Have you ever considered how much you and your cat have in common? Luckily, you can’t share colds or respiratory infections, but the symptoms are very similar.
Humans and felines share certain similarities when it comes to sneezing, although there are some distinct differences.
The fact is that cats’ noses are extremely sensitive, causing reflexive sneezes and simple itches. Humans have the same reflex because sneezing helps clear the airways of irritants, such as dust, allergens, or foreign particles. That makes sneezing a protective mechanism for both you and your cat.
Sneezing can be meaningless, but you should be aware of when to worry. The main causes of cat sneezes are allergies, irritants, and respiratory infections. The first and the last are the ones that need the most attention.
Here are some potential reasons for your cat to sneeze if you notice some uncommon recurrent patterns.
Cats Sneezing and Feline Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs)
URIs are common respiratory conditions affecting cats.
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), URIs are highly contagious among cats, particularly those in shelters, catteries, or multi-cat households.
The ASPCA estimates that 80% of cats entering animal shelters are affected by URIs to some extent.
The most common viral pathogens involved are feline herpesvirus-1 (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FVC), while bacterial agents like Bordetella bronchiseptica and Chlamydophila felis can also contribute to URIs in cats.
A URI can affect your cat’s trachea, bronchi, lungs, sinuses, oral cavity, and even vocal folds.
Widely speaking, the common symptoms of cat Upper Respiratory Infections include:
- Nasal congestion or discharge (a runny nose).
- Watery or red eyes (conjunctivitis).
- Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
- Loss of appetite.
- Lethargy or decreased energy levels.
- Fever (elevated body temperature).
- Ulcers or sores in the mouth (oral ulceration).
- Reduced sense of smell.
- Swollen lymph nodes (enlarged glands).
- Excessive drooling.
- Hoarse or raspy meowing.
The severity and combination of symptoms can vary depending on the specific viral or bacterial agents causing the URI, the cat’s overall health, and the stage of the infection.
Your cat does not need to display every symptom for it to be a URI. If you notice anything strange in your cat and suspect they have a respiratory infection, take them to the vet as soon as possible.
Treatment for Cat URIs
Treatment for these kinds of infections in felines involves professional veterinary care to alleviate symptoms, manage complications, and impulse recovery.
The first step is taking your cat to see a vet. The veterinarian will perform a thorough examination of the cat, assessing symptoms, checking vital signs, and evaluating overall health.
Treatment may include providing care to attack the symptoms. Using humidifiers to ease nasal congestion or administering saline nasal drops to help clear the nasal passages.
Depending on the severity and specific type of URI, the veterinarian will prescribe medications. These can include antibiotics to combat bacterial infections, antiviral meds, eye drops, or medications to control inflammation and other symptoms.
If your cat is having trouble eating, fluid therapy and nutritional support may be part of the recovery treatment plan.
General Recommendations to Prevent Feline URIs
To prevent is to care. Always investigating and paying close attention to your pet is essential. Interacting with them daily will allow you to detect and fix almost any problem on time. Besides, they need lots of love and affection daily.
Regular veterinary visits will help you avoid complications and keep your cat in a healthy state. Ask about vaccines. You can vaccinate your cat against feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV), which can help prevent some common viral causes of URIs.
When introducing a new cat into a household, in case you have not taken them to the vet yet, it is important to quarantine them initially to prevent the potential spread of any disease or infection.
If you are handling multiple cats, regular handwashing can help prevent the transmission of infectious agents.
Can a Cat Cold Cause My Cat to Sneeze?
It’s time to get the cat out of the bag -no pun intended- and deal with the most common and asked question of all times: Do Cats Can Get Colds?
~ And the answer is yes.
Your cat’s cold is an Upper Respiratory Infection caused by a virus that differs from the human cold virus. We call these viruses “colds” because they cause similar symptoms. Human cold viruses tend to be either respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza A virus. But do not worry, as viruses are not contagious between species, so pet viruses cannot infect people or vice-versa.
What Are Some Symptoms of a Cat Cold?
The signs for a viral upper respiratory infection -or cold- may vary but might include sneezing, runny nose, congestion, sometimes fever, coughing, discharge from the eyes, and even ulcers in the mouth or around the nose and eyes.
Additionally, your cat might start scratching their face, having trouble breathing, and making wheezing or coughing noises when they try to inhale air.
