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Any sign that your beloved feline is under the weather can make you feel as uneasy as she seems, and anyone asking why my cat is sneezing and coughing is right to look into it. Some of the symptoms lead to nothing, but this is not always the case. The odd sneeze or cough may be a reaction to something in the air, but any continuation is worth examining closer.
So, when do you need to get expert attention for a cat that is sneezing and coughing? Let’s start with the sneezing:
My Cat Is Sneezing – The Harmless Reasons:
It can feel a little strange, cats are not known for frequent sneezing, so when it does happen you tend to notice. Much like us humans, it is a reaction to an irritation in the nasal passage, so any dust, strong door, or even debris can cause a cat to sneeze. However, it can also be a sign that your cat is unwell.
A reaction to something new is a common cause, so any air fresheners, or scented cat litter that hasn’t been used before can irritate the airways. Be mindful anything new around the house, cat’s can have allergies after all.
Cleaning is another cause of sneezing – you may have experienced it yourself when the dust is floating in the air. It may be a good idea to do this part of the cleaning when your cat is in another room. Consider using other methods of cleaning such as wet cleaning rather than pushing dust around the kitchen or living area.
Dust is common around the litter tray as it is there to soak everything up. Some brands are better than others when it comes to dust so consider switching to something that is less likely to irritate.
It can even be a strong scent of perfume, a scented candle, or a cleaning product that they are not used to. It could be an idea to use less product or choose a time for cleaning when you can open the windows for plenty of airflow.
When A Cat’s Sneeze Can Be A Sign Of Illness
If you are worried that it could be a sign of illness, then you are not alone. A lot of people are asking “why my cat is sneezing” because it is more frequent or there are other signs as well.
Sometimes, it will be because she has a virus. The most common is a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection). This is the cat equivalent of the common cold and is sometimes known as “cat flu.”
It can also be feline herpes virus. This isn’t contagious for humans but cats can pass it to one another. Feline infectious peritonitis is another that doesn’t always show symptoms. Then there is feline leukaemia, chlamydia, and mycoplasma, as well as others. Some of these are particularly serious, and can even be fatal. We cannot stress enough, if the sneezing continues, consult a vet.
Because it is the most common, let’s take a look at URI (Cat Flu) in more detail:
How To Diagnose Cat Flu
Well, the first signs are often frequent sneezing and coughing, and because it can be more severe than a common cold, it is always best to get the advice of a vet. Because it can be asthma or a serious respiratory issue, allow a vet to diagnose following a few simple tests.
What Are The Symptoms of Cat Flu?
The most common signs of a URI are as follows:
- Runny eyes
- Discharge from the nasal
- Difficulty breathing
- Poor coat condition
- Lack of energy or appetite
How Long Does Cat Flu Last?
The good news is that you should have a healthy cat again in 5 to 10 days. This is for a mild infection, whereas some cats will take up to 6 weeks to shake it off. As with any virus, it is dependant on the particular strain.
Be mindful that any cat that has contracted the feline herpes virus will have it for life. This will also compromise their immune system, making them more susceptible to other infections, and less capable of fighting them off as fast. So if you are here because you need the answer to why my cat is sneezing, even after many weeks, then this could be the reason why.
What If My Kitten Has Cat Flu?
This is more serious as their immune system is developing and less capable of fighting infections. If your kitten is showing symptoms of cat flu then it is best to get her to a vet at the earliest chance.
Can You Treat Cat Flu At Home?
We always recommend consulting a vet before trying any home remedies as it will give your feline the best chance of recovery. A URI can often be dealt with by your cat’s immune system eventually, but a more serious infection may require treatment via antibiotics. Again, this is down to the vet to prescribe.
Much like when we humans take something to alleviate the symptoms and make a cold or virus more bearable, there are ailments such as eyedrops and medication for pain, as prescribed by the vet.
There are some home remedies that can help such as keeping a humidifier in the places your cat likes to roam and rest, as this will alleviate some of the symptoms. A soft and gentle face wash can also help, especially if she has a nasal discharge or runny eyes.
Preventing Cat Flu
Unless you have an indoor cat, it can be difficult to prevent a cat from catching their version of the flu on their escapades throughout the day or night. It is easily contracted and common among outside kitties. This is fine, as it usually passes without too much discomfort.
If you have more than one cat in your home, it can be a good idea to place the sick cat in quarantine, using a separate room only for them to stop the spread. Although this is tricky, it is best for all felines in your home.
There are vaccinations for preventing cat flu, and although they are not perfect, a vet will be able to recommend which are best.
Why Is My Cat Coughing?
Cats need to clear their airways when they are irritated and this can be by dust, or even because they are full of mucus. Just like us humans, a cough can be nothing, but it can also be serious.
If you notice a lot of mucus, then this can be another sign of a URI. Expect a combination of coughs and sneezes when this is the case, but it isn’t the only possible cause.
It could be asthma. Now, this is manageable, especially when consulting a vet, and can be made more comfortable with the right care. Look for signs of wheezing and breathing difficulties as another indication that your cat could have asthma.
A cat that is coughing but has lost its appetite, seems lethargic, low on energy, has noticeably lost weight, and just isn’t herself could have a parasite. Any time a cat starts to show the above signs, consult a vet as soon as possible.
Other more serious issues can include bronchitis, heart problems, and lung cancer.
Why Is My Indoor Cat Coughing?
This is where a cat has not contracted an illness from another cat. Instead, they are reacting to something in their environment. It can be a reaction to a new scent, much like sneezing, but it could also be something more serious. Some cats may develop bronchitis, so look for signs of a lower respiratory infection.
Other causes can be asthma, which is not something limited to outdoor cats. Remember, it could also be the sign of heart disease or lung cancer and these are unfortunate illnesses that can happen to any cat.
Is Cat Coughing An Emergency?
A lot of the time, it is a sign of cat flu, but there are circumstances where you should treat it more seriously. A trip to the vet is a must if your feline is coughing a few days in a row, or if she is showing some of these other symptoms:
- Weight loss
- Lack of appetite
- Excessive mucus/discharge
- Breathing difficulties
Even if you do not notice any of the above, but your cat is sneezing and coughing throughout the day, it is never a bad idea for you to take her to the vet. A checkup is like putting your cat first, and we are all about conscious cat care.
My Cat Is Sneezing And Coughing: Should I Take Her To A Vet?
In most circumstances, the symptoms of a cat sneezing or coughing will pass after a few days. Cat flu is common, should only cause mild discomfort, and will usually pass quickly. However, if the symptoms last more than a few days, or they seem to be in discomfort, then take her to a vet.
Any of the more serious symptoms mentioned earlier should be treated as a form of emergency. In those cases, a trip to the vet cannot be delayed. As a responsible cat owner you will often sense when she is not being herself so pay attention to her mood, listen out for sneezing and coughing and keep track of how long it has been going on.
Don’t panic, as most of the causes are treatable, and the vet will know the best way to treat any illness.