Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
My wonderful 5-year-old kitty started having pretty severe sneezing episodes a few a days ago, and she’s still doing this off and on three or four days later. She doesn’t have any other signs of illness — her appetite is great, she’s playful, she’s not hiding, and she doesn’t have any nasal or eye drainage (I’m an RN, so I know what to look for). But sometimes she’ll sneeze about 10 times in a row! I can’t think of any new causes for irritations in house like using room scents, perfumes or anything like that. Please help.
~ Sue and kitty/sweetie
Siouxsie: Well, Sue, that’s pretty unusual, but there are reasons why cats sneeze other than respiratory infections.
Thomas: Sometimes cats sneeze because they get something stuck in their nose. I know of a cat that had sneezing fits like crazy. His person brought him to the vet, the vet looked in his nose, and pulled out a blade of grass!
Bella: Ew. A blade of grass up your nose? That doesn’t sound like fun!
Siouxsie: Cats also can get seasonal allergies, but usually when cats get those “hay fever” type allergies, they’ll also have clear discharge from the nose and occasionally the eyes as well.
Thomas: If a kitty gets dust in their nose, that can cause sneezing fits, too. Maybe your cat is trying to tell you it’s time to vacuum under the bed?
Bella: Mama hardly ever vacuums under the bed …
Mama: Bella, please! That’s just embarrassing.
Bella: … and I’ve gone under there to explore or to get one of my toys I batted under there, and I grab my toy and along with it comes some cast-off kitty fur, and it makes me sneeze.
Siouxsie: You’d better watch it, kid, or I’ll tell them how you backwash into the kitty fountain.
Bella: Do not!
Siouxsie: Do too.
Bella: Do not!
Mama: Ladies, please!
Thomas: Anyhow, Sue, another thing to watch out for is that a kitty cold can start out with sneezing and then progress on to more of a viral respiratory infection. And if she has something stuck in her nose, it may cause irritation, which can result in truly frightening things like bloody sneezes!
Siouxsie: So the bottom line is, even though what’s going on with your cat is not likely to be a cold given the lack of nasal and eye discharge, we’d still recommend that you call your vet and bring her in to get checked out.
Thomas: And just as a precaution, please know that although there are some medications that can be used on cats as well as humans, some human medications can be fatal. Just because we’re all mammals doesn’t mean our bodies work in exactly the same way.
Bella: For example, acetaminophen is highly, highly toxic to cats! It causes severe damage to the liver and red blood cells. NSAID pain relievers and fever reducers are also not safe for cats. If your cat needs medication, please consult with your vet before reaching into the medicine cabinet.
Siouxsie: We’re sure you know that, Sue, but Mama recently met a veterinarian who shared a story about an anesthesiologist (for humans). His cat had a fever, so he gave the kitty acetaminophen, and you can probably guess the tragic end of that story. That’s why we always advise professionals in the human medical field to check with a veterinarian to ensure a medication is cat-safe before administering it.
Thomas: So, Sue, we’d definitely recommend a chat with your vet and maybe a brief visit to make sure nothing’s wrong … and if there’s something stuck in her nose, the vet can get it out.
Bella: Have you other readers ever had a cat that had sneezing fits without discharge or other symptoms of illness? Did you ever find out what caused it? What did your vet suggest to make sure your kitty’s sneezing was kept to a minimum? Share your ideas in the comments!
I knew a cat one time that had grass in his nose too. He sneezed a lot. Mum pulled it out and he was okay after that. Maybe Sue’s cat has grass in his nose too. I sure hope the kitty will be okay.
I have a multi-cat household where occasionally everyone will start sneezing, with no other symptoms. I asked my vet, and he said that viruses go around in animals just like humans, and many times, especially with the change of seasons, everyone can start sneezing for a short period of time. Per his advise, as long as ALL OTHER BEHAVIORS ARE NORMAL, there isn’t really any need to worry, but if ANYTHING else changes at all, then it’s time for a quick trip to the vet to rule out any other causes. Getting a humidifier in the house can greatly assist their breathing, and can shorten any sneezing episodes. This really helps humans also, especially once the heat comes on in the house with the approach of winter.
