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Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing? 7 Vet-Reviewed Causes

Written by: Sarah Psaradelis

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

tabby cat sneezing

Why Does My Cat Keep Sneezing? 7 Vet-Reviewed Causes


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM Photo


Dr. Maxbetter Vizelberg DVM

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It is common for cats to sneeze on occasion. Cats need to force irritants from their noses (just like humans) and it is a normal body function. If your cat is sneezing excessively, then there may be an underlying health issue that can be causing it. Sneezing is natural in cats, but if your cat is sneezing more than usual, it can cause cat owners to become worried.

If your cat is sneezing due to an underlying illness, they will have additional symptoms other than persistent sneezing. If you find your cat is sneezing more than usual, we have listed some reasons that cause cats to sneeze more than usual.

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The 7 Likely Reasons Your Cat Keeps Sneezing

1. Nasal Irritation

Abyssinian cat meowing
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Nasal irritation is a common reason for cats sneezing. This can happen when something gets inside of your cat’s nose. Your cat’s natural response will be to sneeze in attempt to rid itself of the irritant. This can be caused by dust particles, congestion, and strong smells that will trigger your cat to sneeze. This is not usually a cause for concern, especially if your cat does not have any other symptoms.

2. Allergies

cat skin disease
Image Credit: eremeevdv, Shutterstock

Seasonal allergies can also occur in cats usually due to an immune response caused by certain allergens such as dust, mold, and pollen. However, a cat may often suffer from dry skin if they have allergies and sneezing will rarely be the main cause unless their sinuses become congested. If your cat is sneezing because of allergies, a veterinarian may suggest an antihistamine medication to help control your cat’s allergy symptoms.

3. Foreign Material

cat is being checked by a vet
Image Credit: Maria Sbytova, Shutterstock

Larger foreign material such as blades of grass that get inhaled may be difficult for your cat to remove on its own, so your cat’s veterinarian will do a rhinoscopy or nasal flush to get rid of the blockage. If your cat has a large foreign material in their nose, they may constantly sneeze and have watery eyes and the nostril where the foreign material is stuck inside may have minor swelling and be congested.

4. Respiratory Infections

cat examined by Vets
Image Credit: Kzenon, Shutterstock

Certain viral respiratory infections could be the reason your cat is sneezing. The feline herpesvirus causes cats to show symptoms of an upper respiratory infection and the symptoms may get worse when your cat is stressed. A common symptom of respiratory infection in cats will include persistent sneezing, watery eyes, and a runny nose. The calicivirus can also cause respiratory infection symptoms in cats and infected cats will need treatment by a veterinarian who will run tests for a proper diagnosis of the condition. Some viral respiratory infections such as feline herpesvirus may not have a cure but can be managed long-term.

5. Dental Disease

veterinarian checks teeth of the maine coon cat
Image Credit: Ermolaev Alexander, Shutterstock

Dental disease is a surprising contributor that can cause cats to sneeze more than usual. The roots of a cat’s teeth are located on the upper jaw near their nasal passages, so if your cat has an infection with inflammation, it can trigger your cat’s reflex to sneeze. Infections in the roots of your cats’ teeth can also cause bacteria to enter the nasal passage which can lead to sneezing and inflammation. Dental disease is uncomfortable for cats, and they will need to be treated by a veterinarian.

6. Fungal Infections

Skin disease in a cat
Image Credit: Vlamin, Shutterstock

A common systemic fungus called cryptococcus is likely to cause sneezing in cats, along with swelling and difficulty breathing. The fungal spores get inhaled through your cat’s nose where the infection starts to develop in their nasal passages. Your cat will have labored breathing, nasal discharge, persistent sneezing, and wounds around their nose. Another common fungus is Histoplasma capsulatum, which can be inhaled by your cat and cause respiratory troubles.

Fungal infections need prompt treatment from a veterinarian before they enter the bloodstream and become dangerous for your cat.

7. Strong Smells

cat smelling plastic
Image Credit: Faqih03, Shutterstock

Strong smells like chemical irritants which can be found in many air fresheners, deodorant sprays, perfumes, cigarette or vape smoke, and other harsh solvents can irritate your cat’s nose. Since a cat’s nose is much stronger than a human’s, they can become sensitive to the chemicals and fumes that are in their environment. These solvents can also make your cat’s nose congested and irritate your cat’s nasal membranes triggering their sneezing reflex.

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If you are worried about your cat’s persistent sneezing or they have sneezing along with other worrying symptoms, then it is important to take them to a veterinarian for a check-up and potential treatment. If your cat sneezes on occasion, it is usually not a cause for concern. If your cat has a runny nose, swelling, wounds, inflammation, or labored breathing accompanied by sneezing, it is very likely a symptom of an underlying health condition.

Featured Image Credit By: Jupiter_79, Pixabay

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