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Just as in humans, cats also have a useful function that allows the body to forcefully expels irritants from the cat’s nose. Although a cat sneezing from time to time is completely normal and isn’t really anything to worry about. There are circumstances where sneezing may become more persistent, which may indicate an underlying problem. Perhaps you’re reading this because you’ve noticed your cat may be sneezing more all of a sudden, even know they seem fine, and although your cat could be fine, let’s look at some potential reasons for persistent sneezing.

Cat keeps sneezing

A cat that’s suffering from persistent sneezing can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. You may need to take your cat to a vet to first confirm that your cat is actually sneezing and not wheezing, hiccupping, gagging, or coughing, which can sound quite similar which can lead to the problem being unidentifiable.

You’re right in thinking that my cat keeps sneezing but seems fine. However, it’s important to note that diseases including cancer, dental disease, and other diseases will also relate to sneezing-like symptoms. Another reason that can make it even harder for a proper diagnosis is that cats can have two of these conditions at the same time, taking more time to diagnosis the problem.

Causes for sneezing

Viral Respiratory Infections

A cat that has persistent sneezing can result from a viral respiratory infection which can initially be treated as the original problem. The most frequent cause is herpesvirus, which can cause a big problem in cats. Herpesvirus in cats is caused by upper respiratory symptoms, i.e. persistent sneezing. The virus can also cause discharge from the nose and eyes, with the main culprit of the infection resulting from stress. Unfortunately, there is no cure for these infections, meaning that this could potentially be a lifelong problem.

Bacterial infections

An infection that can become a nuisance for cats is bacterial infections, which again plays a large role in the upper respiratory symptoms of cats. The symptoms can be identified by green phlegm from your cat’s eyes or nose. This abnormal colored discharge is a guaranteed symptom of a bacterial infection.

The common culprits of a bacterial infection are mycoplasma, Bordetella, and chlamydia. It’s important to note that the infections will unlikely be an individual issue, therefore treatment with antibiotics will be needed to reduce the symptoms.

Foreign Substances

If a cat inhales a foreign substance, its natural response would be to sneeze in order to get rid of the debris. Although this response to foreign debris would work with smaller particles such as dust, larger objects will become a bigger issue, therefore the debris will still be in their system after the cat sneezes.

When the sneezing becomes persistent you will need to visit the vet for a rhinoscopy in order to expel the stubborn debris.

Dental Disease

Just as with humans and many other species. Dental disease can occur when the roots in the teeth become infected and because the roots are close to the upper jaw, next to the nasal passages. When this happens, the barrier between the tooth socket and nose can be affected.

Of course, in this situation, a vet is needed. A vet will perform an extraction of the tooth or possibly performing a closure of the abnormal hole, which will help lessen the persistent sneezing. As this condition will cause a lot of pain and stress for the cat, a visit to the local vet is advised as soon as possible.


A cat that has a tumor can also be on the list of potential causes of persistent sneezing. A tumor can form on the inside of the nasal passage, causing irritation and swelling, making the cat sneeze. If tumors are a possibility, then the vet is a must, as this condition is painful.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are typically less frequent compared to other infections, such as bacterial or viral. There are effective treatments for fungal infections, unlike some of the conditions on this list. A vet will need to make a diagnosis to properly determine that it is a fungal infection and not something else causing the problem. Again, these infections can cause a lot of pain for your cat, so a vet is a must.

How serious is cat sneezing?

If you’re thinking to yourself, “my cat keeps sneezing but seems fine”, then it’s probable that your cat has simply come into contact with a new environment. If there are irritants within the cat’s environment like mold, dust, or pollen, then these will cause the cat to sneeze. In these situations, sneezing is rarely serious.
If, however, you believe the cause for your cat sneezing is not environmental, then it is probably caused by an infection, which needs to be diagnosed by a vet.

Some additional symptoms, such as a loss of appetite, nasal discharge, and weight loss, are considered more serious. More serious symptoms of sneezing are when the symptoms persist continuing for more than a few days.