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Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

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by Alexander Thompson
May 02, 2022
5 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
  • Causes of Sneezing in Cats and What to Do
  • Is My Cat Suffering From a Cold or Something Worse?
  • How Do You Treat Nasal Branches in Cats?
  • Other Important Treatment Tips
  • Conclusion
Your role as a cat parent doesn’t end with providing food and water – you are also responsible for keeping them healthy at all times. Sneezing occurs as a regular symptom in most mammals, especially when there is any form of nasal discomfort.
Cats are not left out – these beautiful creatures also sneeze occasionally, and this is fine. However, it becomes a problem when the sneezes become more frequent, for example, multiple times consecutively. These kinds of situations warrant your immediate action as the cat parent.

Causes of Sneezing in Cats and What to Do

The first inference you can draw from a sneezing cat is that something is wrong with their health. For example, they may be battling an allergy, chronic rhinitis, viral infection, or nasal discomforts. All of these are causes of frequent sneezing in cats.
The first step is to monitor closely and see if your cat is unwell. If they are, you should take a closer look to understand the cause. Sneezing often comes with a few common symptoms, making it tricky to determine the exact disease your cat is suffering from.
Below are some of the common causes and solutions of cat sneezes;
a sneezing cat

1. Allergy

Cats are not immune to allergens, especially those in their immediate environment. And like humans, the smell of irritants can force your cat to sneeze. The same happens when cats smell certain vapors or fumes in the atmosphere. While cats with an allergy will sneeze more frequently than those without one, allergy-influenced sneezes do not last, so you should not get worked up.

What Should You Do?

If you notice your cat sneezes only at a specific time and season of the year, it is most likely due to allergies. Therefore, consult your vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.

2. Viral Infection

Cats are also prone to infectious diseases, including those that spend almost all their time indoors. For example, feline upper respiratory infection is an infectious disease that comes with symptoms like fever, anorexia, mouth ulcers, cough, and watery eyes.
Contact with other wild cats is one of the major causes of viral infections in cats, especially in the case of calicivirus and herpes. These highly-contagious viral infections are associated with symptoms like frequent sneezing and runny nose in cats.

What Should You Do?

Take your cat to the vet for immediate and comprehensive treatment. The vet can examine your cat, determine the exact virus causing the sneezing, and then prescribe the proper treatment.

3. Chronic Rhinitis

Loud sneezes, loud breaths, and abnormal secretions in your cat’s nose all indicate the possibility of a bacterial infection. This situation requires immediate attention and effective treatment. Otherwise, it may develop into chronic rhinitis in the affected cat. Cats in this situation tend to sneeze frequently whenever they are uncomfortable, just like humans do when they have a nasal cold.

What Should You Do?

It is important to treat chronic rhinitis on time in cats, or else it turns into pneumonia. Once you notice your cat shows any of the symptoms mentioned above, arrange a visit to the veterinarian immediately for professional diagnosis and treatment.

4. Sinusitis

The sinuses are present at the back of your cat’s nose. When these get inflamed, it leads to sinusitis, which comes with symptoms like nasal congestion, frequent runny nose, painful breathing, and swollen nose bridge.

What Should You Do?

You can give your sneezing cat some anti-inflammatory medications in the first few days. However, if the symptoms persist, get your cat to a vet hospital as soon as possible.

5. Feline Chlamydia Infection

The feline chlamydia infection occurs in cats more frequently than we think, and the associated symptoms include the production of more eye mucus, nasal discharge, and sneezing. In cases where the symptoms are too severe, it may lead to inflammation of the respiratory system and conjunctivitis.

What Should You Do?

The highly contagious nature of the feline chlamydia infection means you should commence treatment immediately. Consult your vet on how to proceed.

6. Feline Calicivirus Infection

Cats with the feline calicivirus infection show symptoms like sneezing, fever, and running nose. If the infection is severe, they may also experience a significant increase in saliva production and a decrease in appetite.

