When your cat sneezes, it could be any number of reasons, not the least of which is allergies or dust. As you say ‘bless you’ to your feline buddy, you wonder why it sneezed and if your cat is okay. Why do cats sneeze – and sometimes multiple times, and do you need to call your vet for a checkup?
Cats sneeze because of dust, allergies, a respiratory infection, or a simple nose tickle. If you have cleaned your home recently with cleaners, your cat might be sneezing because of the chemical smell, or your cat’s sinuses might be clogged due to a bad tooth or an illness.
In most cases, a cat’s sneeze is nothing to worry about. Still, to be sure it is nothing more than dust, read further to know whether or not you should call your vet.
Like humans, cats have allergies to certain things in the house or outside. However, unlike humans, allergies are not a common reason for cats to sneeze. Allergies in cats show up as skin lesions and irritations, hair loss, and severe itchiness. Sometimes, in rare cases, watery eyes and sneezing in cats can result from hay fever, which can be caused by pollen or mold.
Irritants can also cause your cat to sneeze, such as:
- Cigarette smoke
- Dusty cat litter
- Perfume or cologne
- Chemicals, such as cleaners
- Candles and incense
Each cat is different, and there is not an exact way of knowing if your cat has allergies or is just irritated by what is going on in your home. However, it can be a safe bet that if you are sneezing due to certain irritants, your cat might be sneezing because of those same irritants.
If you want to be sure it is only irritants or allergies, call your vet for an appointment, as it could be something more serious than allergies, such as a sinus infection.
Have you ever had a tickle in your nose and sneezed? Cats have the same thing. The tickle might come from dust in the air or the nervous system working overtime. At any rate, when your cat sneezes, it could be because your cat has a tickle in its nose.
However, that does not mean you need to take sneezes lightly, as they could be a symptom of a more serious problem, like a respiratory infection. If the sneeze is an isolated event or happens only once in a while, then there should be nothing to worry about.
Sneezing could indicate a respiratory infection, especially if it is accompanied by wheezing or coughing. If your cat is wheezing and sneezing together, it could mean that the infection is in the lower respiratory area. However, if your cat is coughing and sneezing, it could mean that your cat has a post-nasal drip in the upper respiratory area, and the throat is irritated.
Nasal discharge can also signify a respiratory infection, so when your cat sneezes, check its face for any mucus or bloody discharge. Before cleaning it up, please take a picture of it to show the vet, as it could narrow down the possible causes of the sneezing. Once you take the picture, you will need to clean your cat’s face, as that makes your cat uncomfortable.
Fungal infections are another possible cause of sneezing, which is normally found in the nose. The most common fungal infection in cats is the Cryptococcus strain, which is easier to treat than a bacterial infection. Only your vet can determine if your cat has this type of infection.
A dusty home can make almost anyone sneeze, so if your cat is sneezing more often than normal, it might mean that your home is too dusty. Even if you have dusted recently, there could still be slight dust mites that your cat breathes in that irritate it. If this is why your cat sneezes, then there should be nothing to worry about, and you can carry on as normal.
However, if your home is super dusty, and you and your cat are both sneezing, it might be time to clean up. If you use cleaning cloths that trap dust, it will be easier to get all the dust. Your cat will probably be a lot more comfortable if you do.
The most common reason your cat’s sinuses would be clogged is that it has a cold or respiratory infection, as mentioned above, or the sinus cavity could be inflamed, which could result in clogged sinuses. The signs of clogged sinuses might include:
- Coughing, which could indicate the nasal cavity is dripping down into the throat
- No appetite because if a cat cannot smell its food, it won’t want to eat
- The sneezing does not stop, or your cat sneezes more often than normal
- Your cat’s eyes water and its nose is dripping
If your cat displays any of these symptoms, you might want to take it to your vet to rule out any infection or a more serious illness.
When you are cleaning your home with chemicals, your cat might be suffering from them, as they have over 200 more scent receptors in their nose than humans have. They can tell when something is not right and have been known to wake up their humans when there was carbon monoxide poisoning or when someone was about to go into a diabetic coma.
So, when you are cleaning your home with chemicals, it should not surprise you much to hear your cat sneeze. Some chemicals are stronger than others and could trigger an allergic response in your cat. Even if it does not have an allergy to chemicals, the smell could make it sneeze.
To avoid this in the future, try cleaning with lemon juice and vinegar or other natural cleaners. It will not irritate your cat, and your cat will be happier without a constant sneezing attack.
When Should You Call Your Vet?
Sneezing is not unusual behavior for any creature, including cats, and a random sneeze is no cause for alarm. However, the issue comes when your cat starts displaying other symptoms, such as a fever, wheezing, coughing, bloody nasal discharge, or green mucus coming from the eyes or nose. Below, you will find some symptoms that should prompt you to call your vet.
- Bloody nasal discharge
- Difficulty in breathing
- Mucus discharge from the nose or eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dehydration or refusal to drink water
- Pawing at their face
Any of the above symptoms could indicate that your cat has an infection or is very ill. It could have a respiratory infection, or it could have cancer. Until a vet can examine your cat, you might want to wait on worrying about it too much or making your diagnosis.
Vets can also vaccinate your cat against further infections and can prescribe medications if your cat is sick.
Cats often sneeze for very innocent reasons, most of the time. If your cat seems to have a sneezing pattern when you clean or open a window, it could be allergic to something. Also, if your cat shows symptoms, as mentioned in this article, you will want to call your vet.
There is no reason to worry about your cat, as nine times out of ten, it could be related to simple things like dust or pollen in the air, or it could be from your cat scratching itself and stirring up its fur.
- Blue Pearl Vet: Why Is My Cat Sneezing?
- WebMD: Cat Sneezing: Respiratory Infections, Allergens, and Other Causes
- Ponderosa Vet Clinic: My Cat is Sneezing: When to Be Concerned
- PetMD: Cat Sneezing: Why Cats Sneeze and What to Do
- Leo’s Pet Care: When to Take a Sneezing Cat to the Vet
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.