Without any doubt, you will go for miles when it comes to providing the best lifestyle to your cute little cat. Over time, pets, whether cats or dogs, become an essential part of your family, and you begin to treat them with the same love and affection that you have for your other family members. However, cats and humans are different! As a responsible cat owner, you have to stay vigilant around your kitty.
Similar to humans, cats are vulnerable to multiple diseases. However, unlike humans, these little creatures do not have the luxury to express their pain or any other symptom through words. Therefore, you must keep a watch on your cat if it starts acting unusually. For example, let’s say if your cat has started sneezing and coughing so much for the past few days, try to observe the patterns.
This article discusses why your cat is sneezing and coughing so much and how to treat these conditions. So, without any further delay, let’s get started!
Why is my cat sneezing so much?
It is not unusual to hear your cat sneeze. But, instead, you may have listened to your cat sneezing very cutely. However, before we move on to the causes that are probably responsible for your cat sneezing, let’s learn about the term’ sneezing.’
People who usually do not belong to the medical profession do not know about ‘sneezing.’ However, from this article, you must learn what happens when your cat sneezes. Sneezing is a natural mechanism that is responsible for clearing upper airways like nasal passages. Therefore, any foreign material, like dust, pollen, mites, etc., that tries to invade the nasal passage and is harmful to the body will be quickly sneezed out!
Your cat can sneeze for several reasons, among which some may be normal while others may make you worrisome. Furthermore, the less frequent sneezing is always a defense mechanism; rest assured!
Why do cats sneeze a lot?
As mentioned above, there are several reasons which may make your cat sneeze very much. We will enlist these reasons below thoroughly. First, however, you must know that coughing, gagging, hiccups, and other similar reflexes may mimic sneeze. Therefore, it would be best if you consult a professional vet so they can diagnose if your cat is sneezing or not.
Moreover, you do not necessarily have to take your little kitty to the vet every time it sneezes. As mentioned above, sneezing is a defense mechanism that occurs naturally. If any particle tries to irritate your kitty’s respiratory system, it will sneeze right away, which is absolutely a normal reflex.
Let’s have a light on the major causes why your cat keeps sneezing so much;
Upper respiratory tract infections
Feline herpesvirus is one of the most typical infection-causing pathogens. Different studies suggest that around 80% of cats get infected with the virus. You might be familiar with the herpes virus that infects humans. However, the feline one is different in terms of its target site. Herpes virus in cats is potent to cause upper respiratory infections only.
Bacterial pathogens do not directly invade the respiratory passages, be it humans or cats. Instead, bacteria arrive at the infected respiratory site only when a virus has already caused enough damage. Bordetella, chlamydia, and mycoplasma are the common bacterial organisms that may infect your cat after a viral upper respiratory infection.
The primary symptom of your cat’s upper respiratory infection is sneezing. However, some other vital signs and symptoms help you distinguish between the viral and bacterial causes. For example, bacterial causes will present as greenish or yellowish nasal and eye discharges. However, you won’t observe any such release in viral infections.
Inflammatory conditions – rhinitis & sinusitis
No doubt, viral and bacterial respiratory infections can also produce inflammation which leads to sneezing. But, there are other conditions like Rhinitis (inflammation of mucous membranes of nose) and sinusitis (inflammation of sinuses) that solely cause the respiratory tracts to get highly inflamed.
Both these conditions never occur singly, and there is a relation between them; therefore, if your cat suffers from Rhinitis, it will also present with signs of sinusitis. Sneezing is the primary sign of these conditions in your cat. Besides, your cat will have watery discharges from the eyes and nose initially. If the condition worsens, the clearances may change their color and consistency.
Though the development of nasal tumors is uncommon in young cats, the older ones are prone to such tumors. Any abnormal growth in a cat’s nasal passages will result in irritation and inflammation. Understandably, the outcome of irritation is always sneezing. Therefore, if your cat is a senior citizen and sneezes way too much, you must think about nasal tumors.
Impaired dental health
If your cat has any dental/tooth infection, especially of the upper jaw, the chances are that it may lead to sneezing. There is a very thin barrier between the teeth of the upper jaw and nasal passages. An infected tooth has the potential to breach the barrier and irritates nasal passages, which would lead to unusual sneezing patterns in your cat.
