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Is Your Cat Sneezing a Lot?

Cat sneezing a lotIt’s adorable at first. But, several times in a row? Now you’re worried.

What starts as a sweet little sneeze could be a symptom of something more sinister, from allergies to irritations to full-blown respiratory infections.

So how can you tell, and what should you do?

This article will help you understand why your kitty is sneezing so much – and what you can do to help them heal fast.

Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

Why is my cat sneezingYour cat sneezes for the same reason we sneeze – it’s a natural reaction to clear out irritants in the nose. Occasional sneezing is entirely normal and often is not linked to any infection or disease – just a bit of dust, pollen, or even excitement!

However, there are many reasons why your cat may be sneezing more than usual. From infections to allergies, some of the most common causes of cat sneezing are as follows.

  1. Upper Respiratory Infection
  2. Asthma/allergies

Upper Respiratory Infection

Upper respiratory infection in cats often begins with a primary viral infection combined with a secondary bacterial infection in cats.

Cats catch upper respiratory infections through:

  • Direct contact with infected kitty
  • Indirect contact by sharing water & food bowls or toys
  • Being in shelters, kennels and other cramped places with little air circulation.

There are three causes of feline respiratory infections and cat sneezing:

And while any cat can catch these illnesses, felines that are most vulnerable are immunocompromised cats (who already have other illnesses or conditions), stressed kitties, young and old cats.

You might be thinking – How can a cat be stressed? Their lives seem so cosy and carefree.

While it’s true, cats seem to sleep all day, eat whenever they want and roam the house without any rules, cats actually get stressed out very easily.

New changes can stress cats out. Scenarios like moving, new pets, new roommates or even new furniture can make a cat’s anxiety soar for a limited amount of time.

Stressed cats are less likely to take care of themselves properly – neglecting important things like eating, drinking, and cleaning themselves – which puts them at risk of catching nasty illnesses that cause cat sneezing.

So if you’ve just rescued a cat that’s had a rough life on the street, beware that they may need extra care and attention until they settle in and feel more comfortable.

Cat sneezing blood

The most common cause of a cat sneezing blood is an upper respiratory infection, although there are several possible reasons for bloody discharge of the nose.

  1. Upper Respiratory Infection
  2. Foreign object
  3. Accidental ingestion
  4. Tumours
  5. High blood pressure

Upper Respiratory Infection

In cats, upper respiratory infection is the most common reason for a cat sneezing blood due to irritation of the nasal passages.

When cats sneeze repeatedly and consistently, it irritates the nose membranes, sometimes resulting in bloody discharge.

Foreign object 

A cat sneezing blood could be a foreign object blocking the nasal passages. A pine needle, a sliver of wood, or a sharp seedling can cause damage to the membranes of the nasal cavity and, in turn, bloody sneezes.

Accidental ingestion

It is crucial to be careful when using rat poison or other toxic pest deterrents around the house.

They should honestly be the only deterrent you need against house mice if you have a cat. If a severe infestation is a problem, it may be necessary to call a professional exterminator.

Having poison around with pets in the house is risky at best and neglectful at worst. A cat that ingests rat poison or eats a rat that has consumed the poison can result in a pet’s needless fatality.


Squamous cell carcinoma is a skin cancer that can cause blood in the nose. This type of cancer is common in outdoor cats with pale fur, especially at higher elevations.

Squamous cell carcinoma is treatable and can be cured relatively easily with early intervention.

How would I notice squamous cell carcinoma?

A veterinarian would look and feel for tiny scabby sores on the skin, particularly of the:

  • Nose
  • Tips of ears
  • Chin

Renal Issues

Renal issues or kidney disease in cats, including high blood pressure, can result in nose bleeds in cats.

Getting to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment options is imperative.

My cat keeps sneezing but seems fine?

So your cat is sneezing a lot but is eating well, drinking and playing like any other day? It may be time for an elimination game.

