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Why My Cat Keeps Sneezing

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HGlick has rescued and placed stray cats for over 20 years and has personally fostered more than ten during that time

sneezing-cat

Your Sneezing Cat is usually telling you that there is an irritation with his nasal passage. Sneezing is a reflex that results from stimulation of the lining of the nose. If your cat sneezes off and on for several hours but shows no other signs of an illness, his symptoms may be due to minor nasal irritation or allergy. Sneezing which continues throughout the day may be the initial signs of a viral upper respiratory infection.

If there is a foreign material in the nasal cavity, your cat will experience bouts of violent sneezing along with head shaking and pawing at the nose. The foreign material might have sneezed out, but the irritation caused by it will most probably result in continued sneezing.

Some bacterial infections in the nasal passages and frontal sinuses also produce bouts of sniffling with the sneezing, accompanied by nasal discharges. These particular diseases tend to become chronic.

Reverse Sneezing

Reverse sneezing in cats is a condition that will rarely indicate a foreign body trapped at the back of the nasal cavity. However, it will alarm us because to the human ear it sounds worse than it actually is (in most cases). It sounds as though there is something caught in his air passages, but it is usually due to a temporary spasm of the throat muscles. An accumulation of mucus or an irritation at the back of the throat is probably the initiating factor.

Let's Take a Look at some of the main causes of sneezing

Foreign Bodies in the Nose

These can include grass seeds, straw, string, wood splinters, and sometimes an insect. The most pronounced sign of a foreign body in the nose is violent sneezing at first and intermittent later on, with pawing at the nose. Reverse sneezing along with attempts to clear the throat usually suggest a foreign object trapped at the back of the nasal cavity.

A cat with a foreign object in his nose might squint his eye or tilt his head to the side that is affected. He also might drop his head to the floor with his neck extended, while making deep inhaling efforts. If the foreign objects are allowed to remain longer than a day or two, they could be associated with a secondary bacterial infection.

Nasal Allergies

Periodic occurrences of sneezing that last a short time could be the result of a nasal allergy in your cat. At times they are joined by a clear watery discharge from the nose. They commonly occur on a day-to-day basis and are caused by an environmental irritant or allergen. This type of allergy (called rhinitis), will respond well to medications containing a steroid and antihistamine.

How to Clear Nasal Congestion in Your Cat

Nasal Infection

The most common cause of a nasal infection in the cat is a feline viral respiratory illness. You can determine if both nostrils are involved or if other cats in the house exhibit the same symptoms of sneezing, nasal discharge, noisy breathing, and mouth breathing. The nasal discharge is watery at first but soon becomes yellow and thick. Viral respiratory infections are also accompanied by fever, tearing, redness and discharge from the eyes, ulcers on the tongue, cough, and lethargy.

Bacterial infections originate when the nasal lining has been injured by a foreign body or a blow to the nose, or by a prior viral upper respiratory disease. The most common sign of bacterial involvement of the nose is a nasal discharge which is thick and. creamy yellow. A bloody discharge indicates ulceration of the lining membrane.

Sinusitis

The major sinuses in the cat are the frontal. Because respiratory infections are fairly common in the cat, secondary infections of the frontal sinuses occur with some frequency. The signs of chronic bacterial infection are an ongoing nasal discharge accompanied by frequent sneezing and sniffling. Upon further inspection, an X-ray might show an increased density in one sinus. The cat may appear to have a headache and sit with his head hanging and his eyes partially closed. This will usually be followed by diminished appetite and weight loss.

Nasal Polyps and Tumors

Benign and malignant tumors are found in the nasal cavity and sinuses, most frequently on just one side. Sneezing and sniffling are early signs. This will be followed by obstructed breathing or possibly bleeding in the affected nostril.

A polyp is a growth that starts out as an enlargement of one of the mucous glands. It is not cancerous. It usually appears like a cherry on a stalk. Polyps and small tumors should be removed by your veterinarian.

Large tumors are more serious and make one side of the face protrude more than the other. If they extend beyond the eye, they will bulge. These tumors are advanced and treatment is most often not possible.

Pay close attention to your Sneezing Cat He might require closer observation by your vet.

