Why Is Your Cat Suddenly Sneezing?
10 April, 2018
Cats sneeze regularly, just like humans, to release discharge from their noses that cause irritation of the mucous membrane. Although a sneeze every now and again is perfectly normal, frequent sneezing, especially with runny discharge, is not. A sick cat will paw at his nose, have discharge from both the eyes and nose, appear lethargic and may have a lack of appetite.
An upper respiratory infection is the most common reason for a cat’s sneezing
An upper respiratory infection in a cat is more like the flu in humans because it can be very difficult to cure without medical help, especially in kittens, senior cats and/or those with chronic health problems. And, of course, any kitten, no matter how active, should be seen by a veterinarian at the first sign of a cold. However, if your cat refuses to eat or move, you should bring your cat to a veterinarian immediately.
Upper respiratory infections are usually caused by a viral infection
Upper respiratory infections are usually caused by a viral infection but also can be caused by bacteria. The bacteria are highly contagious and can be transmitted through physical contact or shared food and water dishes. To treat a bacterial infection, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics. Left untreated, an upper respiratory infection can develop into pneumonia. Isolate your cat to prevent him from infecting any other cats in your home until he shows no more symptoms of illness.
Below are the symptoms to look out for in your kitty that might signal a respiratory infection:
Sneezing, especially occurring as a series of sneezing over the course of a few hours, or frequently over several days; discharge from the eyes or nose; this may be watery, bloody, or thick and colored clear, yellow or green; coughing or excessive swallowing (if there is drainage into the back of the mouth and throat); lethargic; loss of appetite; fever, dehydration or a raised eyelid.
There ae some viruses that can cause frequent sneezing – FIV and Feline Herpes
The most common causes of sneezing and upper respiratory infections in cats are the feline herpes virus. This virus is passed from cat to cat via direct contact through mutual grooming. A more serious type of virus, the feline immunodeficiency virus, also can cause sneezing in cats. This virus is common in outdoor cats and is transmitted by deep bite wounds that occur during fights. The disease has no cure and can compromise your cat’s immune system. Either of these conditions needs to be diagnosed and treated by a veterinarian.
Allergies can trigger frequent sneezing in cats
Allergies, either seasonal or food related can sometimes cause frequent sneezing in cats. Pollen and other environmental allergens irritate your cat’s nose and cause him to sneeze, usually accompanied by wheezing. Antihistamines are used to treat allergies in cats and alleviate symptoms; steroids can also help reduce inflammation. To deal with food allergies, your veterinarian may place your cat on a hypoallergenic diet, which consists of a few ingredients such as potato, rabbit and duck to see if your cat does have a food allergy.
At home, try to keep your place as dust free as possible. You can also invest in a HEMP air filter which helps or a humidifier.
Other causes for a cat’s sneezing
Foreign matter in the nose, such as the inhaled seed of a foxtail plant, can cause frequent sneezing in your cat. A tumor in the nostrils or dental disease also can be the cause of your cat’s sneezes. These are less likely but can still trigger sneezing.
Prevention of viral infections
The FVRCP vaccine is one way to stop frequent sneezing and prevents most strains of feline herpes and/or minimize the effects. A vaccine is also available for FIV. Most veterinarian and shelters will give cats these vaccines as they are some of the more crucial ones and start when they are kittens. A feline L-Lysine supplement can also help slow the spread of a virus in your cat and speeds up the healing process.