No matter how funny or cute a cat sneeze may sound, as a cat owner you should ask yourself – is a constant sneezing a cause for concern ? Cats, much like their human counterparts, may get ill, get colds, respiratory infections and sinus infections. These adorable tiny sneezes, however, can also be caused by other diseases.
Why do cats usually sneeze ?
Cats may sneeze for a number of causes, including
- A little tickling on the nose. That has happened to everyone.
- A strong odor, such as one from chemicals
- Airborne dust and other particles
- A respiratory illness;
- A foreign object, such as a bit of lint, grass, or hair;
- sinuses inflammation
- Sinus drainage caused by inflammation
Is there a pattern behind it?
The infrequent sneezes are probably nothing to worry about; they might just be the result of something in the air irritating her nasal tract. If it occurs frequently, check for patterns:
Does it occur at the same time every day? Does it just occur there or only when the family is together? In order to tell if your cat is sneezing as a result of an irritant like dust or perfume or as a result of an illness or some underlying problem, you may look for patterns.
Your cat may be reacting to a chemical in cleaning supplies or dust in the litter if you find he sneezes more after you clean the bathroom or after using its own restroom.
On the other hand, if your cat is sneezing often and you have also seen discharge from the eyes or nose, as well as a lack of energy and appetite, then you should probably be concerned. Sneezing coupled with additional symptoms may indicate your cat has an upper respiratory infection or some underlying disease that may need veterinarian attention.
When Should You Visit a Vet ?
You might be able to wait a day or two and merely watch your cat for any changes if she only sometimes sneezes and has no other symptoms or very minor ones. On the other hand, kittens that have these kinds of symptoms should always visit a veterinarian.
A trip to the veterinarian is probably required for a correct diagnosis and treatment if the sneeze continues or is accompanied by other symptoms. In the event that your cat has stopped eating, this is very crucial. Due to the inability to breathe out of the nose and the loss of smell and/or taste, loss of appetite is a fairly typical symptom of upper respiratory disorders in cats. Also some may cause difficulty in swallowing
A cat’s body enters hunger mode after just a few days, unlike the human body, which can spend weeks or even months without food. Hepatic lipidosis, a very dangerous disorder, may develop from this (or fatty liver disease). For urgent treatment in these situations, intravenous fluids and additional nutritional assistance are frequently required, followed by any prescriptions that are required, such as antibiotics, anti-nausea drugs, and appetite stimulants.
Upper Respiratory Infections as Sneezing Causes in Cats
Upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats frequently manifest as sneezing. Upper respiratory infections, sometimes known as the “common cold” or “cat flu,” can be bacterial, viral, or even fungal, though that is less frequent.
These infections can persist anywhere from 7 to 21 days, with an average uncomplicated case lasting 7 to 10 days.
For cats, recurrent sneezing over several hours or days, unusual discharge from the nose or eyes that might seem clear, yellow, green, or crimson, repeated coughing or swallowing, lethargy or fever, dehydration, and/or decreased appetite are all common signs of an upper respiratory infection.
Cats who are young, old, immunosuppressed, and unvaccinated are more likely to have URIs than other cats. Those housed in groups, such as shelters and multicat families, are also susceptible since many of the viruses that cause these ailments are very infectious, especially if they haven’t had vaccinations.
The severity of upper respiratory infections affects the course of treatment. URIs can go away on their own after a few weeks in circumstances when the symptoms are typically not severe. Other circumstances could call for extra therapy, such as:
- Antiviral drugs or antibiotics
- Drops for the nose or eyes
- Subcutaneous fluids; (in cases involving dehydration)
Hospitalization may be necessary in severe cases for more extensive care such intravenous fluids and nutritional supplementation. Upper respiratory infections can result in pneumonia, persistent breathing problems, and even blindness if they are not treated.
Here are some quick measures you may do to provide relief if you believe your cat has an upper respiratory infection:
- Frequently use warm, moist cotton to clean any discharge from your cat’s nose and face.
