Why Is My Cat Sneezing?

cat sneezing

Cat sneezes are about as adorable as their meows, but persistent cat sneezing could be cause for more concern.

There are a variety of potential causes for cat sneezing ranging from bothersome smells to infections.

What Causes Cats to Sneeze?

Like humans, cats need to clear their nasal passages of irritants like dust or stray hair. Irritating smells, like cleaning products, can also cause sneezing. As such, the occasional sneeze is to be expected.

Cat sneezing fits—where one sneeze is followed by several more—or frequent sneezing over the course of several days can be caused by allergies, but this warrants a trip to the veterinarian, especially if any other symptoms are present.

If it is allergies, your cat’s sneezing may be caused by outdoor or indoor irritants. Common allergens include cigarette smoke, some household cleansers, dust or cockroaches.

“If sneezing is accompanied by watery eyes, nasal discharge or a decrease in appetite, this could indicate a viral infection,” says Dr. Emily Cross, DVM, DAVBP (canine/feline). “Congestion can affect your cat’s appetite since she may not be able to smell her food well.”

Sneezing paired with green mucous around the nose or eyes may signal the presence of a more significant infection that may contain bacteria. Again, consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. They may prescribe an antibiotic, if appropriate.

If the sneeze is accompanied by smelly breath and/or any facial swelling, there may be an underlying dental problem, such as an infection.  

“Dental care is essential to your pet’s health and it is important to have a dental evaluation at least once a year by your veterinarian or any time you suspect an issue,” says Dr. Cross.

Why Your Cat Keeps Sneezing

If your cat has allergies, she may continue to sneeze until you reduce or eliminate the allergens causing her reaction. You can try using HEPA filters, which help capture small dust particles and more. 

Take note of when the sneezing occurs and work to eliminate suspected irritants from your home. For example, if your cat sneezes after you’ve cleaned your bathroom, try switching cleaning products.

If she seems to sneeze after  using her litter box, Dr. Cross suggests switching to a low-dust litter or litter alternative.

Anytime persistent sneezing is accompanied by other symptoms, work with your veterinarian to rule out underlying causes.

Cat sneezing is common and not always cause for alarm. Feel free to “ooh” and “ahh” over the occasional adorable sneeze all you want. Always watch for other symptoms, though, and contact your veterinarian with questions about your cat’s health.

Visit our pet expertise page for more pet care tips from our experts.

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