There’s no doubt that cats are adorable, they look at us, and we just melt. We love them when they are silly, sleepy, playful, and even when their noses tickle and they sneeze! But seriously, what about those sneezes? Why does my cat keep sneezing? When is it normal, and when is it too much?
Besides a simple tickle, there are probably a million reasons why cats sneeze, and we should not worry about most of them. But it is always better to look out for any recurring patterns that can help us determine if there is any cause to worry or let them be.
In this article, we will answer all your doubts about feline sneezing. From common allergies, simple irritations, or whether or not cats can actually catch a cold.
The fact is that cats’ noses are extremely sensitive, causing reflexive sneezes and simple itches. Here are some potential reasons for your cat to sneeze if you notice some uncommon recurrent patterns.
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 Have 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, 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, 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.
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.
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