Cat sneezing diagnosis

Updated November 21, 2016

Your cat cannot tell you when she is not feeling well, so you must watch her for physical signs that she is sick. One symptom to watch for is repeated sneezing. If your cat is sneezing more often then normal, you need to take her to the veterinarian so you can get a diagnosis of what is wrong and find out how to treat the problem.

The Facts

If your cat sneezes once in a while, that is perfectly normal and no reason to be concerned. If your cat sneezes often, though, with or without accompanying nasal discharge, it could be a sign of a health problem. Your veterinarian can give you a diagnosis on what is causing your cat's sneezing. The issue could be an infection, an abnormal growth or something lodged in your cat's nose.

Viral Infection

One reason for repeated sneezing in a cat may be a viral infection. Two viruses that can cause sneezing are feline viral rhinotracheitis and feline calici viral disease. Cats transmit these viruses easily between each other through shared food and water. Because the symptoms of the viruses are so similar, your veterinarian will need to do a blood test to get an accurate diagnosis of the problem and decide how to treat your cat.

Fungal Infection

While less common than viral infections, fungal infections do cause some cats to sneeze chronically. In cats, nasal cryptococcosis is usually the cause of sneezing and nasal discharge. To give you a diagnosis of fungal infection, your veterinarian will need to take samples of your cat's nasal discharge and examine them. If the cause of the problem is a fungal infection, she can prescribe anti-fungal medication that will help. Outdoor cats are more likely to get fungal infections.

Foreign Object

Your cat might be sneezing because he has a foreign object stuck inside his nasal passage. The sneezing is his body's way of trying to dislodge and expel the object. If your cat spends time outside, it could be blade of grass causing the problems. A growth inside your cat's nose can cause the same reaction. To make a diagnosis, your veterinarian can take a look in your cat's nose or perform an imaging test like an x-ray.


If your cat is sneezing frequently, you cannot ignore it. Not only could she be infected with a virus that she could pass on to other animals, but sneezing can become chronic in cats. If this happens, your cat will sneeze and have nasal discharge whenever she is stressed or feeling ill. This can lead to damage in her nasal passages that can cause discomfort and interfere with her ability to eat.

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