What Should You Do?

Take your cat to the pet hospital as soon as possible. While your cat is at the vet, disinfect your home thoroughly and keep all other pets away – for about six months.

7. Feline Cryptococcosis

Cryptococcosis in cats comes with reduced appetite, bloody nasal discharge, purulent nasal discharge, sneezing, and other symptoms. The discomfort also extends to the respiratory system, leading to sudden snoring. The cat may experience eye diseases like retinal detachment, optic neuritis, ataxia, and spasms if it gets to the central nervous system.

What Should You Do?

Ensure prompt vaccination and regular deworming of the cat, both internally and externally. It would help if you also took the infected cat out of the house, so you do not contract the virus.

8. Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (Feline Nasal Branch)

The feline viral rhinotracheitis forces the cat’s body system to produce more mucus or tears. But that’s not all; the infected cat also shows symptoms like fever, bloodshot eyes, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing. Extreme cases may lead to rhinitis, conjunctivitis, keratitis, and other eye diseases.

What Should You Do?

It is important to note that the causative virus of the feline viral rhinotracheitis is highly infective with multiple infection routes. So, in addition to adequately treating your sick cat, you should also disinfect your home entirely and sundry your cat supplies.
a sneezing cat

Is My Cat Suffering From a Cold or Something Worse?

The early stage of most diseases comes with sneezing as a symptom. So, it can be tricky for cat owners to determine if their cat is suffering from cat nasal branch or just dealing with a cold
Here are three points to help you make the right call:
  • How frequent is the sneezing?
  • How long does the sneezing last without stopping?
  • Does the sneezing come with snot or nasal water?

How Do You Treat Nasal Branches in Cats?

Contrary to popular belief, the nasal branch in cats is not a dangerous situation. That said, early detection and prompt attention are vital to managing the problem effectively. The nasal branch has symptoms similar to the regular cold in cats. That is why new shit shoveling officers struggle to differentiate them.
Cold occurs in your cat when its body is cold. The symptoms, in this case, include nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing. It has little or nothing to do with appetite and the overall spirit of the cat.
Cats with nasal branches show early symptoms similar to that of the common cold – they sneeze and develop runny noses. However, these are not all. You will also notice fever, purulent discharge, conjunctivitis, secretion-blocked eyes, tearing of the eyes, paroxysmal cough, and higher body temperature.
Body temperature is the biggest distinguishing factor in the early days. Start by measuring the body temperature of the cat. Body temperatures of 39.5 degrees and above means you should visit a vet immediately for fever reduction. But temperatures between 38.5 and 39 degrees are not problematic.
a sneezing cat

Other Important Treatment Tips

Here are other things you should know and observe during treatment;

Avoid Bathing Your Cat

Bathing a sick or cold cat will only aggravate the situation and prolong the treatment. It can also be fatal in some cases.

Keep Your Cat Indoors

A cat’s resistance or immunity drops to its lowest when they are sick. They are more prone to bacterial and germ infections at this point, most of which cause skin diseases. Taking sick cats may also put other cats at risk.

Keep Taking Lysine

It is essential to take lysine consistently during treatment, but you may stop if there are no visible improvements.

Do Not Vaccinate

Only cats that are healthy and asymptomatic should be vaccinated. So, ensure your cat is fully cured before presenting it for vaccination.

Conclusion

Spring comes with the strongest wave of nasal branch outbreaks. That is why cat owners are advised to stay indoors more and ensure their cats do not have contact with wild or sick cats. Once you discover your cat is infected, the first thing to do is isolate it. Then disinfect the surroundings and set up a long-time treatment plan for the cat, starting with stabilization.
We must always take charge as pet parents. The health of our pets depends on our actions and inactions. This article serves as a guideline for every cat parent dealing with cold or similar sickness in cats. Remember, it is always recommended to consult a vet whenever you notice anything out of the ordinary.
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