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Gesundheit! What to Do When Your Cat Is a Sneezer

Jan 5 2017 - 5:05am

There's nothing cuter than a few kitty sneezes, but when those achoos stick around, they may be a sign of an underlying issue. We reached out to an expert, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Eva Radke of the East San Rafael Veterinary Clinic [1], to learn more about what to do when your cat has a case of the sniffles. Along with giving your cat lots of snuggles and extra attention, there are a few other things to take into consideration when your cat can't stop sneezing. Click through for Dr. Radke's helpful answers and insights.

Can Cats Have Allergies?

Dr. Radke says cats can have allergies that may cause sneezing, although these types of allergies are less common than in humans. Allergens and other airborne irritants that typically affect cats include pollen, mold, dust, perfumes, cleaning agents, cigarette smoke, and dust from cat litter. Radke has even treated some cats who are allergic to Christmas trees!

What Can I Do When My Cat Is Sneezing?

When asked what pet owners can do at home for a sniffly kitty, Radke explains that there are no quick remedies for sneezing. And she doesn't recommend giving your cat any over-the-counter medications (such as antihistamines) without first consulting your vet. Your cat can't blow her nose like humans, so sneezing is actually the best way for her to remove mucous and irritants from her nose.

Is Sneezing a Sign of Something Worse?

Sneezing is caused by anything that irritates the lining of the nasal passages. These causes can vary from allergens to infection to dental disease to cancer. Occasional sneezing in any cat is normal. However, Dr. Radke finds that if your cat is sneezing excessively, then there probably is an underlying problem that should be addressed. Young cats are prone to upper respiratory infections and nasopharyngeal polyps (benign growths in the nasal passages). Older cats can also be prone to infections but are more likely to have dental disease or cancer as the cause of their sneezing.

Should I Take My Sneezing Kitty to the Vet?

If your cat is sneezing occasionally and otherwise seems healthy, then Radke suggests finding the pattern to her sneezing. Have you recently changed litters? Are you using a new perfume or cleaning agent in the house? If your cat is sneezing on a regular basis or much more than is normal for her, then it would be a good idea to take her to the veterinarian. Any nasal discharge, lethargy, difficult breathing, or decreased appetite that accompanies sneezing should definitely be addressed right away!

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