That cute little sneeze in most cases is nothing to worry about. But some cases do require some attention.
Cats, just like us, will sneeze when there’s a tickle or an itch in their nostrils. They can also be prone to allergic reactions, just like we can. However, the cause could be a nasty viral or bacterial infection that might require a course of antibiotics, and in some cases, can indicate something even more serious.
If your cat is suddenly sneezing in bursts, check for any other symptoms or anything else out of the ordinary, whether it’s their behaviour or physical appearance.
Other symptoms appearing alongside sudden onsets of sneezing could include:
If your cat’s been sneezing for more than a few days and they’re not prone to allergies, it’s time to see the vet.
Just like that cold or dose of flu we may get, the most likely cause of your cat’s sneezing is a mild viral or bacterial infection. Your vet may take swabs of the inside of your cat’s mouth, nose, throat and eyes and send them away for testing.
The most common viral infections that cause sneezing are feline herpes and feline calicivirus. While these viruses aren’t necessarily dangerous, if left untreated other more serious infections may develop. Feline herpes, for example, can often lead to a further bacterial infection but can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
Sneezing can be the first signs of a long list of other serious illnesses and conditions. Some of the more serious are feline leukaemia and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) or ‘cat AIDS’. Feline leukaemia is in most cases fatal and FIV attacks the cat’s immune system, leaving them vulnerable to further infection and serious, life-threatening illness.
Other infections that cause sneezing in cats include Bordetella, Feline Chlamydia, Mycoplasma and Feline infectious peritonitis
If your cat doesn’t come into contact with other cats and spends its time indoors, it’s far more likely that your cat is having an allergic reaction. If your cat is sneezing due to an allergy of some sort, they could also be coughing, wheezing, have itchy skin and itchy, runny eyes or an itchy back or base of tail (most commonly seen in flea allergies), itchy ears and ear infections, vomiting, diarrhea, snoring caused by an inflamed throat and sore or swollen paws.
If you suspect your cat has an allergy, let the vet do some tests to determine how best to treat it.
Often you can help your cat’s sneezes by simply tracking down anything new to the house that might be the culprit. This could include cigarette smoke, scented candles, new perfume, chemical cleaners, pest sprays, mould, excessive levels of dust, certain fabrics or even a particular food are all common causes of allergies.
With the onset of spring, a sneeze is most likely to be caused by nothing more than pollen, but it is worth noticing if it might something more.
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