Excessive Cat Sneezing and Nasal Discharge

Why is My Cat Sneezing A Lot?

Cats sneeze for many reasons, but if your cat or kitten sneezes a lot you may start to worry that there's something wrong. If sneezing is the only symptom your cat displays -- i.e., no discharge from eyes or nose, good appetite, no change in behavior or activity level -- then it is probably of no concern. However, when ocular or nasal discharge is seen, the cat may have a cold or upper respiratory infection.

Do Cats Get Colds?

Yes, just like humans, cats do get colds. An upper respiratory infection in a cat is more like influenza in people than like a cold, however,  because it can be very difficult to get rid of without medical help, especially in kittens, old cats, and those with chronic health problems. In some cases, it can prove fatal.

Cat Cold Symptoms

Some common cat cold symptoms include:

  • Sneezing, especially occurring as "spasms" over the course of a few hours, or frequently over several days.
  • Discharge from the eyes or runny nose; this may be watery, bloody, or thick and colored clear, yellow or green.
  • Coughing or excessive swallowing (if there is drainage into the back of the mouth and throat).
  • Lethargy (with or without hiding)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Dehydration
  • Raised third eyelid

Primary Cause

As with people, most colds start as a viral infection, followed by a bacterial infection.

Immediate Care & What to Give a Cat for a Cold

  1. Keep the eyes and nose free of discharge using cotton moistened with warm water.
  2. Warm canned cat food or meat flavored baby food to encourage your cat to eat.
  3. Provide plenty of fresh water for drinking.
  4. Do not try to give your cat any kind of medication without consulting your vet as many human medications can be toxic to cats.
  5. Any kitten, no matter how active, should be seen by a veterinarian at the first sign of a cold. However, if your cat refuses to eat or even move, it is urgent you bring the cat to a veterinarian immediately.

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