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Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

Are you noticing your feline friend sneezing more frequently than usual? A cat’s sneeze may be cute, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, it can also be a cause for concern. This article will explore why your cat might be sneezing and guide you towards an appropriate course of action.

So, if you’re worried about it, read on to understand more about just why your cat is sneezing – and how you can help them cope with those nose tickles.

A gray cat with orange eyes

Symptoms That Accompany Sneezing in Cats

Cats may start sneezing more often due to a range of factors, such as an upper respiratory infection, allergies, or foreign objects in their nasal passages. The sneezing might be accompanied by other symptoms like nasal discharge, changes in appetite, lethargy, or changes in behavior. Let’s examine some of these in detail below.

Respiratory Infections

One of the most common causes of sneezing in cats is a respiratory infection. These can be viral upper respiratory infections, bacterial infections, or even fungal infections. They often come with other symptoms such as runny nose, watery eyes, and decreased appetite.

If your sneezing cat has a respiratory infection, you might notice them having trouble breathing, and they might seem less active than usual.


Cats, like humans, can suffer from allergies that may cause sneezing. These allergies could be environmental (dust, pollen, mold, certain cleaning products), or food-related.

Aside from sneezing, cats with allergies might display other signs such as itchy skin, runny eyes, and changes in behavior. If you suspect your cat has allergies, consult with your vet for possible solutions or treatments.

A gray and white kitty with its tongue out

Foreign Objects

If your curious kitty got a little too adventurous and inhaled something they shouldn’t have, it might be causing their sneezing. Bits of grass, pieces of toys, or dust particles can get lodged in a cat’s nasal passage, causing irritation and sneezing.

Any unusual behavior or signs of discomfort alongside sneezing should prompt a visit to the vet. They have the necessary tools to check for and safely remove foreign objects from your cat’s nose.

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV) and Feline Calicivirus (FCV)

Two common causes of sneezing and upper respiratory infections in cats are the feline herpesvirus (FHV) and the feline calicivirus (FCV). Understanding these infections can help you better care for your sneezing feline friend.

Feline Herpesvirus

Feline herpesvirus is a widespread cause of upper respiratory disease in cats. Similar to the human cold virus, FHV can lead to symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.

Once a cat is infected with FHV, the virus remains dormant in their body and can flare up during times of stress, leading to recurrent symptoms. FHV is highly contagious among cats, especially in crowded environments such as shelters or multi-cat households.

If your vet suspects FHV, they may recommend supportive care such as hydration, nutritional support, and maintaining a stress-free environment. In severe cases or persistent infections, antiviral medications may be prescribed.

A cat lying down with its head on table

Feline Calicivirus

Feline calicivirus is another common cause of respiratory infections in cats. Apart from causing sneezing, FCV can also lead to oral ulceration, which may result in drooling or difficulty eating.

FCV is also highly contagious among cats, but unlike FHV, it can present with a broader range of severity, from mild cases to severe, systemic infections. Vaccines can help control the spread of FCV, but they may not prevent all infections.

Treatment for FCV generally involves supportive care. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary, and your vet might prescribe antibiotics to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Remember that sneezing can be a sign of severe acute viral infections, especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as loss of appetite, lethargy, and eye or nose discharge. Vaccination and good hygiene practices are vital in preventing the spread of these viruses.

How to Reduce Sneezing in Cats

Depending on the cause of your cat’s sneezing, there may be steps you can take at home to reduce the frequency of sneezing episodes and improve your cat’s comfort.

Clean Environment

Maintaining a clean living environment for your cat can significantly reduce their sneezing if it’s due to allergies or irritants. Regularly clean areas where your cat spends most of their time and consider using hypoallergenic cleaning products to reduce potential allergens.

If your cat is an outdoor cat, monitor the local pollen count and limit their outdoor time when it’s particularly high. Doing so can help manage their sneezing if it’s due to pollen allergies.

A cat licking its nose

Using An Air Humidifier

If the air in your home is dry, it could be irritating your cat’s nasal passages and causing them to sneeze. Consider using a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which can soothe their nasal passages and reduce sneezing.

Is Your Cat Aging?

As cats age, they may become more susceptible to health issues that can lead to increased sneezing. Their immune systems might not be as robust, making them more likely to pick up infections. Additionally, older cats might develop dental problems that can lead to sneezing.

Strengthening Your Cat’s Immune System

A strong immune system is vital to your cat’s overall health, helping them fend off infections and recover from illnesses more quickly. Here are some tips on how to help strengthen your cat’s immune system:

Balanced Diet

The importance of a well-balanced diet can’t be overstated when it comes to your cat’s immune health. Just like humans, cats need a variety of nutrients to support their immune system.

Their diet should be rich in high-quality proteins, which provide the building blocks for immune cells. Vitamins, especially vitamin C and E, and minerals like zinc also play essential roles in immune function. Additionally, fatty acids such as Omega-3 and Omega-6 can support immune health by reducing inflammation.

Regular Exercise

Regular exercise contributes to a strong immune system by improving overall body function. It helps maintain your cat’s optimal weight, reducing the risk of obesity-related health issues that could compromise their immune system.

Interactive toys, laser pointers, or even a simple string can motivate your cat to move and play. Regular play sessions not only improve your cat’s physical health but also provide mental stimulation, reducing stress, which can be detrimental to the immune system.

Reducing Stress

Chronic stress can weaken your cat’s immune system, making them more susceptible to infections. That’s why it’s crucial to maintain a stress-free environment for your cat.

Ensure they have a quiet, safe space in your home where they can retreat when needed. Stick to routines as cats are creatures of habit, and sudden changes can be stressful for them. If there are unavoidable changes, try to make the transition as smooth as possible.

Preventative Healthcare

Preventative healthcare is an essential aspect of maintaining your cat’s immune health. Regular vaccination, deworming, and flea and tick prevention can shield your cat from various diseases that could weaken their immune system.

When Should You See a Vet?

It’s essential to monitor your cat’s symptoms and behaviors when they start sneezing more often. A single sneeze here and there is typically not a cause for concern, but frequent sneezing, especially when accompanied by other symptoms, should prompt a visit to the vet.

Key Takeaways

  • Sneezing in cats can be due to a variety of reasons such as respiratory infections, allergies, foreign objects in their nasal passages, and more.
  • Signs of excessive sneezing in cats can include nasal discharge, changes in appetite, lethargy, and unusual behavior.
  • It’s important to seek veterinary care if your cat’s sneezing becomes frequent, if there are other physical symptoms, or if their behavior changes. Cat sneezes can also be a sign of the feline herpes virus, or a bacterial infection that has severely weakened your cat’s immune system


In this post, we’ve explored why your cat might be sneezing more than usual and the steps you can take to address this. Whether the sneezing is due to allergies, respiratory infections, or foreign objects, or other factors, understanding the potential causes can help you ensure your feline friend’s wellbeing.

By keeping a keen eye on your cat’s behavior and health, you can ensure they live a happy, comfortable and sneeze free life!