Most cats tend to conceal signs of illness from humans. Still, other behavioral changes are losing interest in eating, feeling sluggish, or having trouble keeping up with normal activities, which can also be signs of other health problems. So be conscious of any changes in behavior and contact your veterinarian immediately. And please do not give your pet any over-the-counter medication unless you’ve talked to your vet first.
Just like humans, cats might also have allergies. There are four different types of allergies:
Environmental allergies occur all year round and are easier to identify than seasonal allergies. They involve an immune system overreaction when cats are exposed to grass, pollen, mold, fungi, dust, and mold, plus cleaning products, cigarette smoke, and sometimes perfumes.
Food intolerances or allergies might even be related to certain cat breeds. And your cat may experience symptoms quickly after eating. Follow your vet’s advice on which foods irritate your cat, and make sure to create an ideal diet for them.
Flea bites may cause several allergy problems for our little furry animals. The irritation on its own will make them scratch themselves to the point that sometimes their skin breaks open. And the flea bite may also cause an allergic reaction throughout the cat’s body, not just where they were bitten. Besides doing a general house cleaning, bathing your cat to reduce the itching, and regular checkups, consult your vet on which type of flea-preventative medication would be best for your cat.
What Are Some General Symptoms of Cat Allergies
The most common allergy symptoms in cats are:
- Skin itching
- Coughing and/or wheezing
- Body itch
- Runny eyes
- Swollen parts of the body, such as paws
- Difficulty breathing and/or snoring
Cat Dental Disease
This one is always a surprise to most pet owners. The reason why dental diseases may cause sneezing has to do with the location of the nasal passages so close to the roots of the cats’ upper teeth. When a tooth is infected, the inflammation might penetrate the nose and cause sneezes as a reflex.
What Are Some Symptoms of Cat Dental Disease?
Besides the constant sneezing, some other symptoms include:
- Visibly swollen and bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Reduced appetite
If you think your cat may have dental disease, consult your emergency pet hospital immediately. The extraction of the affected tooth, plus the medication, will alleviate right away the symptoms and discomfort that your cat had.
Other Serious Causes That Make Cats Sneeze
Other more serious conditions might include:
Tumors (Neoplasia) often develop in older cats because their immune systems are weaker than younger felines. As a result, these tumors tend to be larger when they first appear. They’re usually found by your vet’s visual inspection during a “nasal biopsy.” Unfortunately, the illness is painful, and the severity lies in the examination results.
Besides sneezing or a persistent cough, some symptoms include enlarged/changing lumps and bumps, sores, weight loss/weight gain, a change in appetite, bad breath, difficulty breathing, eating, and/or swallowing.
Again not transmittable to humans or vice-versa; feline herpesvirus 1 (FHV1) is an infection caused by viruses carried in their environment. FHV causes stress flares in cats and cat scratch fever.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Frequent respiratory infections with severe sneezing are a big sign of the Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as FIV). It is the feline version of HIV in humans, although the two are not contagious to each other. FIV can cause a cat’s immune system to be severely impaired, so make an appointment with your vet right away, as they are the only ones that can tell you for sure if your cat has this condition.
Fungal Infections in Cats: Cat Sneezing a Lot
Can cats develop an infection due to fungi? The answer is yes. Funguses are very sharp at multiplying and transmitting, and your cat can easily become a target.
Most fungal infections in cats start with the inhalation of fungi through airborne particles such as dust and dirt. Because of this, the first stage of the infection will allocate in the nostrils or respiratory system of the cat.
Sneezing is one of the symptoms, along with nasal discharge, crusty skin wounds, nodular tissues around the nostrils, and coughing.
In cases where the infection it’s not treated or diagnosed promptly, the problem becomes systemic, showing severe symptoms like seizures, loss of balance, fever, lethargy, and others.
Depending on the particularities of the case, the prognosis changes a lot. For young cats with solid immune systems, the hopes are high when the infection is detected early and treated.
For cats with compromised defenses, veterinarians offer a similar prognosis if the problem is promptly under attack. However, in senior cats with FeLV (cat’s leukemia) or other immunodeficiency diseases and systemic fungal infection, the treatments are less efficient.
