We rarely see cats sneeze and seeing the do that may cause us to worry. However, just like in humans, an occasional sneeze is not really a cause of concern. But if your cat is continuously sneezing and manifesting other symptoms like fatigue or fever, it may be time to bring her to the vet.
Cat keeps sneezing but seems fine: What are the possible reasons?
When a cat sneezes there is an explosive release of air through the mouth and nose which is usually the body’s response to an irritation in the nasal area. Cats may also sneeze due to movement or excitement.
These are the common reasons why your cat keeps sneezing although she seems fine otherwise:
1. It may be due to viral, bacterial or fungal infections
Viral infections happen when a harmful virus invades a feline’s immune system and body. These viral infections usually cause sneezing in cats:
Feline herpes virus or feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR)
Most cats will experience this virus at a certain point in their lives and it is considered one of the main causes of feline upper respiratory infection. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal congestion and discharge, fever, fatigue and watery eyes and may last for up to 14 days. It is often transmitted from an infected cat through eye, nose and mouth secretions.
Cats are more likely to be infected if they share litter boxes, toys, water and food bowls and grooming tools. A mother cat may also infect her babies during pregnancy. Treatment options include antibiotics and antiviral medications. This type of virus is not contagious to humans.
Feline calcivirus (FCV)
This virus causes upper respiratory, oral and eye infections in cats and has at least 40 different strains. Common symptoms are sneezing, nasal congestion, ulcers on the gums, lips, nose or tongue, excessive drooling and discharge from the eye and nose. Cats may also have fever, fatigue and enlarged lymph nodes. It is usually transmitted from infected cats through saliva, eye and nose discharge and may also spread through contact with urine and feces.
The virus may also live in toys, beddings and feeding bowls for at least one week. Humans may infect healthy cats by touching infected objects and touching the cat. Treatment may include antibiotics and anti-inflammatories as well as supplements and the use of a humidifier.
These viral infections may also lead to other respiratory problems and cats may also develop a secondary bacterial infection that is treatable by antibiotics.
Other infections that may lead to sneezing in cats include the following:
Feline immunodeficiency virus or FIV
This virus weakens a cat’s immune system and may put her at risk of developing other even fatal infections. Symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue and respiratory infection. Other signs include vomiting, diarrhea, hair loss and oral infections. This infection is usually transmitted through saliva, blood and deep bite wounds. It may also be transmitted by mother cats to their young.
Since this infection is incurable, the focus is strengthening a cat’s immune system. Your vet may recommend antiviral medications and supplements.
Feline infectious peritonitis or FIP
This viral disease is caused by a coronavirus that attacks the cells of the intestinal walls. Symptoms include fever that does not respond to antibiotics, weight loss, labored breathing and lethargy. It is usually a fatal infection and studies are still ongoing on viable treatment options.
2. It may be due to allergic irritants
Your cat’s sneezing may be caused by something irritating her nasal passages. Does your cat only sneeze when you wear your favorite perfume or just after you swept the floor? If so, your cat likely has an allergic reaction.
Substances that can cause allergic reactions in cats include the following:
- pest spray and insect repellants
- cigarette smoke
- cat litter
- cleaning agents
3. It may be due to nasal cavity cancer
Cats with this type of disease may experience persistent and severe sneezing accompanied by blood. This is a serious conditions and you should consult your vet right away. Treatment may include chemotherapy and removing polyps from the cat’s through surgery.
4. Other reasons
Your cat may also be sneezing because she has just received a dose of intranasal vaccine. Cats may also sneeze to remove a blockage in their nasal opening. Tooth inflammation may also cause sneezing due to drainage in the sinuses.
What to do if your cat keeps on sneezing?
If your cat is sneezing due to allergens or irritants, isolate your cat and keep her away from the things that trigger the allergic reaction. If the sneezing was due to a viral infection, the best thing to do is consult your vet. To make sure that your cat is protected from serious infections, get her vaccinated at around six months old.
If your cat only sneezes rarely and has no other symptoms just monitor her and make sure to keep her indoors.
There is usually no reason to worry if your cat sneezes every once in a while. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms you should monitor your cat closely. Sneezing in cats may be due to viral infections and allergic irritants. However, it may also be due to cancer and other serious health issues that need to be addressed by bringing your cat to the vet.
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