Is Cat Sneezing Anything to Worry About?

Because I love my furry friends so much, it can be worrying when they begin to sneeze. Most cats let out the occasional sneeze, but when the sneezing increases in frequency, it is normal for this Furr-Mommy to be concerned!

There are many factors to consider before you worry about your cat. The first factor will be frequency, the second factor will be discharge from the nose, and the third factor will be other symptoms that may be present when the sneeze is occurring. Your cat sneezing can end up being nothing, or it can be an indicator that something more serious is going on. I will take you step by step through an information gathering process that will aid you in determining if your cat’s sneeze is something to be concerned of.

The Frequency of Cat Sneezing

The first thing you will wish to determine is how frequently your cat is sneezing. This information is crucial in deciding if a problem even exists. For instance, if a cat sneezes a few times while you are cleaning the house, but does not make a peep the rest of the week, then one can assume that the sneezing was brought on by the dust from cleaning. This would be considered an occasional sneeze brought on by other circumstances than illness. On the other hand, if your cat who never sneezes begins to sneeze repeatedly or frequently throughout the day, you will need to gather more information to determine if the sneezing is anything to worry about. I always recommend that you record how frequently your cat is sneezing so you can have an accurate representation of what is really going on. Include information about what is going on when the sneezing occurs and your cat’s reaction to the sneeze, as well. Keeping a journal of your cat’s sneezes is great since it can help you see the whole picture. More importantly, it can come in handy if the sneezing does lead to a vet visit. The log you create could be vital information for a vet.

Assessment

The next step to determine if you should worry involves actually examining your cat. You will want to be on the lookout for any nasal discharge that may be occurring in your furry feline. Though cats should have moist noses, a nose that is overly wet, has a discharge, or seems abnormal for your cat is cause for concern. When assessing if the discharge is problematic, one should look for discharge that is green or yellow. Green and yellow discharge from the nose would be considered a sign of infection and would indicate that there is a need for veterinary treatment.

If you determine that your cat’s nose is like what it usually is and that there is no discharge, it is safe to wait a few more days before making a decision.  If your cat continues sneezing for 3-4 more days, a vet visit is needed. If there is discharge or your cat’s nose seems different from normal, a vet visit is recommended. The final step in deciding if your cat’s sneeze is worrisome is noting the other symptoms that may be present in your cat. If your cat is often sneezing for more than a few minutes, a quick examination for other symptoms is important.

A cough

One common symptom that may go along with sneezing is a cough. If your cat has both symptoms for a period of 2 or more days, a vet visit is recommended. Another good indicator you can look out for would be any wheezing or labored breathing from your cat. This could signify a cold, respiratory infection, or asthma.  All of these should be addressed with the aid of a vet. Other symptoms that can be a cause for concern include vomiting, diarrhea, and blood in the stool. These symptoms suggest that there are other problems that should be addressed. Often, this is a symptom of worms or parasites that may be weakening your cat’s immune system.

Distress Symptoms

Cats also exhibit indirect symptoms that can show that they are in distress. For example, a cat beginning to urinate frequently outside of its litter box when he or she has never done so before can be an outward sign of distress. A cat that is normally quiet, but has begun frequently meowing or hissing is another sign. Be observant of any of these additional symptoms or extreme changes in your cat’s behavior.

Quarantine From Other Pets

I would like to quickly comment on what a sneezing cat means for your own health and that of your family, four-legged or not. It is important to realize that you do not need to worry about your own health in most situations where your cat is sick.  However, you should worry about exposure to other furry friends that live in the house.  Keeping your pets separate for a while and not allowing the sharing of food and water dishes should help to ensure all of your other pets remain well and sneeze-free.  If you decide to go to a vet and a problem is diagnosed then be sure to ask your vet what that means for the other animals in your house to ensure they all stay as healthy as possible.

Vet Visit

For any cat owner that notices any abnormal symptoms or behaviors in their cat, a vet visit is the safest answer. While many times, it will turn out to be nothing of concern, other times it could be a sign of something bigger. The level of worry and the immediacy of the vet visit will depend on a number of factors.  Regardless, a thirty dollar vet visit to determine if there is a problem can be well worth it in the long run. The key to providing the best life for your furry friend has a great vet who is knowledgeable about working with cats and is willing to spend the time to answer all of your concerns. If you do decide to go to the vet, go armed with all the information that you have noticed over the days leading up to the vet visit.  That is why the log mentioned in step one is so important. Just being aware of the actual symptoms can help your cat get the care it deserves.