Cats can be sensitive to strong smells, cleaners, smoke and dust, and many other things. These irritants can cause damage to a kitty’s lungs as well as different allergic responses like:

  1. Eye-watering
  2. Reverse sneezing
  3. Cat coughing or gagging


Eye-watering and sneezing can be a result of:

  • irritants & allergens
  • Upper respiratory infection

The use of home remedies and elimination of possible irritation can clear these symptoms within a week. Consult a veterinarian if symptoms don’t improve in a day or two.

Cat reverse sneezing

When animals sneeze, they forcefully expel air from their noses to blow out mucus or other irritants.

A reverse sneeze is a forceful inhalation when a cat or dog sucks air into its pharynx and windpipe. The pharynx houses the tonsils, soft palate, and tongue.

How can I reduce cat sneezing and cat cough in the home?

  • Keep cat at a healthy weight
  • Don’t smoke near your pets
  • Avoid grains and encourage an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Don’t use harsh cleaners
  • Stop using your fireplace.
  • Avoid stress; cats are extra sensitive to change
  • Eliminate aerosol sprays
  • Eliminate anything with a strong aroma

Cat Sneezing & Runny Nose Home Remedy

Cat runny nose home remediesCat’s who suffer from sneezing and runny noses may have some underlying chronic inflammation that needs attention.

Although these symptoms may require prescription therapy with anti-inflammatories and steroids, there are also some things a pet owner can do to aid in the recovery and maintenance of chronic cat sneezing and runny nose.

What can I give my cat for sneezing?

A cat that is often sneezing may have cold-causing congestion. For this, there are several home remedies to aid in decongestion.

Of course, it is always recommended to consult your veterinarian when trying new treatment methods.

Home remedies

  • Try an ionic air purifier
  • Use a warm washcloth to keep nose and eyes clean
  • Wrap the kitty in blankets to maintain warm body temperature
  • Allow kitty to stay in a steamy bathroom for a short time to clear airways
  • Add warm water or warm up food to encourage eating
  • Make sure they are drinking enough (see signs of dehydration)

Dehydration in Cats

Signs of Dehydration in CatsWhat to do
  • Loss of energy
  • Panting
  • Refusal to eat
  • Sunken eyes
  • Tacky and dry gums
  • Get to the vet asap
  • Add a small amount of chicken broth or tuna juice to their water.
  • Instead of dry food, try giving them wet food.
  • Place some ice cubes in their water bowl.
  • Consider a fountain
  • Allow them to drink from faucets while supervised.

Never give your cat over-the-counter cold medicine. 

The following common over the counter medicines are extremely dangerous for cats

  1. Tylenol
  2. Aspirin & Pepto Bismol
  3. Sudafed
  4. Basically any human prescription medication


Tylenol may act as a fever and pain reducer for humans, but it can be fatal for cats.

When Tylenol breaks down in a kitty, the drug’s components are toxic to cats. So tylenol is a bog no-no.

Aspirin & Pepto Bismol

Both aspirin and Pepto Bismol contain salicylates which are incredibly toxic to cats.


Pseudoephedrine is a common active ingredient in human congestion medication. Still, it is hazardous in cats—pseudoephedrine will act as a stimulant in cats causing elevated heart rate and possible seizures.

Basically, any human prescription medication

Many of the prescription meds cats can knock off the counter may be toxic to them, so use caution. The following medications are known to be harmful to cats.

  • Prescription NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug)
  • Antidepressants
  • Pain relievers like Vicodin, Tylenol with Codeine and Percocet
  • Ritalin (methylphenidate)
  • Anti-diabetics like Glucophage (metformin) and glyburide
  • Vitamin D derivatives

Is your cat’s nose dripping? Here’s why:

A runny nose is often a response to inflammation caused by:

  1. Trauma
  2. Infection


Trauma to the nose can happen by:

  • Accidentally sniffing a seed or pine needle into the nasal cavity.
  • A foreign object lodged in the nose
  • Cut or lesion on or inside the nose
Veterinarian attention is necessary to assess and remove these trauma causes in the nasal and sinus cavities.


Viral infections are the most common cause of runny noses in cats. Calicivirus and herpesvirus are the two culprits responsible.