Worried? Just prevent your cat from frequenting outdoor areas alone, and always keep an eye open to see how they feel to ensure you notice any symptoms as soon as possible.
Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing? Common Causes Why Cats Sneeze
Let’s summarize what’s been said about cats and sneezing:
- Upper Respiratory Infections (URIs): Such as the ones this article mentions.
- Allergies: Cats can be allergic to various substances like pollen, dust mites, mold, and certain foods.
- Environmental irritants: Inhalation of irritants like smoke, strong odors, or chemicals, as well as the presence of foreign objects in the nasal passages. Also, the air conditions can cause sneezing in cat pets, just as in humans.
- Nasal Polyps: These non-cancerous growths in the nasal passages can cause chronic sneezing and nasal discharge.
- Dental Issues: Due to the proximity of the dental roots to the nasal passages, dental problems can cause sneezing in your cat. Dental cleaning procedures can have the same effect.
- Nasal Tumors. Rarely, tumors in the nasal cavity can cause chronic sneezing, nasal discharge, and other respiratory symptoms.
- The cat keeps sneezing but seems fine
If your cat keeps sneezing, do not hesitate to take them to the vet.
What To Do if My Cat Is Sneezing Uncontrollably?
As we stated earlier, there are several reasons why a cat might sneeze constantly. Some of them might be more serious than others, but if you see an unusual pattern in your cat, be safe and have them checked with your nearest vet. As cats lovers, we can always hope that our felines’ sneezes are only those funny, cute reactions to something and nothing serious. But it is better to be on the lookout and make sure your cat is healthy as a rock.
Prevention is the best medicine, so while we are at the vet, ask for advice on the best diet, vaccines, types of food, do’s and don’ts, and any other healthy options for your cat. And as always, let’s give our furry little bundles of joy lots of love.
If you have any further questions or concerns, visit or call us, we are here to provide you ease and health, and well-being for your pets.
General Guidelines to Protect Your Cat’s Health
Why Can’t Cats Go Outside?
In some aspects, cats are very robust pets, and you can expect them to last many more years than other companion animals. But cats can also be delicate and sensitive to hundreds of factors.
Many cats love exploring and sneaking to play and hunt, and they love to do it around your house or the outdoors. The outdoor life might seem fun and refreshing, but it’s full of threats for your cat. Allowing them to wander around on their own is not always a good idea.
The wildlife of your suburban neighborhood, as innocent as it seems, has stray or ill animals, contagious diseases, and viruses also thriving around. When you allow your cat to get in contact with this environment, you expose them to those risks.
FeLV, or feline leukemia, is one of the terrible diseases your cat can get from strange cats. Cats get leukemia from other cats’ bites and saliva (as in drinking from the same water), so keeping them apart from strange cats is a must.
If you are planning on adopting another angel in the form of a cat, we suggest you keep them separated until you are sure, through medical examination, that they are as healthy as the cats you have at home.
Cat’s leukemia does not have a cure, only treatment. Cats can live years after being diagnosed with leukemia if they have good overall health, good nutrition, and a capable vet near them. Preventing further infections or diseases in cats with FeLV is paramount to ensure them a happy life.
Feline leukemia is not the only problem your cat can encounter outside your house: Fleas, FIV (Feline-Immunodeficency virus), fungal infections, and common viruses are only a few.
Can Cats Get Colds: Good Cat Nutrition
Food and nutrition are one of those departments in which cats tend to be a little delicate. Dogs can have a diverse diet, but cats are carnivores. No matter how cute and small, your cat wants the diet of a tiger.
Lucky for you, there is no need to feed them half a goat since you can find lots of healthy options in the market. Dry food, semi-moist food, and canned food are the principal cat food presentations.
Regardless of what type of food they enjoy the most, the ingredients are key to protecting your cat’s health. Read the description of the products you buy to check if protein (meat, poultry, or fish) is the main component because it is what a cat needs the most.
Natural fats and carbs are the next things your cat’s diet should have. They need vitamins and amino acids as well. Kittens will also require calcium.
Why is My Cat Sneezing So Much All of a Sudden
What foods should you feed them, what to do if they sneeze, and how to prevent health complications? A vet knows the answer to it all.
We also recommend finding a clinic with a 24-hour pet hospital near you. 24hr emergency vets are more needed than you think since your cat will wait until the last minute to show any symptoms.