Just like humans, sneezing is pretty natural in cats too. When something irritates the nose, your cat will sneeze. But if your cat appears to be sneezing more than usual, it can be cause for concern. And while sneezing in itself is not a cause for concern, it is important that you, as a pet owner, keep an eye on your cat for signs of other symptoms.
Generally, sneezing is not connected to underlying health concerns, but it is always better to learn about the possible causes and when it may be time to take them to the vet.
Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing? 10 Possible Causes
#1. A Simple Nose Tickle
A simple tickle to your cat’s nose from some dust or a chemical irritant can lead to reflexive sneezing. The sneezing should be short-lived. Typically, Your cat will sneeze a couple of times and go about its day.
#2. A Noxious Smell
Sometimes, the reason why your cat keeps sneezing is because of an unpleasant or strong odor. Chemical solutions or cleaning fumes can cause the membranes of your cat’s nose and sinuses to flare up, and your cat will try to get rid of these noxious smells and irritants by sneezing.
#3. Dental Disease
If your cat has dental problems that impact a significant portion of your cat’s mouth, it can cause them to sneeze. For example, some dental diseases impact the gums, teeth, and roof of your cat’s mouth, causing your cat to sneeze and may even result in respiratory issues.
When your cat has severe dental problems, tooth extracting or dental cleaning are often recommended.
The feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus can cause respiratory infections in your cat. These viruses are highly contagious in the feline population, and some prominent symptoms of these viruses include sneezing and wheezing.
#5. Dust and Other Airborne Particles
The occasional sneezing can be caused by inhaled allergens or possible irritants in your home that get into your cat’s nasal passages. Such airborne irritants can trigger a random sneezing episode for your cat. But once the identified trigger has been eliminated, your cat’s nasal passages should feel relieved and the sneezing will stop.
Unfortunately, the list of potential irritants is long, and some cats are more sensitive than others. Some common irritants are dust, smoke, perfume, cleaning products, and even specific kinds of grass.
Be observant of your cat’s surroundings and activities before it goes into a sneezing fit so you can identify the possible culprit.
#6. A Foreign Object
If a foreign object gets stuck inside your cat’s nose and blocks its airways and nasal passages, your cat will try to get rid of it by sneezing repeatedly.
Usually, your cat will also start pawing at its face in an attempt to remove that intruding object. If you suspect that there might be something stuck inside your cat’s nose, try to check it using a flashlight.
And if you confirm that something is there, head to the vet immediately. Attempting to dislodge or remove it may cause more damage and even push the object further in.
#7. A Respiratory Infection
Most, if not all, upper respiratory tract infections can cause a sneezing fit in your cat. If your cat has a cold, it will start sneezing. Your cat may also have been exposed to pathogens, allergens, and bacteria that may add to the sneezing.
If your cat has been sneezing for more than a couple of days and is showing signs of being sick, schedule a visit to your veterinarian. If it is a respiratory infection, your cat will most likely be prescribed antibiotics.
#8. Inflammation of Nasal Cavity
Like humans, cats can also experience inflammatory conditions in the nasal cavity like sinusitis and rhinitis.
Rhinitis is when the mucous membranes of the notes get inflamed, much like a stuffy nose you would experience. Sinusitis, on the other hand, is when the lining of your sinuses gets irritated and swollen.
For cats, these two conditions occur together. The feline term for it is rhinosinusitis. Apart from the frequent sneezing, you will also notice your cat pawing at its face and nose and some yellow or green nasal discharges.
Your cat’s breathing may also be labored, causing your pet to breathe through its mouth and not through its nose.
#9. Allergies to Pollens
Cats being allergic to pollen is not common, but it can still cause frequent sneezing.
Sneezing, coughing, wheezing, and having watery eyes are typical indicators that your cat is allergic to pollen. Usually, your cat will have a sneezing episode after being outdoors or if you have a floral arrangement at home.
This is also common after the wet season when your home is full of indoor pollens in the form of mold.
#10. Intranasal Vaccines
If your cat has been administered intranasal vaccines, sneezing is one of its side effects. These vaccines are usually intended to prevent your cat from developing upper respiratory infections. Don’t worry. This goes away on its own.
Is It Normal for A Cat to Sneeze Multiple Times?
Sneezing multiple times is quite normal for a cat, especially if it happens occasionally.
Sneezing fits are also expected, but if your cat keeps on sneezing several times a day and it has been happening for a couple of days, you should schedule a vet check-up.
Will Cat Sneezing Go Away on Its Own?
Usually, yes, the sneezing should resolve on its own, especially if it is caused by irritants. The only time you need to be concerned is if your cat has been sneezing for several days in a row and you notice some behavioral changes.
If your cat is looking sick, anxious, or troubled as well as sneezing constantly, you should take your cat to your vet as soon as possible.
What Should You Do?
If your cat looks generally fine and behaves like its usual self but keeps on sneezing, be wary of any changes in its activities and your environment. Try to identify a pattern of when the sneezing fits would usually happen and where. It could be external irritants that you can help your cat avoid.
But if the sneezing becomes more persistent and seems to have an impact on your cat, then make an appointment with your vet so they can conduct tests to rule out any other health concerns and prescribe medications accordingly.
When To See the Vet
If the sneezing is persistent and accompanied by other unusual behaviors and symptoms like loss of appetite and being lethargic, then it’s time to visit the vet.
Your vet will help identify the cause and help ease your cat’s discomfort.