Bacterial infections are the second most common cause of runny noses in kitties. The bacteria most often responsible for infections in cats are:

Treatment for your cat’s nose dripping

If your cat’s nose is constantly dripping, you need to talk to your veterinarian and make an appointment.

There are many possible causes of runny nose in cats, including:

  • Nasal polyps and tumours
  • Irritants & allergens
  • Cancer

So, while a drippy nose could just be something temporary like a cold, it could also be much more severe. If the cause of the runny nose is more serious, taking early action is vital.

Reasons Why Your Cat Has a Stuffy Nose

Cat stuffy noseRhinitis, or more simply, “stuffy nose”, is caused by the inflammation of the mucous membranes lining the inside of the nose. Rhinitis is an uncomfortable condition resulting in symptoms like:

  • Difficulty smelling
  • Lack of appetite
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Lethargy
  • General disinterest
  • Cat sneezing

You probably have a congested cat

Like humans, cats can experience congestion, often along with stuffy and runny noses. Rhinitis and congestion may clear up in a couple of weeks or be chronic and ongoing. Either way, a congested cat may need some extra help in healing.

Congestion and inflammation can be the perfect breeding ground for bacterial infections, in which case a round of antibiotics may be necessary.

Congestion can be an indication of other things like:

  • Dental disease and infection
  • Cancer
  • Fungal infection
  • Fungal infections
  • Allergies
Persistent rhinitis can lead to permanent damage to the nasal passageways if left untreated.

Cat nasal congestion home treatment

Congested catAlthough nasal congestion is often not life-threatening, it can be challenging to be rid of it completely. While some medicinal treatments may need to be prescribed by your veterinarian, you can also do some simple but essential things at home.

  1. Supportive care
  2. A warm, humid environment
  3. Encourage eating

Supportive care

Supportive nursing care is one of the most critical parts of a pet’s recovery process. The antibiotics won’t help if a cat is left outside or neglected while sick or healing.

So do the following things to sid in a kitty’s speedy recovery

  • Keep an eye on your kitty for changes in symptoms and mood
  • Keep kitty as comfortable as possible
  • Keep the environment and food, and water bowls clean and full.

A warm, humid environment

Cats love the heat. If you have ever seen your cat basking in a blazing beam of sunlight, you know this is true.

Although cats are susceptible to heatstroke in warm summer months like the rest of us, keeping your feline friend warm when they are suffering from congestion is imperative.

Encourage eating

Cats often won’t eat what they can’t smell. However, warming food, switching to canned food, or wetting food can really affect the smell receptors.

Can cats get colds?

Can cats get coldsThe short answer is yes.

The explanation is a little more complicated.

So, what is a cat cold, anyway?

The cold is defined as a viral infection of the nose and throat – the upper respiratory tract. It’s pretty much the same illness that we experience as humans.

While colds aren’t a cause for alarm, if upper respiratory symptoms worsen or are ignored, then things can progress negatively. Infections that advance to the lower respiratory tract are the real danger, possibly causing pneumonia in cats if left untreated.

What are cat cold symptoms?

Watch out for these eight symptoms of cat colds:

  • Cat sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Ocular discharge
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Congestion

Cat medicine for cold

Cat medicine for a coldIn some cases, a cat cold can clear up with minimal medicinal intervention, but sometimes extra prescriptions are needed. The following are the most common medicines prescribed for cats with colds.

  1. Antibiotics
  2. Antifungals
  3. IV fluids
  4. Corticosteroids
  5. Nasal flush
  6. Surgery


If a bacterial infection is causing a cat’s symptoms, antibiotics will be necessary to eradicate the little stinkers.


It is possible, especially in outdoor kitties, that a fungus is causing cold symptoms like a cat sneezing. In this case, antifungal medications are prescribed to treat it.

IV fluids

Hydration and nutrition are two essential elements of healing. Cats who are not eating or drinking will need to receive crucial fluids and nutritional support to ensure strength to fight off infections and recover fully.


Corticosteroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation, in this case, of the nasal and sinus passages.

