Should I Worry when my Cat Keeps Sneezing?
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Should I Worry when my Cat Keeps Sneezing?

Cats
Health & Safety

Just like people, cats can have a bout of sneezing for all sorts of reasons and most of the time it shouldn't be cause for concern. But whenever you notice your cat is sneezing a little too much, you need to get them along to the vet so they can be thoroughly examined so they can make sure nothing sinister is going on.

The Most Common Reasons why Cats Sneeze

As previously touched upon our feline friends can experience a bout of sneezing for quite a few reasons with the most common being as follows:

  • They may be suffering from an upper airway infection
  • Your cat may be allergic to something in their environment which can cause a condition known as allergic rhinitis
  • They may have developed a dental problem

However, there are other reasons why a cat might suddenly start sneezing and although a lot less common, they still need investigating by a vet:

  • Your cat may have something wedged in their nostril – this is very rare but during the summer a tiny grass seed may get lodged in their noses when they're out and about doing what they love doing which is hunting down their prey through the long grass
  • They may be suffering from a condition called “reverse sneezing” which sounds a lot worse than it actually is

With this said, there are a few serious conditions which could be the cause and these include Feline Leukaemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Other serious conditions which luckily are relatively rare and which can make cats sneeze more than usual include the following:

  • Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps
  • Oral cancer

Symptoms of More Serious Causes

If your cat is suffering from an upper airway infection there are certain symptoms which you need to watch out for which are as follows:

  • A lack of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • A discharge from eyes and nose
  • Sores around and in their mouths
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at their faces

A lot of cats will paw at their faces when they suffer from an allergic reaction to something, but if none of the other symptoms mentioned above are evident, you should take them along to the vet to check they have nothing stuck up their noses. A vet would then start a series of tests to find out what your cat may be allergic to in their environment. Other signs that a cat might be suffering from an allergy include the following:

  • Head shaking
  • Stress
  • Itchy, scratchy skin which they chew at making their condition that much worse
  • Sneezing a lot to the point of worrying you

All too often, a cat will sneeze when you vacuum a room and when you use household products like furniture polish, air fresheners or a cleaning agent. If you are worried any product may be harming your pet, it's best to switch to pet-friendly products which should have less of an impact on them.

When Sneezing is a Real Worry

Nobody knows their cats as well as their owners so if you notice something different about your pet, you have to go with your instincts and take them along to see the vet. However, you should make note of what it is that's worrying you so that you can explain your concerns when you see the vet for a consultation. If you notice any blood when your cat sneezes, you need to let the vet know about it because this could be caused by either a fungal or bacterial infection. In a worst case scenario, it could be that a tumour is causing the bloody discharge.

If your cat sneezes a lot, has particularly bad breath and is drooling, it could be they have developed a serious dental problem that needs to be treated sooner rather than later. All too often it can make a cat go off their food which is never a good sign. Other symptoms that would be a sure sign your pussy cat has a dental issue includes:

  • A swollen face
  • They develop a fever
  • They constantly paw at their faces and mouths

A tooth abscess is not only incredibly painful, but it can lead to a much more serious health concern which is very often fatal namely oral cancer. It is very easy to mistake an abscess for oral cancer with many cats succumbing to this horrible disease.

Things You Can do to Help Your Cat

If your cat starts sneezing more than usual, you need to check their cat litter is not too dusty which many of the cheaper brands are. With this said, a cat may suddenly develop an allergy even though you've always used the same brand of cat litter which means it's a question of “trial and error” to find one that won't set them off sneezing every time they use their litter tray. Some owners started to use corn-based cat litters because they are dust-free, however it's now known there is a risk of aflatoxin poisoning to cats because corn and moisture are not good bed fellows making it the perfect environment for the bacteria to flourish.

You can also start using pet friendly cleaning products if you think any that you are currently using might be triggering your cat's sneezing bouts. Other things you should avoid using around the house include the following:

  • Scented candles
  • Air fresheners

If you have a wood burning stove or open fireplace in your home, you need to make sure it's not smoking which could be another reason why your cat might be sneezing a lot which happens more during the colder months when fires are lit to keep the home warm. It's also really important to vacuum your home frequently so that dust is kept to a minimum on carpets, soft furnishings and other areas of the house. The more often you vacuum, the less cat hair and dander will be floating around too which can not only make your pussy cat sneeze, but it can trigger an allergic reaction in people too!

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