Hope this helps!!
Betty, Griffin Michael, and Riley Quinn Murphy
I tried one of those new light weight litters. It was very dusty – When my guys did their business it would raise a cloud of dust. They both started sneezing. A lot. Changed out the litter, and no more sneezes.
I also had a kitty who sneezed with scented litter. Can’t say I blame him!
Amey, Shadow & Grizabella
Get a Roomba 880. It goes under all the furniture.
My robot vacuum is THE BOMB.
No cat hair in our home
No sneezing problems with my cat or my twin sister’s cat, but once my little Dachshund Simon was found with bloody mucus on his left nostril. We took him to the vet to see if a foxglove barb had gotten up his nose, or something of the sort, but that wasn’t the case. Mom finally figured he had sneezed so hard he hit his nose on the ground. That’s like the ultimate short joke, folks.
im sorry… i couldnt help that laugh…
No, don’t apologize. If you thought it was funny, that’s completely fine. I still laugh when I think about it. I even made a little comic about the incident. It really is the ultimate short joke. ^n_n^
My 2 don’t sneeze round the house as such, but when i fill the sink up for them to paddle/ play in, sometimes (ok, most of the time) Sophie will stick her nose in and -i dunno- sniff the water ?? (while she’s stood in it) and then give out the BIGGEST sneeze ever !!! which not only gets me but as its directed at the water, it splashes upwards and outwards and gets us both again !!
Alex occasionally does it, but i think he’s more afraid Sophie will splash him !! (big baby!!) hehehe
(then, of cause, as they are getting out of the water, they do the obligatory leg shakes and drench the place again !! hehehe
I had a kitty who had a loose tooth. She kept sneezing to try to dislodge it. I brought her to the vet’s after a couple of days thinking she had a cold or virus, only to find the tooth barely hanging on. The vet pulled the tooth and her sneezing stopped!
That is absolutely Fascinating!!! I would have NEVER thought about a hanging tooth being related to sneezing. Thanks SO much for your interesting comment!
I had no idea either. That really is fascinating.
My 14 year old terrific female baby started to sneeze a few months ago after being put under for her teeth cleaning. I brought her to the vet and she gave her antibiotics. They didn’t help. X-rays were made and nothing was found in the nasal passages. She mostly sneezes after she is eating her wet food but also after waking up in the morning. The vet is scratching her head and doesn’t know what else to do…
I don’t know what I can do to help her, sometimes it seems to me that she might be choking and I am scared to death. Perhaps it is really only an allergy ?
CAN SOMEBODY HELP US ?
Thanks for any advise and happy holidays.
I know this question is a bit old, but I have something to add to this discussion, in case someone else comes looking for this topic.
My dad had a big orange kitty named Alex. He sadly crossed the rainbow bridge a few months ago. We estimate that he was about 14 years old. He stayed outside most of the time, but my dad would bring him in during the winter months. Being that dad was on social security, he couldn’t afford to buy monthly flea prevention drops, so Alex had fleas while outdoors. About 4 years ago, dad brought him in for good, because he was showing signs of aging.
At the end of last year, Alex started sneezing his furry head off. First it was no big deal, but then he would sneeze snot everywhere. Then, his nose became stuffed up. When cats can’t smell, they won’t eat.
We took him to the vet, and they drew blood to test for Bartonella. The results wouldn’t back for at least a week, so I had to keep Alex alive.
I researched everything I could and could not give him, and scheduled syringe feedings a few times a day. Finally, the result came back as positive. The bad news was that we couldn’t afford it.
He cleared up after that, but started getting sick again this past April. Nothing I did helped him, and he passed away in July.
So if your kitty has ever had any number of fleas, there is a possibility they have Bartonella. The symptoms start with sneezing.
Thank you. Sorry for rambling.
Teresa & Johnny, Cash, Leonard, & Sheldon