20 Reasons Why Cat Keeps Sneezing But Seems Fine
Cats are amazing creatures. They love to cuddle and play, but they can also be very sneaky! Sometimes when a cat sneezes, it’s just because of a small cold or allergy flare-up that is quickly resolved with medication. Other times, a cat may have a more serious respiratory problem such as asthma or feline immunodeficiency syndrome (FIV). This blog post will outline twenty reasons why cats might keep sneezing but seem fine, so you know what to look out for.
1. A Simple, benign tickle
Cats sometimes sneeze to clear irritants, such as dust or pollen, from their respiratory tract. If your cat sneezes now and then – but isn’t showing other signs of illness – it’s probably nothing to worry about. Cats are sensitive to smoke and aerosol sprays used in cleaning products, so even if you’re not smoking in your home, they can trigger a cough if you use these products. If your cat frequently sneezes soon after being around smoke, it may be an asthma-like reaction to environmental allergens or irritants.
2. Respiratory Infections and Viral Diseases
Cats, like people and dogs cat keeps sneezing but seems fine due to respiratory infections. Cats can also suffer from more serious infections caused by viruses such as feline herpesvirus (FHV) and panleukopenia virus (FPV). These conditions usually create a persistent cough that often comes on suddenly, along with other symptoms such as sneezing, lethargy, fever, and nasal congestion. If your cat has a runny nose along with its persistent cough, it may have a respiratory viral infection or another serious condition such as feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).
3. Chemical Irritants in the Air
Cats that are sensitive to certain chemicals in the air cat keeps sneezing but seems fine due asthma-like reaction. The most common chemical irritant is cigarette smoke. Cats are much more likely than dogs to suffer from respiratory problems due to second-hand smoke, so if you smoke inside your home, it’s essential to take precautions by using a ventilation system or smoking outside. Cats can also be sensitive to aerosol sprays used by humans to clean perfumes or other products.
4. Foreign Bodies
Cats are very curious, which is part of what makes them so lovable. They are constantly exploring their environment, and sometimes they get things stuck in their noses or inhale other small objects that can irritate the respiratory system therefore my kitten keeps sneezing but seems fine. Once something has lodged in a cat’s airway, it quickly becomes life-threatening because cats have very narrow air passages compared to people and dogs. If you see your cat sneezing or holding its mouth open, look in its nose for foreign objects, grass seeds, or other small items that could cause this problem.
5. Dental Disease
An accumulation of tarter on a cat’s teeth can affect its respiratory tract, causing painful swelling around the cheeks and therefore my cat keeps sneezing but seems fine. This is often referred to as resorptive tooth lesion (TRL) because it creates an environment where bacteria thrive. The bacteria cause bad odors and excessive salivation, which leads to your cat sneezing or coughing. If your cat starts sneezing soon after a dental checkup, it may have TRL – in which case you’ll need to take it back to the vet for treatment.
6. Allergies to Pollens and Molds
Cats living in temperate and tropical climates and around certain vegetation types are sensitive to pollen, dust mites, and mold spores. Cat allergies to these allergens can cause sneezing, coughing, or wheezing because the respiratory tract inflates. The most common source of cat allergy is grasses such as Bermuda grass and timothy, but other common types of vegetation that cause allergies include ragweed and mixed weed species. If your cat is sneezing a lot, look around to see what kind of plants are growing in your yard or neighborhood.
7. Intranasal Vaccines
Feline vaccines for rabies, upper respiratory infections (URI), and FHV-1 are given in the intranasal form. Although these injections are not considered painful, my cats can develop an allergy to the vaccine’s components and therefore my cat is sneezing but seems fine after they get their shot. If your cat suddenly starts sneezing in the weeks after its vaccination, talk to your vet about getting it an injection that doesn’t contain any of the vaccine’s components.
8. Feline Herpesvirus Disease
FHV-1 is a common virus among cats, especially those that are living in large colonies or shelters. It causes sneezing, coughing, and nasal congestion, just as the human condition of mononucleosis does. According to a study by Colorado State University, only some cats show symptoms of FHV-1 – about 20 percent. This suggests that most cats are asymptomatic carriers of the disease, showing no signs but spreading it to other animals. Symptoms typically appear when a cat is stressed, such as during boarding or after surgery, including sneezing and nasal discharge.
9. Nasal Polyps
Polyps are fleshy growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses that make it difficult for an animal to breathe through its nose. They are most common in cats over age ten because their immune systems are less effective at preventing them. Polyps can be life-threatening because they block airflow, causing breathing difficulty and ultimately suffocation if not removed by a veterinarian. They are typically removed through diagnostic bronchoscopy, during which a tube with a tiny camera is inserted down the throat to visualize the nasal cavity. Once visible, polyps can be snipped off using long-handled forceps.
10. Inflammation of the Nasal Cavity or Sinuses
If your cat is frequently sneezing, you need to consider the possibility that it has inflammation (rhinitis) of the nasal cavity or sinuses. Several diseases and conditions may cause rhinitis, including FHV-1, feline leukemia virus, oral herpes virus infection, and respiratory tract parasites. Rhinitis is typically accompanied by a thick nasal discharge, which your vet will use to diagnose the condition. Your cat may need to be hospitalized if it shows signs of severe upper respiratory disease, such as difficulty breathing or eating.
