When Ah-choo Means Ahh Shoot: Why is My Cat Sneezing?

By Karin Krisher

27690827_lWhen we sneeze, we often sneeze once to clear our noses of whatever irritant may have triggered the sneeze, and then we move along with our lives happily.

It’s a bit different, though, when there’s a persistent irritant, or we’re sick, or we’re allergic. We can and will sneeze again and again and again with no signs of ceasing.

The same is true for our cats. Sure, it’s cute when their little noses twitch and wiggle, and the tiny noises they make are pretty cute, too. But sometimes sneezing can be a sign of something more.

So how do we tell when it’s just a quick ah-choo, and when we should be shouting, “Ah, shoot!” and making a feline beeline for the vet’s office?

cat sneeze

Just one sneeze is usually not a threat. However, if a sneeze is what leads you to look at your cat’s nose, and you find a serious lack or excess of moisture, pay close attention to his or her behavior over the next few days to see if you observe other symptoms of potential illnesses.

Some things that aren’t on your worry list:

Intermittent responses to candles, cigarettes, seasonal allergens, perfume, new shampoos, dust, known mold, litter dust, etc. If you know your cat is responding to any of these, don’t fret. Determine when your cat sneezes regularly and you can rule out many of these irritants as the temporary cause.

Some things that are on your worry list:

Discharge from the nose (especially green or yellow), prolonged cough, labored breathing, wheezing, frequent urination (or other notable signs of stress, like hiding more often, louder meowing, etc.). Any of these could be signs of a viral infection like feline herpes or calicivirus. Time for a trip to the vet’s office! (Look for Calming products if your cat hates the car ride as much as ours do.)

Has a simple sneeze ever lead you to the vet with your cats? What was the outcome? Share your story on our Facebook page!

Photos courtesy of vvvita and nailiaschwarz on 123RF

 

 

 

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