Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

When cats sneeze once or twice on occasion, it’s usually quite cute, and we think nothing more of it, but if it becomes more frequent, and we can see that our cat is not happy, it can become very worrying.

Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

There are multiple different reasons as to why your cat may be sneezing ranging from mild to severe but the best thing to do is find out what is causing the sneezing so that you can make the right decision within your cat’s best interest.

Causes Of Sneezing In Cats

Nose Irritation

Like us, sometimes cats inhale certain allergens or irritants that irritate their nose, thus sneezing.

On most occasions, you will be able to tell what is causing the irritation by paying close attention to what has happened just before your cat sneezes.

For example, it could be caused by hoovering, scented candles, and certain sprays.

If this is just a case of your cat reacting to an allergen or irritant, you can stop using it in the future if it’s something like a harsh cleaning spray or candle if you feel that your cat is having a hard time with it.

Most candles are made with paraffin wax which can be harmful to cats as it can be inhaled into their respiratory system.

To avoid this, you can buy candles that are made from organic wax such as beeswax or soy.

Another way to help prevent your cat from sneezing due to allergens and irritants is by cleaning the house more thoroughly and frequently to decrease the build-up of dust and perfumes.

Even though they don’t clump together as well, you can try switching to a low dust cat litter.

If you notice that your cat’s nose is looking irritated and sore, you can apply some saline drops to their nose to help thin the mucus.


Cats can get bacterial, fungal, or viral infections that take hold of their respiratory system and make them sneeze along with experiencing similar symptoms that we do when we have a cold.

Some of these common viral infections are:

Feline Herpes Virus (FHV)

Your cat can contract herpes from another infected cat and once they have been infected, they will be lifelong carriers but this doesn’t mean that all cats in this situation will still spread the virus.

A carrier of herpes will be more likely to spread it if they are suffering from stress as this makes the immune system suppressed and thus causing the virus to flare up.

Along with sneezing, you may see discharge from the eyes and nose, salivation, lethargy, fever, and coughing if your cat has feline herpes.

These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, and viral shedding usually lasts around three weeks.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

This virus is a type of coronavirus, but it is not the same that can infect humans, so you are not at risk of getting it from your cat.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis is probably more common than you think as most of the time it will result in no more than a bit of diarrhea, but some cats are not so lucky.

Sometimes this virus can mutate and cause a build-up of fluid in the stomach, chest, and brain which is very serious.

Feline Calicivirus

Feline Calicivirus

Areas with many cats are breeding grounds for this virus once it gets going.

It typically starts with young cats and takes around two weeks for symptoms to appear after the infection starts.

Most cats will be able to fight off the virus and will be back to normal within five to 10 days, but sometimes it infects their repository system, causing it to be fatal.

Dental Disease

Your cat’s dental hygiene may seem unrelated to them sneezing but the roots of their teeth in their upper jaw are right beside their nasal passages.

Dental disease causes the teeth to become infected and inflamed which pushes onto the nasal passages and causes the cat to sneeze.

Growths And Tumors

When cancerous cells or tumors are present in the nasal cavities or sinus passages, the symptoms often mimic those of respiratory infection as it can cause runniness and sneezing.

However, as time goes on the symptoms will noticeably change, and you may also notice that your cat is getting nosebleeds, runny eyes, and vision problems.

Unfortunately, nose cancer is one of the causes of growths and tumors appearing in your cat’s nose and can be caused by the cat being a senior, chronic infection, or living with a heavy smoker.

The prognosis depends on a variety of different things such as age, location, spread, and size of cancer.

Your vet might recommend surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or antibiotics.

When To Take Your Cat To The Vet

You should take your cat to the vet if you suspect that they have an infection as they will be prescribed antibiotics which takes a lot of strain off of their immune system and will be able to bounce back much faster.

It also prevents the infection from getting worse and spreading to other parts of the body.

If you don’t think your cat has an infection, but they aren’t eating, socializing, playing, or drinking as much as they usually do, and they are still sneezing, they should be taken to the vet to rule out any other possible illnesses.

Even if your cat seems perfectly happy but is sneezing much more than usual, you should still take them to the vets because they could be allergic to pollen.

If this is the case, they will only need some medication to feel better, so it’s worth getting them checked out to make them feel more comfortable.


As mentioned earlier, the range of what causes a cat to sneeze can be due to a dust particle or can be very serious like cancer but now that you know the symptoms and causes of each possibility, you will be much better prepared for what you need to do to help your cat.

Courtney Trent
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