11. Neurological Diseases
Cats are susceptible to neurological conditions that cause sneezing, including idiopathic epilepsy, feline hyperesthesia syndrome, and nasal vestibular disease. I have personally seen the latter of these causes a cat to sneeze without any other symptoms. If your cat is experiencing neurological symptoms – such as twitching or head pressing, for example – take it to see a veterinarian as soon as possible so the likely disease can be identified and treated.
12. Neoplasia (Tumors)
Any tumor in the nasal cavity or sinuses is likely to trigger sneezing, but they are most commonly seen in older cats with chronic rhinitis. This is because the inflammation makes it easier for tumors to grow in the nose, ultimately blocking airflow when they become big enough. A cat experiencing weight loss, breathing difficulties, or nasal discharge that lasts for more than a few days should be checked by a veterinarian regardless of its age. These symptoms aren’t exclusive to tumors, but the sooner your cat is examined, the better its prognosis will be.
13. Fungal Infections
Fungal rhinitis is common in cats that spend time outdoors, especially if they live in humid climates. It’s also quite prevalent among cats that spend a lot of time around other animals, such as shelter cats and indoor-outdoor pets. Fungal infections are typically linked to allergies because the immune system mounts an aggressive response to the allergens, which in turn causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the nasal passages. Warm, moist environments are also ideal breeding grounds for fungal organisms.
14. Excitement or Stress
Cats with nasal irritation or inflammation may sneeze when they become excited or during periods of stress. This is especially true for kittens and young cats, which have weaker immune systems than adults and are therefore more sensitive to stressors such as a trip to the vet. In most cases, excitement-induced sneezing isn’t anything to worry about.
It can be difficult for cats with chronic or severe respiratory issues to tell the difference between excitement-related sneezing and actual breathing difficulties. I recommend monitoring your cat’s behavior closely if it has a history of respiratory disorders – this way, you’ll know if its symptoms are getting worse than better after trips to the vet.
Several types of cancer, most notably nasal carcinoma and lymphoma, can cause sneezing. While most cases of feline leukemia virus and FHV-1 do not show any symptoms until they are in their advanced stages, it seems that these cancers tend to trigger sneeze attacks much earlier on – often with very few other symptoms. Cancer of the nasal cavity and sinuses is complicated to treat, meaning that cats diagnosed with it have a poor prognosis even if they receive the proper care.
16. Gastrointestinal Parasites
Giardia is a common protozoan parasite that can be passed between cats and dogs through feces. Pet owners may contact this organism while cleaning their pets’ litter boxes or feeding them raw meats containing traces of Giardia cysts. Although most animals will not show any symptoms, those with weakened immune systems (such as young kittens and older cats) may become infected and experience upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing. If you suspect your cat might have giardiasis, take it to see a veterinarian as soon as possible – your cat won’t need to undergo any special treatments. Still, early detection is essential, especially in young kittens.
17. Heartworm Disease
Heartworm disease is a serious condition common among cats that are exposed to mosquitoes. It can cause sneezing, coughing, weakness, breathing difficulties, and weight loss. Cats that spend most of their time indoors are less likely to be affected by heartworms. However, it’s still important not to let them roam outside without supervision – especially when mosquitoes are out in large numbers, which is the case throughout most of the year.
18. Tick-Borne Diseases
Although not many cats encounter ticks in the wild, they can easily fall prey to these blood-sucking arachnids while roaming through tall grass. Ticks carry some serious diseases that are transmissible to animals and humans, so early detection of this parasite is an absolute must. Symptoms usually don’t appear until several weeks after exposure, but tick-borne illnesses are generally severe – especially neurological symptoms such as seizures and paralysis.
19. Sinus Infection
Like with humans, sinus infections are prevalent among cats. Allergies cause nasal inflammation, which leads to infection and fluid buildup in the sinuses. Other viruses such as the feline herpes virus can also cause upper respiratory symptoms by affecting the mucosal membranes inside of your cat’s nostrils. Sinus infections usually respond well to antibiotics – your vet may prescribe an antibiotic injection that you’ll need to give to your cat every 2-3 weeks or a longer-term antibiotic treatment. If left untreated, these infections can cause permanent damage in the form of cysts and sinus cavities.
20. High Blood Pressure
Sneezing is often one of the first symptoms that veterinarians encounter when diagnosing cats with high blood pressure. As I’ve already mentioned, the cardiovascular system is compassionate in cats – this makes them more susceptible to illnesses and disorders even if they’re seemingly harmless for us humans. High blood pressure won’t go away on its own. Still, suppose it is caught early enough. In that case, you can easily treat your cat at home by giving it a low-salt diet, grooming and cleaning its fur regularly, administering oral medications, and keeping more of an eye on its general health so as to cure it from high blood pressure.
If you wonder ‘why is my cat sneezing’ regularly, take it to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. If the problem doesn’t disappear or you notice other symptoms such as an unhealthy color of mucous, blood, or saliva – get your cat to the vet immediately. Sneezing isn’t always something serious and can be caused by simple things like dust, pollen, or even pet dander. However – it must be treated right away to avoid any complications that can further damage your cat’s respiratory system or lead to allergies.
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