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Why do cats sneeze?

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Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

 

Is your cat sneezing all the time, or more than she used to? Why do cats sneeze? The reason is much the same as for humans: either because the membranes of the nostrils are irritated or inflamed, or because something is blocking the nose.

 

Breeds

 

Some breeds of cat are inherently more likely to sneeze a lot. These are the breeds with short nasal passages and flat faces, like Persians. However, all cats sneeze occasionally.

 

Infectious Causes Of Sneezing In Cats

 

Just like us, cats are prone to sneezing when they catch an infection of the upper respiratory tract, like a cold. This inflames the membranes inside the nose. This is the most common cause of sneezing in cats and unlike us, they may have no other symptoms. You may notice a slight loss of energy or appetite but often, the cat is unaffected in other ways.

 

These infections are easily passed from one animal to another. They are often picked up in rescue shelters or pet vacation boarding homes, or from other pets. In most cases the bacteria are equally easily passed on to humans, so you may find yourself or your kids catching a cold soon after your cat starts sneezing.

 

Occasionally an abscess in the upper jaw will spread to the nasal passages and cause inflammation. This can result in sneezing. A cat with a dental abscess is usually in pain and should be taken to the vet.

 

Irritations That Can Cause Cat Sneezing

 

Cats’ noses, like ours, can be irritated by airborne particles from household cleaning products and other chemicals. If your cat begins to sneeze when you have been using a particular product, consider either changing the product or keeping the cat from the room that you are cleaning. The cat may also react to cigarette smoke, deodorizing sprays, insect killer sprays, etc.

 

Another common irritant is dust and mites in the litter box that are stirred up when the cat kicks to cover feces. Regular cleaning may help, or if not you could consider changing the kitty litter product, because some are more dusty than others. If your cat’s nose is sensitive to this dust, you can help by not using the last inch or so of product in the bag, where a lot of dust will have settled.

 

Cats can suffer from allergies too. While these most commonly result in skin irritation and scratching, they can cause rhinitis or inflammation of the nasal membranes, leading to sneezes. Common allergens that produce nasal symptoms are airborne pollens (causing something like human hay fever) and mold spores.

 

Foreign Objects In The Nose

 

Occasionally a cat will suffer a bout of sneezing because something has got into the nose. The sneezing reflex is triggered to try to expel the object, which could be almost anything. In this case you may see the cat rubbing her nose or appearing distressed or in pain. If sneezing does not clear the blockage, it may take a trip to the vet’s office to identify and remove the object.

 

Another possibility is a tumor in the nose. In both of these cases, you may notice that the problem is located in one nostril only. When cat sneezing is one sided like this, a trip to the vet is the best course of action.

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