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Sneezing in Cats

Normal, healthy animals may sneeze occasionally as a reaction to dust or other irritants. Persistent, repeated, or violent sneezing has many potential causes.

Common Causes

More common causes are listed first.  Less common causes are listed later.

  • Sneezing as a reaction to irritants in the environment is extremely common.
  • Upper respiratory infections are a very common cause of sneezing.  Nasal discharge and tearing from the eyes may also be present.
  • Nasal or sinus infections with bacteria, viruses, or fungi may trigger sneezing.
  • Tumors of the nose or sinus may cause sneezing.
  • Foreign objects in the nose such as bits of food, foxtails, or blades of grass may trigger sneezing. This is more common in cats that go outside.
  • Nasal allergies (similar to hay fever in people) are uncommon in cats.

Recommended Course of Action

Seek veterinary attention for any cat that sneezes abnormally often or violently.  A veterinarian should assess any cat that suffers from sneezing in combination with nasal discharge or tearing of the eyes.

When in doubt, the safest course of action is to consult with a veterinarian.

Copyright © Eric Barchas, DVM. All rights reserved.
The contents of this page are provided for general informational purposes only. Under no circumstances should this page be substituted for professional consultation with a veterinarian.

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