Sneezing in cats

Black cat on white background


  • The odd sneeze is nothing to worry about, but if your cat is sneezing regularly or is having severe bouts of sneezing, this indicates a problem.
  • Sneezing can be caused by a range of problems ranging from minor to serious.
  • Contact your vet if your cat has started sneezing and you’re not sure why.

General Information

Cats sneeze for the same reason we do, because something has irritated the inside of their nose. The odd sneeze is nothing to worry about but if your cat is sneezing regularly or having severe bouts of sneezing, you need to take them to the vet.

Causes of sneezing in cats

Common causes include:

  • Cat flu - cat flu causes sneezing, a runny nose and weepy eyes. Left untreated, cat flu can become very serious. Fortunately, we can vaccinate against cat flu.
  • Respiratory infections - infections inside the airways can cause sneezing.
  • Irritants - substances such as perfume, dust and smoke can cause sneezing.
  • Dental disease - tooth and gum disease can affect the inside of the nose and cause sneezing.
  • A foreign body in the nose - cats sometimes get blades of grass lodged in the back of their nose/throat, which can cause severe bouts of sneezing.
  • Growths and tumours – growths inside the nose can cause discharge and sneezing.

When to contact your vet

Sneezing from time to time is nothing to worry about, but you should contact your vet if your cat starts sneezing often.

Contact your vet for an urgent appointment if your cat can’t stop sneezing, sneezes blood or seems painful.

Consider insuring your cat as soon as you get them, before any signs of illness start. This will ensure you have all the support you need to care for them.

Published: June 2020

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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only. Illustrations by Samantha Elmhurst.