Why is My Cat Sneezing?

Just like humans, why cats sneeze is usually that their nasal passages are irritated. Most of the time it’s the result of a pollen allergy or foreign objects such as a piece of fur or grass. However, excessive sneezing can indicate a more serious issue. A couple of sneezes throughout the day is nothing to worry about, but if there are many in a row or they continue over the course of several days, take your kitty to the vet. She likely has a viral, bacterial, or fungal infection in her upper respiratory system. Why is my cat sneezing:

Feline Herpesvirus:

Feline herpesvirus (FHV) is not the same as herpes in humans and it cannot be transferred from one species to another. It is, however, highly contagious between cats. It’s transmitted primarily through bodily fluids, namely saliva, urine or feces, and eye or nose secretions. There is no cure for FHV, but there are treatments that allow cats to live a normal life.

Feline Calicivirus:

Feline Calicivirus (FCV) is also highly contagious between cats. If your cat isn’t already vaccinated, ask your vet about getting your kitty protected. FCV is most common in environments housing lots of cats, such as animal shelters. It is passed in the same manner as FHV; through bodily fluids. In mild cases, FCV can be treated at home with prescribed medications. In more serious cases your vet may recommend leaving them at the hospital for a few days. FCV cannot be passed between species, but infected cats should be quarantined from other cats in the house.

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus:

Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) is slow acting and your cat may not show symptoms until years after they’ve been infected. FIV is typically transmitted via bite wounds, or from pregnant mothers to their kittens. Unfortunately, there is no cure for FIV, but vets can treat secondary infections as they arise. Left untreated, FIV can lead to cancer or kidney failure. With treatment, cats can live relatively normal lives.


Chlamydiosis, or feline chlamydia, does not require direct contact for infection. Bacteria from a sneeze or cough can travel across a room, or be passed by humans via touch if they have any of the bacteria on their hands. Chlamydiosis can be treated with antibiotics and symptoms are typically gone within six weeks. It is not a lifelong illness and as long as precautions are taken, the infections should not return.


Bordetella typically occurs in large groups of cats and is most severe in young kittens. It is often spread through direct contact but can also be spread via bodily fluids. In mild cases, Bordetella can go away on its own. In worse cases, antibiotics can be helpful, with severe cases occasionally requiring hospitalization. Vaccines are typically given to cats who have been exposed to shelters or boarding facilities.

There are many other infections that might be why your cat is sneezing. If your cat is sneezing more than normal, take them to your vet ASAP.

Jayne Taylor

Jayne started out as a veterinary nurse before she had her son, Joshua, and later her daughter Lily. Jayne is a passionate cat lover and has two fur-babies in Max and Silky. She admits to have a particular soft spot for russian blue cats and says she does her best not to make Max jealous when she pays special attention to Silky her russian blue. While Jayne was on maternity leave she noticed it wasn't easy to find the information she wanted about her beloved animal so she decided to start Cat Informer!

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