Antibiotics or antifungals should be used to treat secondary infections before corticosteroids are given to reduce inflammation. However, follow your vet’s advice.

Cats responsive to corticosteroids are often transitioned to inhaled steroids for long term management.

Nasal flush

Cats with chronic congestion may need a nasal flush to dislodge blockages and debris a few times per year.

A nasal flush IS NOT a home remedy and needs to be done by a veterinarian for sedation is most likely necessary.


Surgery may be necessary in severe cases where the culprit remains a mystery.

Rhinotomy is a surgical procedure where an incision is made into the nose, allowing viewing of the nasal passages for radical sinus operations.

Cats with cancerous growths or other anatomical issues in the nasal passages may merit these extreme measures.

Cat Sinus Infection

Cat sinus infectionA sinus infection or sinusitis happens when the sinuses become inflamed due to colds, irritation or allergies, leaving the cat more vulnerable to one or many diseases like kennel cough.

Bacterial sinus infections can cause many common cold symptoms along with some extras

Cat sinus infection symptoms

Kitties suffering from sinus infections may be asymptomatic, but cats often show some cold or upper respiratory infection signs.

Common symptoms of sinus infections in cats:

  • Cat sneezing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Head pain
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal Congestion

Why is my cat’s snot bright green?

While a viral infection may cause a runny nose and congestion, the nasal discharge will be clear. On the other hand, a bacterial infection will come with bright green or yellowish mucus from the kitty’s eyes and nose.

When bacteria like bordetella or chlamydophila felis become trapped and breed in pre-existing mucus. This mucus turns yellow to green as the white blood cells work their magic.

And that’s why your cat’s snot is green – you’re welcome.

Cat sinus infection antibiotics

If a bacterial infection is a culprit, antibiotics are needed to stop replicating harmful bacteria in the upper respiratory system.

The two most prescribed antibiotics for bacterial infections in cats are:

  1. Doxycycline
  2. Amoxicillin


When it comes to bacterial infections in cats, a 10-day observation period is recommended unless the patient exhibits fever, lethargy, no appetite, and cold symptoms.

If the respiratory infection is not cleared within ten days, antibiotics are needed. Doxycycline is consistently recommended because it is well-tolerated by cats and its broad spectrum of activity against typical feline nasal pathogens.

Doxycycline should not be administered dry.

When giving a cat a capsule directly, consider coating it with coconut oil and offering antibiotics in a pill treat. Be sure to give your cat at least 6 millilitres of water (or bone broth) immediately afterwards to wash it down and offer fresh, delicious food as well.

Doxycycline is also offered in liquid form, which is easier to give. You can mix liquid doxycycline in food to hide the flavour or give the medication directly with a syringe.


Amoxicillin is the first choice in treating cats urinary tract infections, as well as

Amoxicillin can also be an alternate choice if Chlamydophila felis or Mycoplasma are not suspected.

A more extensive diagnostic workup by a veterinarian is necessary for cats with an acute disease that does not respond to antibiotic therapy within ten days.

Azithromycin is another option when neither doxycycline nor amoxicillin are viable options.

With antibiotics, a bacterial infection should start to improve within a couple of days.

AntibioticDosageWith food? 
Doxycycline2 mg per pound of body weightYes and lots of water

*Do not give dry*

Amoxicillin5-10 mg per pound orally every 12 hoursCan be given with or without food.

If vomiting occurs, offer food at the next dose

Erythromycin5-10 mg per poundGive on an empty stomach

Cat sinus infection treatment

Ultimately your cat’s sinus infection treatment could be a combination of any of the prior treatments discussed. It is important to note that a cat exhibiting signs of a sinus infection should see the veterinarian for testing and a more confident diagnosis.


Cats are independent and confident companions who don’t always show how they feel – even if they’re really sick!

A cat will not hold a paw up when something is caught between its paw pads like the dog. Nor will a little cat sneezing stop them from enjoying their day and decreasing the local bird population.

That means it’s crucial for cat parents to be extra vigilant and intuitive around their feline companions – watch out for abnormal behaviour and be sure to consult with your vet if something’s not right.