Kitten cuddled into warm blanket

Why do cats sneeze?

  • Cats do occasionally sneeze and this is not usually a cause for concern
  • If your cat is sneezing more than usual and seems unwell, you should contact your vet
  • A sneeze can be a sign of something as simple as a nose tickle, to something more complicated like a virus

Just like humans, cats do occasionally sneeze and this is nothing to be concerned about.

However, if your cat is sneezing more than usual and seems unwell, then it may be worth considering whether something else could be bothering your pet and seeking the advice of your vet.

What is causing my cat to sneeze?

There are many reasons that your cat could be sneezing, below are just a few examples of what could be causing this:

Nose tickle

Much the same as us, cats sometimes just need to sneeze. Usually this happens because of a bit of dust or a simple nose tickle and will not extend for longer than a few minutes.

Allergies and irritants

Cats can develop allergies or an irritation up their nose. Potential allergens and irritants can include:

Infection and virus

Respiratory infections can be a common cause for sneezing in cats. The most common infections and viruses can include:

The above infections are often accompanied by eye discharge and a cough.

Your vet will be able to determine whether your cat has a virus or infection by examining them.

NOTE: Feline calicivirus infection, otherwise known as cat flu, is not usually a serious virus in an otherwise healthy adult cat and, because it’s a virus, antibiotics often aren’t necessary. Your vet will be able to offer more information on this.

Foreign bodies

On rare occasions your cat can get a foreign body lodged in their nose. An example would be a blade of grass getting stuck in the back of your cat’s nose from chewing grass, this can cause choking and retching. This can also cause your cat to sneeze to try and eject the foreign body out of their nose. Sometimes this can dislodge itself, however please see your vet if discomfort persists for more than an hour or two.

If you are concerned about the amount your cat is sneezing or your pet seems unwell or distressed, you should contact your vet who will be able to examine your pet and determine the cause.


— Page last updated 07/02/2020

Did you find this helpful?

We provide free pet advice as every pet deserves to be well looked after. We treated around 35,000 sick injured and homeless pets last year. We're so glad we've been able to help these pets who are unable to help themselves, but there are thousands of sick and lonely pets still in need, so we need to ask for a small favour.

All of our work is funded entirely through donations. People like you are essential to our work. If everyone who benefits from our articles is able to give a little back, we can reach thousands more pets. For as little as £1 you can make a difference - do you have one minute? Thank you.