As cat owners, we often find ourselves wondering why our cats sneeze multiple times in a row. Sometimes, it can be a cause of concern, while at other times, it may just be a harmless ailment. Understanding the reasons behind your cat’s sneezing can help you figure out how to take care of them better.
What is sneezing and why do cats do it?
Sneezing is a common reflex action in cats that helps them to clear their nasal passages of any foreign bodies or irritants. Some common reasons why your cat might sneeze include:
- Viral infections
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Dental problems
- Tumor growth
One of the most common reasons that cats sneeze is due to allergies. Cats, like humans, can be allergic to anything from pollen to mold to dust. If you notice that your cat tends to sneeze more frequently during certain times of the year, it might be because of seasonal allergies. Similarly, if your cat sneezes often after coming into contact with certain foods or materials, they might have a specific food or material allergy.
The most common viral infection that causes sneezing in cats is the feline herpes virus. This virus can cause symptoms like sneezing, eye discharge, and fever. In most cases, these symptoms will resolve on their own, but in severe cases, your cat may need antiviral medication to speed up the healing process.
Cats can also sneeze due to bacterial infections, with the most common being Mycoplasma and Bordetella. Symptoms of a bacterial infection include sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing. If you suspect that your cat has a bacterial infection, you should take them to a vet immediately as these infections can become very serious if left untreated.
Fungal infections can also cause sneezing in cats, with the most common being Aspergillus. This fungus is often found in soil and can be inhaled by your cat, causing symptoms like sneezing, nasal discharge, and coughing. Treatment for fungal infections usually involves antifungal medication or in severe cases, surgery.
Dental problems can also cause cats to sneeze, especially if they have an infection or inflammation in their teeth or gums. If your cat has persistent bad breath or swollen gums, you should take them to a vet to get their teeth checked.
In rare cases, sneezing in cats can be a sign of a tumor growth in their nasal passage. If your cat has been sneezing persistently for a long time, and all other causes have been ruled out, it is best to get them checked for possible tumor growth.
What can I do to help my cat?
If your cat is sneezing due to allergies, you can help reduce their symptoms by removing any allergens from their environment. For instance, you can try to keep your cat indoors during high pollen seasons, or use air purifiers to remove dust and other irritants from the air. If your cat has a viral or bacterial infection, your vet may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication.
You can also help your cat fight off infections by ensuring that they are eating a healthy and balanced diet, with enough vitamins and minerals to help boost their immune system. If your cat has dental problems, you should get them treated by a vet as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of infections.
When should I take my cat to the vet?
If your cat has been sneezing for over a week, or if the sneezing is accompanied by other worrying symptoms like nasal discharge, coughing, or fever, you should take them to a vet immediately. Sinus infections and other respiratory problems can become very serious if left untreated.
How can I prevent sneezing in cats?
It’s not always possible to prevent sneezing in cats, especially if they have allergies or come into contact with foreign bodies. However, there are some preventive measures you can take to reduce their chances of getting infections like bacterial or viral infections. These include:
- Keeping your cat indoors, especially during high pollen seasons
- Ensuring that your cat has a healthy and balanced diet
- Regularly cleaning your cat’s litter box and bedding
- Regular vet check-ups to catch any potential health problems early on
Sneezing in cats can be a sign of many different things, from allergies to serious infections. Understanding why your cat is sneezing can help you take better care of them and ensure that they stay healthy and happy. If you’re unsure about your cat’s sneezing or any other symptoms, it’s always best to take them to a vet for a thorough check-up.
Questions and Answers
Here are some of the most common questions and answers related to the topic of sneezing in cats:
- Q: Why does my cat sneeze after eating?
- A: If your cat sneezes after eating, it could be due to food allergies or respiratory issues. You should take your cat to a vet to get them checked.
- Q: Can cats get colds?
- A: Yes, cats can get colds. The symptoms of a cold in cats include sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes.
- Q: Can indoor cats get allergies?
- A: Yes, indoor cats can get allergies, especially if there is mold or dust in their environment. Keeping your cat’s environment clean can help reduce their allergy symptoms.
- Q: Can cats get the flu from humans?
- A: No, cats cannot get the flu from humans. However, they can get sick from people coming into contact with them if the person has a viral infection.
- Q: How can I tell if my cat is allergic to something?
- A: If your cat is allergic to something, they may show signs like sneezing, coughing, wheezing, itching, or vomiting. In severe cases, they may also have difficulty breathing.
Here are some helpful resources for further reading:
- Catster. (n.d.). Why Is My Cat Sneezing? Causes and Treatments. Retrieved from https://www.catster.com/cat-health-care/why-do-cats-sneeze
- Cornell Feline Health Center. (n.d.). Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats. Retrieved from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-health-topics/upper-respiratory-infections-cats
- VCA Animal Hospitals. (n.d.). Sneezing and Nasal Discharge in Cats. Retrieved from https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/sneezing-and-nasal-discharge-in-cats