such, do not exist. There is always an infection at the root of the illness. In the case of cats, it is most often feline herpesvirus or calicivirus.

Untreated infections and other illnesses can quickly become serious.

Treatment of sneezing caused by illness

After a proper diagnosis, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, or even nasal or eye drops, depending on the underlying cause of the symptoms.

If the cat’s condition does not improve after the initial treatment, further tests may be needed. In addition to laboratory tests, in some cases a rhinoscopy, an endoscopic examination of the nose, may be necessary. This involves inserting a tiny camera into the animal’s nose under anaesthesia to reveal the presence of any foreign bodies, but the examination can also reveal anatomical deformities, nasal polyps or tumours.

cat sneezing cold sneezing

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