My Cat’s 30-Sneeze Marathon


This article will explore some potential causes behind a cat sneezing repeatedly in a short time span. The content brief mentions a specific example of a cat sneezing 30 times in a row. While an occasional sneeze is normal for cats, excessive sneezing within a short period could signal an underlying health issue. This article provides an overview of possible reasons for recurrent sneezing, when veterinary care may be needed, treatment options, and tips for prevention.

Possible Causes of Excessive Sneezing

There are several common reasons why cats may sneeze frequently or excessively in a row. Some of the most frequent causes include:

  • Allergies – Cats can develop allergies to things like pollen, dust mites, certain foods, fragrances, mold, etc. Inhalation of allergens can irritate the nasal passages and throat, triggering sneezing fits. Allergies tend to cause year-round or seasonal symptoms. (Cabbage Town Pet Clinic)
  • Infections – Upper respiratory infections, like the common cat cold or feline herpes virus, often lead to inflammation of the nasal passages and sinuses. Infections cause discharge from the nose and eyes along with frequent sneezing episodes. (WebMD)
  • Irritants – Irritating particles in the air like smoke, dust, perfumes, carpet powders, litter dust, etc. can trigger sneezing when inhaled. Some cats may be more sensitive to irritants than others. (BluePearl Pet Hospital)

In most cases, frequent sneezing is caused by one of these common triggers – allergies, infections, or irritants. It’s important to observe your cat closely to pinpoint the likely cause and discuss options with your veterinarian.

When to See the Vet

While occasional sneezing is normal for cats, you should make an appointment with your veterinarian if the sneezing persists for more than a few days or is accompanied by other symptoms. According to Ethos Veterinary Health, some signs that warrant a vet visit include:

  • Thick or colored nasal discharge – Green, yellow, or bloody discharge could indicate an infection.
  • Squinting eyes or ocular discharge – This may signal an upper respiratory infection.
  • Lethargy – A normally active cat becoming very inactive or sleeping more could mean they don’t feel well.
  • Loss of appetite – A decreased appetite alongside sneezing is a red flag.
  • Breathing issues – Labored breathing, wheezing, or open-mouth breathing requires prompt veterinary attention.

As Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic advises, sneezing accompanied by nasal discharge, breathing issues, or other symptoms should not be ignored. It’s better to have your vet examine your cat to identify and treat any underlying illness early on before it worsens.


Allergies are a very common cause of sneezing in cats. The sneezing is caused by an overreaction of the immune system to a normally harmless substance, known as an allergen. Common allergens for cats include pollen, dust mites, mold, cigarette smoke, and certain foods or chemicals.

The most common symptoms of cat allergies are sneezing and nasal congestion or discharge. Excessive sneezing episodes are usually a sign of an allergic reaction. Other symptoms may include itchy or runny eyes, scratching at the face, and sometimes wheezing or coughing in more severe cases. The number, frequency, and consistency of the sneezes can help determine if an allergy is the likely cause.

Treatment for cat allergies focuses on avoiding or reducing exposure to the allergen and controlling symptoms. Keeping the home clean and free of dust and irritants can help. Antihistamines may be prescribed to reduce sneezing and itchiness. Allergen-specific immunotherapy, or “allergy shots”, can also desensitize the immune system over time. If the allergy is food-related, switching to a hypoallergenic diet may be recommended. Severe cases sometimes require steroid therapy for a period of time.

Prevention is key for cat allergies. Keeping the cat indoors can decrease exposure to environmental allergens like pollens. Air filters and vacuuming carpets frequently can reduce dust and dander. Regular grooming and bathing may also help control allergens on your cat’s skin or fur. If the cause is known, avoiding or limiting that allergen is ideal.


Some common viral and bacterial infections in cats can cause sneezing. The most frequent infection is feline herpesvirus (FHV), which causes feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR). FHV is extremely contagious and spreads through direct contact and contaminated surfaces. The virus attacks the mucous membranes of a cat’s eyes, nose, mouth, and throat, leading to symptoms like conjunctivitis, eye discharge, sneezing, coughing, and fever. FHV symptoms may recur periodically throughout a cat’s life during times of stress.(1)

Another common infection is feline calicivirus (FCV), which also spreads easily between cats and causes ulcerations of the mouth, tongue, and upper respiratory tract. This leads to excessive salivation, sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, and loss of appetite. While less common, Chlamydia felis and Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterial infections can also trigger upper respiratory symptoms like sneezing in cats.(2)


Excessive sneezing in cats can be caused by inhalation of irritants like smoke, dust, or pollen. These tiny particles can get lodged inside a cat’s nasal passages and irritate the sensitive membranes, triggering repeated sneezes as their body tries to expel the irritants. Sources of irritants in a home may include dust, cigarette smoke, candles or incense, carpet powders, litter dust, perfumes, cleaning products, or even fresh paint fumes.