- Try warming up some canned food to tempt your cat to eat.
- Ensure that your cat has access to a lot of clean water.
- Use a humidifier to maintain moisture in your cat’s nasal passages.
Sinus and Nasal Problems
Rhinitis and sinusitis are examples of inflammatory diseases that can affect cats. Sinusitis is an infection of the sinus lining, whereas rhinitis is an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, which we all know as a “stuffy nose.”
These two ailments, together known as “rhinosinusitis” in cats, are frequently brought on by upper respiratory infections.
In addition to frequent sneezing, signs of rhinitis and sinusitis in cats include:
- Clear nasal discharge in mild cases OR yellow, green or bloody in severe cases
- Labored breathing, snoring and/or breathing through the mouth
- Pawing at the face
- Tearing and discharge from the eyes
- Reverse sneezing (clearing the nose through short, rapid inhalations)
- A lump on the bridge of the nose (if fungal)
A comprehensive physical examination and study of your cat’s medical history are required for the diagnosis of rhinitis and sinusitis. Along with a nasal wash, a rhinoscopy—which entails putting a tiny endoscope into the mouth or nose for improved vision of the nasal structure—may be required to gather samples.
A nasal flush, broad-spectrum antibiotics to treat or prevent bacterial infections, and a dosage of steroids to open the nasal and sinus canals are all possible treatments. In extreme situations, intravenous fluids and nutritional care may also be required.
Upper respiratory diseases that are persistent
Chronic respiratory disorders can also be the cause of persistent and frequent sneezing in cats. The most frequent type of rhinitis, chronic rhinitis, typically results from immune system and nasal passage lasting harm.
Infections and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract are indications of chronic upper respiratory diseases in cats, but may last for weeks, months, or in short bursts. Recurrent bacterial infections brought on by ailments like chronic rhinitis might make the symptoms worse.
Sneezing fits, a stuffy, runny nose, thick, yellow nasal discharge, loss of appetite, drooling, and trouble swallowing are a few examples of these symptoms.
Cats that have already recovered from severe acute viral infections, such as feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus, are more prone to develop chronic upper respiratory illnesses with symptoms that recur frequently or seldom. Additionally, they are more vulnerable to viral reactivation brought on by stress, sickness, or immunosuppression.
Further research is required to identify the underlying causes of chronic illnesses, such as:
- Blood and urine testing to look for infectious illnesses and viruses
- Chest, nose, and throat X-rays or sophisticated imaging (CT or MRI)
- Rhinoscopy, which improves the ability to see nasal structures
- Tiny biopsies of the nose to check for any living organisms
Chronic upper respiratory diseases in cats have no known treatments, therefore therapy mainly consists of controlling symptoms with regular veterinarian visits and drugs.
In contrast to humans, cats rarely sneeze due to allergies. Instead, lesions, itching, and hair loss are more commonly seen as signs of skin irritations. Aside from coughing, sneezing, and wheezing, some cats might also have additional symptoms, such as itchy and watery eyes. This is especially true of cats that have asthma.
Allergy rhinitis, sometimes known as “hay fever” in humans, has seasonal symptoms if induced by outdoor allergens like pollen, or year-round symptoms if brought on by interior allergens like dust and mold.
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for cat allergies. However, the signs can be controlled with a customized regimen designed by your regular physician or a veterinary dermatology expert. This could involve a particular diet as well as specially formulated drugs and immunizations.
Some vaccinations, such as those given to prevent upper respiratory infections, can also make cats sneeze. But after a few days, symptoms normally go away on their own.
Avoid the Cold by Taking Precautions
Naturally, prevention is always preferable than therapy. You might be able to keep your cat healthy and prevent them from sneezing for the rest of their lives by taking a few extra actions.
Vaccinating your cat on the schedule advised by your family veterinarian is one of the greatest strategies to avoid certain infections. Call your local veterinarian if you have any questions regarding the health of your cat. The doctor is there for just that!