References: The Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook by Delbert G. Carlson, D.V.M and James M. Giffin, M.D. - First Edition

Kitten and Cat Sneezing or Sniffling Treatment

Comments

angelakarina111 on December 28, 2012:

Cat Symptoms usually manifest themselves as a health problem that points towards an illness or disease.lung cancer in dogs

infocity from United States on October 15, 2012:

When reverse sneezing condition affects dog, the dog rapidly pulls air into the nose. When dog tries to inhale air while sneezing, he starts making snorting sound. This condition is also known as paroxysmal respiration in medical terms. read more @ http://www.healthupdate.info/dog-reverse-sneezing-...

kims3003 on December 21, 2010:

well thought out and written hub with great information. Impressive work and a nice writing style too!

thefreemanme on December 20, 2010:

That's very interesting and helpful post!

Thank you for sharing this :)

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on December 18, 2010:

Thank You for the kind words Lady Guinevere, Bj Benson, TheHands, EmeryCat, CatsSneezing and TopHubs

TopHubs2010 on December 17, 2010:

thank you for sharing this informative post, please keep up this great work

http://www.scratchcats.com/

Cats Sneezing on December 13, 2010:

This is a very complete listing and explanation of cat sneezing symptoms and remedies.

I became involved in this field because my 8 year old tortoiseshell began chronically sneezing. Having researched cures exhaustively, I can honestly say that this article (blog post) is absolutely lacking nothing.

Thanks for caring about our pets!

Felicity

Emery Cat on November 08, 2010:

It looks like they are in such discomfort, I hate seeing my cat when she's sneezing! Thanks for writing, very helpful for me too.

Jorge Vamos on June 04, 2010:

My cat only sneezes every once in awhile, and she makes the weirdest face.

BJBenson from USA on March 31, 2010:

Thank you I found this helpful

Debra Allen from West By God on March 13, 2010:

Very good information. I have five indoor cats and five outdoor cats. I have one that sneezes all year round. We thought she had a sinus infection and finally, after many vet visits, took her to a holistic vet. She just has allergies because none of the other cats have any signs of this. She doesn't sneeze all the time though. It comes in spurts.

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on March 13, 2010:

Thats great news Guru-C!

Cory Zacharia from Miami Beach, Florida on March 12, 2010:

Thank you hglick, We had her one-month checkup last week and she's healing well. I'm glad we took swift action. Thanks again for this informative hub!

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on January 31, 2010:

Absolutely Guru-C, you must not ignore serious sneezing. I hope that everything goes well for your kittie.

Cory Zacharia from Miami Beach, Florida on January 30, 2010:

My sweet kittie was just operated for a nasal melanoma. She had been sneezing for months. When I took her to the vet, they did not suspect cancer... Take your pet's sneezing very seriously, my friends!

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on December 20, 2009:

Mzdreamer, Good Luck to you with your kittens. Try reading this article, It may be helpful: http://www.cfa.org/articles/health/rhinotracheitis...

MZDREAMERSUNRISE on December 20, 2009:

I'M GLAD THAT I READ YOUR ARTICLE IT REALLY HELP ME WITH MY SNEEZING KITTY'S I HAVE 4 KITTENS ALL GIRLS BUT JUST 2 OF THEM SNEEZ REAL BAD AND THEY ARE VERY TINY THEN THE ORTHER'S I AM WONDERING MAY BE THE 2 MIGHT HAVE A SERIOUS INFECTIONS? THEY ARE 5 1/2 MOS BUT NOW FOR READING THIS I AM PRETTY SURE I WILL TAKE THEM TO MY OLDER CAT DOCTOR I AM REALLY WORRIED FOR THEM IT'S A NON STOP SNEEZING WHAT I MEAN IT IS LIKE THEY JUST KEEP SNEEZING ALONG TIME I PUT SOME BABY NOSE DROPS IN THERE NOSE IT STOP FOR A LITLE BITE. BUT FORSURE I'M TAKEING THEM TOMORROW I HOPE ITS NOT TO LATE FOR MY KITTEN'S ESPECIALY CUZ THERE TINY FOR THERE AGE? THANKS AGAIN I JUST LOVE THIS WEB SITE IT'S VERY HELP FULL KEEP UP THE GOOD ARTICLES.

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on October 03, 2009:

Thank You stars

stars439 from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State. on October 03, 2009:

Very helpfull informative article. We have ten cats. God Bless

hglick (author) from Riverhead,NY on April 16, 2009:

Thank You Lisa HW for your kind comments

Lisa HW from Massachusetts on April 15, 2009:

hglick, excellent and (for me) timely Hub. Just tonight my daughter's cat was doing some very peculiar sneezing. I've had cats all my life, and I'm pretty familiar with the usual cat sneeze; but this that the cat was doing this evening was very strange. :) Your Hub was very informative. I'll mention it to my daughter.

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