Cats have a strong sense of smell, so they are especially sensitive to inhaled irritants. According to, environmental irritants are one of the main causes of cat sneezes. Keeping the home clean and free of dust and other irritants can help minimize sneezing episodes.

It’s important to identify and remove the source of irritants if possible. Opening windows to circulate fresh air, using air filters and vacuums with HEPA filters, avoiding scented products, and not smoking indoors can all help reduce irritants. Finding a low-dust cat litter may also help for cats sneezing from litter dust. In some cases, irritants may be coming from outside the home if pollen or pollution levels are high.

While most cats sneeze occasionally to clear their nasal passages, recurrent sneezing episodes may indicate an excessive reaction to irritants. It’s a good idea to monitor the cat and limit their exposure. Seek veterinary advice if sneezing persists despite removing irritants, as medications may help soothe inflammation.


Stress can be a major factor contributing to excessive sneezing in cats. Cats are sensitive creatures and can become stressed by changes in their environment, introductions of new pets or people, or perceived threats. This stress causes a release of hormones that can suppress their immune system.1

Specifically, stress can trigger flare ups of viral infections like feline herpesvirus (FHV-1), which is one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats. Over 80% of cats are believed to be infected with feline herpesvirus. The initial infection usually happens when they are kittens, and then the virus stays dormant in their body. Under times of stress, the virus can reactivate and lead to symptoms like nasal congestion, eye discharge, and excessive sneezing attacks.2

Therefore, if your cat is suddenly sneezing a lot more than normal, take note of any potential stressors that could be suppressing their immune system and allowing viral infections to flare up. Reducing stress through environmental changes, adjusting schedules, or using calming aids can help minimize excessive sneezing episodes.

When to Worry

While an occasional sneeze is normal, excessive sneezing in cats can be a sign of an underlying health issue. According to Caring Hearts Animal Hospital, pet parents should take note of any sneezing patterns that warrant concern.

Some signs that indicate a trip to the veterinarian may be needed include:1

  • Sneezing more than 4-5 times in a row
  • Frequent sneezing episodes throughout the day
  • Sneezing along with other symptoms like nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, or loss of appetite
  • Sneezing that occurs after introducing new pets, people, or environments
  • Sneezing that persists longer than a week

While intermittent sneezing is usually benign, recurrent sneezing bouts or those accompanied by other symptoms warrant veterinary examination to pinpoint the underlying cause and administer proper treatment.


Excessive sneezing in cats often requires veterinary treatment to address the underlying cause. Some common treatment options include:

  • Antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, to treat bacterial infections like feline calicivirus or cat flu. Antibiotics help kill the infection and reduce symptoms (source).
  • Corticosteroids or antihistamines to reduce inflammation and allergic reactions. These can provide relief for cats with allergies or irritation in the nasal passages (source).
  • Nasal drops or saline rinses to flush out the nasal passages and remove mucus, irritants, and infections.
  • Extracting damaged teeth that have abnormal openings allowing bacteria into the nasal cavity.
  • Surgery for polyps or other masses in the nasal passages or sinuses.
  • Environmental management like air filters, cleaning products without irritants, and keeping the cat indoors to avoid outdoor allergens.

In mild cases, vets may recommend a wait and see approach with supportive care like nasal drops. But recurrent or severe sneezing requires diagnosis and treatment of the underlying problem for long-term relief.


There are several things cat owners can do to help prevent excessive sneezing in cats:

  • Keep the home clean and free of dust, mold, and other irritants that can trigger sneezing. Vacuum frequently and use HEPA air filters.
  • Avoid using candles, air fresheners, and harsh cleaning products that give off fumes. Stick to natural cleaning products when possible. [1]
  • Make sure litter boxes are kept clean and free of heavily scented litter. Clean boxes daily.
  • Brush cats regularly to remove loose hair and dander that can cause sneezing when inhaled. [2]
  • Keep cats up-to-date on vaccines and parasite preventatives. Discuss options with your vet.
  • Don’t allow cats to go outside where they may be exposed to upper respiratory infections from other cats. Keep cats indoors.
  • Use air filters and humidifiers, especially during dry, dusty weather.
  • Identify and remove any potential allergens. Switch to hypoallergenic cat food if food allergies are suspected.

While occasional sneezing is normal, following these tips can help minimize excessive sneezing episodes.

Scroll to Top