Daily Triple Sneezes. Is Your Cat’s Nose Trying To Tell You Something?

What is a Sneeze?

A sneeze is an involuntary expulsion of air from the nose and mouth. It is a protective mechanism designed to clear irritants from the nasal cavity.

Sneezing occurs when irritation or inflammation is detected in the nasal cavity. This triggers a reflex that contracts the diaphragm and intercostal muscles, forcing air outward to expel the irritant. The soft palate and uvula close to prevent irritants from entering the throat and trachea.

Common triggers for sneezing in cats include:

  • Allergens like pollen, dust, or dander
  • Foreign objects like dirt or debris
  • Nasal mites
  • Viral or bacterial infections

While sneezing helps protect cats by removing irritants, frequent sneezing may indicate an underlying health issue that requires veterinary attention.

Why Do Cats Sneeze?

There are several potential causes for sneezing in cats:


Cats can develop allergies to things like pollen, dust mites, molds, and certain foods that can cause sneezing. Allergies cause inflammation in the nasal passages which leads to sneezing. Keeping your home clean and free of dust/dander can help minimize allergen exposure. You can also talk to your vet about medications to control allergies.


Irritating smells like perfumes, cigarettes, candles, or cleaning products can trigger sneezing in cats. Strong odors cause inflammation in the nose. Try to minimize irritants in your cat’s environment. Also make sure litter boxes are kept clean since the ammonia smell from urine can be an irritant.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are a common cause of sneezing in cats. Feline herpesvirus, calicivirus, Chlamydophila felis, and Mycoplasma felis bacteria can all cause upper respiratory infections. These are contagious viruses and bacteria that are spread through secretions and can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, fever, and eye inflammation. Antibiotics may be prescribed by your vet.[1]

Foreign Objects

Grass, dirt, sand, or other foreign material getting lodged in the nose can cause irritation and sneezing as your cat tries to expel it. Make sure your cat’s environment is kept clean and free of debris. You can use a warm, damp cloth to gently wipe your cat’s nose which may help dislodge any particles.

How Often is Normal?

Sneezing is a normal part of a cat’s life. An occasional sneeze here and there is not a cause for concern. According to Cabbage Town Pet Clinic, the occasional sneezing fit is normal cat behavior.

Many experts state that a cat sneezing up to 3 times per day may be considered normal. As with humans, cats may sneeze due to minor irritants or particles getting into their nose. A few intermittent sneezes throughout the day does not indicate a major issue.

However, more frequent sneezing on a regular basis could signify an underlying problem. If your cat is sneezing more than 3 times per day consistently, it’s a good idea to monitor for other symptoms and contact your veterinarian if it persists. Frequent sneezing may be a sign of allergies, respiratory infection, or other health conditions that require treatment.

When to See the Vet

While an occasional sneeze is normal for cats, you should schedule a veterinary visit if the sneezing is accompanied by other concerning symptoms, becomes persistent, or changes in character or sound. According to Ethos Vet, you should seek veterinary care if the sneezing lasts more than a few days or occurs alongside the following:

  • Thick or persistent nasal discharge, especially if yellowish-green or bloodied (Ethos Vet)
  • Labored breathing, snoring, or other respiratory signs (Ponderosa Vet Clinic)
  • Fever, lethargy, or reduced appetite (Carson Vet)
  • Sneezing more than 3 times in a row or multiple fits per day
  • Sudden increase in sneeze frequency for no apparent reason
  • Sneeze sounds become more violent or forceful

Increased sneezing frequency, especially when paired with other symptoms, could indicate an underlying respiratory infection or allergic reaction requiring veterinary attention and possible medication. Don’t delay scheduling an appointment with your vet if your cat’s sneezing seems excessive or concerning.


Allergies to things like pollen, dust, and smoke are common causes for sneezing in cats. Cats have sensitive respiratory systems and inhaling allergens can cause inflammation and irritation. Symptoms of allergies include sneezing fits, watery eyes, nasal discharge, itchy skin, and wheezing. Allergies in cats are usually seasonal and may get worse at certain times of the year when pollen counts are higher.

There are a few solutions for allergy-related sneezing in cats:

  • Keep the home clean and dust-free. Vacuum and dust regularly, especially soft surfaces where allergens accumulate like carpets, curtains, and furniture.
  • Use HEPA air filters and purifiers to remove allergens from the air.
  • Limit exposure to smoke, scented candles, and strong sprays.
  • Bathe cats regularly to remove pollen from their coat.
  • Talk to a vet about antihistamines or other allergy medication for seasonal flare ups.
  • Keep cats indoors on high pollen count days.