While you pet a cat, one of your major duties towards your cat includes getting it vaccinated on time. However, the vaccination shots available to prevent feline upper respiratory infections may induce sneezing in your cat. But, the sneezing situation of your cat tends to subside very soon in the given case.
In a few unfortunate cases, cats can develop allergic Rhinitis, a condition which also occurs in humans where we refer to it as ‘hay fever.’ If your cat is intolerant to indoor allergens like dust, it may suffer from allergic Rhinitis for the whole year. However, outdoor irritants like pollens may get the chance to bother your cat seasonally only.
The usual signs and symptoms are sneezing and skin lesions. These skin lesions are usually itchy and annoy your cat a lot. Besides, a few cats which suffer from Allergic Rhinitis may develop hair loss as well.
Chronic respiratory infections
Vets use the terms’ acute’ and ‘chronic’ as per the duration of the disease. Mainly, the upper respiratory infections in your cat develop acutely, that is, suddenly. However, if you do not take the signs and symptoms of your cat seriously, your cat may develop a chronic or long-standing infection. The recurrent infections also come under the category of ‘chronic.’
If your cat’s nasal passages get permanently damaged secondary to recurrent infections or because you ignored the symptoms in the first place, then a condition called ‘chronic rhinitis’ develops. It is the most common long-standing infection that cats develop.
You will observe various signs and symptoms in your cat, like a runny nose with varying nasal discharges in color and consistency, continuous painful sneezing, eye discharges, lack of appetite, etc.
Treatment for sneezing cats
Since there are various reasons for a cat that sneezes so much, unusually, the treatment also varies. Antibiotics, antivirals, eye/ear drops, etc., are usually the mainstay treatments for a cat that has caught an upper respiratory infection. If your cat is feverish, the vet might prescribe antipyretics as well. In the meanwhile, you must make sure that your cat eats and drinks adequately.
Inflammatory conditions like Rhinitis and sinusitis require proper diagnosis. Primarily, a professional vet will perform rhinoscopy to confirm if your cat suffers from these conditions. However, in the meantime, broad-spectrum antibiotics and conservative management like nutritional support will surely help.
Allergic conditions are usually incurable, be it humans or cats. Therefore, the only way you can prevent your cat’s disease from worsening is by conservative management.
For chronic conditions like chronic Rhinitis, there are no specific and guaranteed treatments for cats. However, you must try your best to relieve the symptoms of your cat.
Why is my cat coughing so much?
Like sneezing, coughing is also a defense mechanism that protects your cat’s airways from getting infected. Each time any foreign organism or material tries to enter your cat’s respiratory tract, it would immediately throw them out either by sneezing or coughing. However, coughing also occurs when something too big tries to enter the food pipe.
In addition to being referred to as a normal body function, your cat may cough a lot for various reasons. Let’s have a light on these reasons quickly;
Upper respiratory infections
As mentioned above, these infections very commonly occur in your cat. The significant signs include sneezing and coughing. Your cat sneezes to throw out the infecting organisms, whereas coughing usually occurs to eliminate the plugging mucus.
Allergic condition – asthma
Though allergies are uncommon in cats, your little kitty may suffer from asthma. You can detect asthma yourself if you observe that your cat’s cough comes with wheezing, which is a whistling sound.
Fortunately, cardiac issues are unusual in cats as compared to humans. However, if you observe that your cat does not have a sneezing problem but tends to cough a lot and badly after exertional playtime, it may signal a cardiovascular health issue.
If God forbid your cat to suffer from a lung tumor, it won’t present with a continuous unexplained cough only, but there will be other issues as well. For example, a cat suffering from cancer will surely be lazy; its muscles would seem wasted and weakened. In addition, it may present with blood in the mucus.
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Hearing your cat sneeze may be cute initially; however, if you observe that your little kitty has started sneezing and coughing so much, there must be something underlying! First and foremost, you must not panic. It would be best to book a quick visit to a professional vet and discuss your cat’s condition with them.
This article has tried its best to discuss the probable reasons why your cat is sneezing and coughing. In addition, we also discussed the initial treatment plans for some usual conditions. Hopefully, it will prove helpful!