Why Does My Cat Sneeze a Lot?

Updated November 21, 2016

As a responsible pet owner, you make sure your cat gets plenty of food and water. You also watch him so you don't miss any symptoms of health problems. If your cat sneezes a lot, it could be a sign that it is time to visit your veterinarian.

The Facts

An occasional sneeze from you cat is nothing to worry about. If your cat sneezes a lot, with or without accompanying nasal discharge, pay attention. Frequent sneezing can be an indication that your cat has a health problem. Potential causes of your cat's chronic sneezing include allergies, a viral infection, a condition called chronic rhinitis or nasal obstruction.


Just like humans, cats are susceptible to allergens in the environment. If your cat is allergic to pollen and there is a high pollen count in the air, she will sneeze a lot. Cats can also be allergic to chemicals. If you bring a new cleaning product into your home and your cat is allergic to it, that will trigger sneezing. Removing the allergen from your cat's environment or limiting her time outside can help bring relief from her allergies.

Viral Infection

Several viruses can cause frequent sneezing in cats. If your cat had contact with other cats, especially if you recently adopted him from the pound or from a breeder, then he could have an infection from the herpes virus group or the calicivirus group. Both are highly contagious among cats and cause symptoms including nasal discharge and frequent sneezing. Your veterinarian can determine which virus is causing your cat to sneeze and prescribe treatment.


If your cat sneezes a lot, is breathing noisily and has a nasal discharge that smells bad, then she could have a bacterial infection. If this infection is not treated, she could develop chronic rhinitis. This condition flares up when your cat is stressed or does not feel well and resembles a head cold in humans. There is a chance that rhinitis can worsen and become pneumonia. Your veterinarian can narrow down the cause of rhinitis and treat it.


If your cat spends a lot of time outside, his frequent sneezing could be caused by a blade of grass caught inside his nose. He will sneeze a lot as his body tries to dislodge the obstruction. The same thing can happen if your cat develops a growth within his nasal passage: He will sneeze in an attempt to get rid of the blockage. Small objects like blades of grass usually work themselves loose. Your veterinarian will need to check any growths to determine if they are benign or malignant.

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