Cat Sneezing & Nasal Discharge


Have you noticed your cat sneezing a lot lately? Occasional sneezing – especially when not accompanied by any other symptoms or behavioral changes – is nothing to worry about. Your cat probably just has an irritant in her nose and is sneezing to get it out.

However, you shouldn’t ignore symptoms that point to a more serious problem, such as frequent sneezing accompanied by nasal discharge. Learn what these symptoms might mean and when you should take your cat to Germantown Vet for medical attention. Call us at (240) 252-7467 or contact us online now!

Causes of Sneezing & Nasal Discharge in Cats

Understanding why your cat is sneezing and has nasal discharge is the first step toward identifying the proper treatment. Common causes of sneezing and nasal discharge in cats include:

  • Inhaled irritants or allergens: Polyps and grass awns are irritants that can cause cold symptoms in your cat, including sneezing and nasal discharge. Then, your cat might be allergic to household items, such as perfume, cigarette smoke, cleaning products and candles. She might even be allergic to her own kitty litter. And just like humans, cats can have seasonal allergies, causing them to sneeze in response to pollen, mold, ragweed and other outdoor allergens.
  • Upper respiratory infection: This condition is more like the flu than a cold because it lasts longer and can be difficult to get rid of without medical intervention, especially in kittens or older cats. Recently adopted cats are most likely to get upper respiratory infections, though early and complete vaccinations reduce the chances.
  • Fungal infections: Aspergillosis is an example of a fungal infection that can cause sneezing and nasal discharge in cats. The Aspergillus fungus is commonly found in dust, hay and grass clippings. Exposure to these substances could cause your cat to contract a fungal infection.
  • Feline calicivirus: While mouth ulcers are the most common symptom of this infection, it can also affect the respiratory tract and cause sneezing as a result.
  • Pneumonia: Feline calicivirus can sometimes cause pneumonia, a bacterial infection with symptoms that include nasal discharge, coughing and sneezing, among others. Fortunately, this condition can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Dental disease: Inflammation of a tooth root or other dental problem can cause drainage into the sinuses and result in nasal discharge.

What to Do If Your Cat is Sneezing & Has Nasal Discharge

Occasional sneezing isn’t a concern – it’s likely your cat simply has an irritant in her nose she’s trying to dislodge. However, if your cat starts sneezing often and develops a “runny nose,” follow this advice:

  • Keep your cat indoors and monitor her for changes.
  • Wipe your cat’s nose with a tissue or cotton ball moistened with warm water.
  • Offer canned food to encourage your cat to eat. Try warming up the food if she still hesitates.
  • Run a humidifier to help your cat’s nasal passages drain.
  • Don’t administer medication without your vet’s approval. Some human medication is toxic to cats.
  • Take your cat to the vet if she refuses to eat or drink, won’t move, sneezes blood, or has trouble breathing. The vet can diagnose your cat’s condition and prescribe the proper treatment, which may include antibiotics for bacterial infections or antihistamines for allergies.

Schedule an Appointment with Germantown Vet to Treat Your Cat

The professional team at Germantown Vet is here to diagnose and treat your cat’s sneezing and nasal discharge so she can return to full health! We can treat these symptoms as well as any underlying medical conditions that may be causing them.

Contact us online or by phone at (240) 252-7467 to schedule your cat’s appointment today!

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