With some preventative measures at home and medication when needed, allergy symptoms like sneezing can usually be managed. See a vet if sneezing persists despite treatment. Some cats may need allergy testing and immunotherapy injections for long term relief.

Respiratory Infections

Upper respiratory infections are a common cause of sneezing in cats. The feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are two of the most common viral infections that cause upper respiratory infections in cats. These highly contagious viruses spread through direct contact and contaminated surfaces. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, mouth ulcers, fever, and lethargy. Infected cats may have difficulty breathing if the infection spreads to the lower respiratory tract.

There is no cure for the herpes virus, but treatments can ease symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed for secondary bacterial infections. Anti-viral medications like famciclovir can reduce viral shedding. Lysine supplements can also help control viral replication. Severe cases may require hospitalization for supportive care with intravenous fluids and feeding tubes.

To prevent spreading respiratory infections, isolate infected cats. Clean litter boxes and food bowls thoroughly. Vaccines for herpesvirus and calicivirus can reduce the severity of infections. But cats can still contract and spread infections even after vaccination.

Foreign Objects

Common foreign objects that can get lodged in a cat’s nasal passage include grass, dust, and food particles (Source 1). These items can irritate the sensitive nasal tissue and cause sneezing as the cat tries to expel them. In most cases, the foreign object passes through the nasal cavity on its own or is moved out through the cat’s nasal secretions and sneezing. According to one source, small foreign objects may be naturally expelled within a few days through sneezing or nasal secretions (Source 1).

Signs that a foreign object may be lodged in the nasal passage include sneezing, nasal discharge, pawing at the nose, loud breathing sounds, and a foul odor coming from the nose. While irritating, these foreign bodies don’t usually cause long-term problems if expelled within a reasonable timeframe. However, it’s a good idea to monitor the cat closely and contact your veterinarian if symptoms persist beyond a few days (Source 2).


There are some steps you can take to help prevent excessive sneezing in your cat:

Keep your home clean. Regular vacuuming and dusting can reduce allergens like dust and dander that may cause sneezing. Be sure to wash bedding frequently as well. https://www.dutch.com/blogs/cats/why-is-cat-sneezing

Avoid irritants. Things like perfumes, scented candles, and air fresheners can irritate your cat’s nasal passages. Switch to unscented products when possible. Strong smells from litter boxes or garbage cans should also be avoided. https://www.webmd.com/pets/cats/why-cats-sneeze

Get annual vet checkups. Your vet can check for any underlying conditions that may be causing sneezing. Keep your cat up to date on vaccines and preventative care to help ward off respiratory infections. https://allkindsvet.com/cat-sneezing/

When to Worry

If your cat exhibits any persistent changes in sneezing frequency or has additional concerning symptoms, it’s time to see a veterinarian. Signs that warrant an urgent vet visit include:

  • Frequent and forceful sneezing that lasts more than a day or two
  • Sneezing accompanied by discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Difficulty breathing, including open-mouth breathing
  • Noisy breathing or coughing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy, lack of interest in usual activities
  • Fever

While occasional sneezing is normal, anything persistent could signal an underlying health issue. Respiratory infections like feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus can cause excessive sneezing. Allergies, dental disease, tumors, and foreign objects lodged in the nasal passages may also prompt sneezing fits.

If your cat seems uncomfortable, takes shallow rapid breaths, or exhibits bluish gums, get emergency veterinary care right away. These are signs of severely restricted breathing, which can be life-threatening.


Occasional sneezing is normal for cats. Sneezing helps clear irritants from the nasal passage and keep the respiratory system functioning properly. A sneeze here and there throughout the day is usually nothing to worry about.

However, monitor your cat’s sneezing patterns over time. An increase in the frequency of sneezes or any changes to the sound or nature of the sneezes could indicate an underlying issue. Contact your veterinarian if your cat’s sneezing persists or seems to worsen.

In most cases, sneezing is a harmless reflex. But frequent, severe, or chronic sneezing may be a sign of allergies, respiratory infection, foreign objects lodged in the nose, or other health problems. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your cat’s sneezing habits and inform your vet of any concerning changes.

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