Have you ever been startled by your cat sneezing and wondered why cats sneeze and if they can suffer from allergies like humans? A cat’s sense of smell is 14 times better than ours and allergies are a common condition for them to struggle with. Let’s break down the facts about a cat’s achoo so you can learn more about their extraordinary sense of smell and learn to identify why your cat keeps sneezing. 

Why Do Cats Sneeze?

Cats have more than 200 million odour receptors, making their sense of smell incredibly strong. Cats sneeze for many of the same reasons that humans do! Most cat sneezing happens because particles in the air have irritated your pet’s nasal passage. Mould, smoke, dust, fragrances and even their fur can cause your cat to sneeze. It is a natural defence mechanism against unwanted particles in the air, however, if your cat keeps sneezing you could be dealing with more serious allergies or an illness. 

A cat’s sense of smell allows them to identify people and objects, which is why their sense of smell is so powerful, this also helps them sniff out catnip treats you may have hidden in secret spots. This means the optimal function of their olfactory system is even more important for their overall health and well-being. 

Common Causes of Cat Sneezing

Why do cats sneeze often? Here are some of the most common causes of cat sneezing to be aware of: 


Allergies are a common condition that cats can suffer from. Cats can be allergic to many of the same things we are allergic to, including their fur! 

There are 4 different types of allergies found in cats: insects (fleas), food allergies, skin allergies and environmental allergies. Cat allergies could be caused by common triggers such as pollen, cleaning products, food, scented litter, smoke, plants, fabrics and medications. 

Allergies can cause respiratory difficulties in cats so it is important to be vigilant for the range of symptoms, which include: repeated sneezing, coughing, wheezing, runny eyes, vomiting, diarrhoea and repeated licking or grooming. Cats may also appear lethargic and less interested in activities they usually enjoy like playing games

External materials

External materials refer to foreign objects trapped on your pet’s nose that could be causing discomfort and repeated bouts of sneezing. Common external materials that could get stuck in your cat’s nose are food, bones, plants, plastic from toys and litter. 

Other symptoms include your cat pawing at their nose/face. Coughing or retching may also be observed if the object has travelled from the nose to the larynx. If you think your sneezing cat has external materials trapped in their nose you should contact your vet for advice. 

Respiratory infections

Respiratory infections are another common cause of sneezing in cats. Like humans, cats can catch colds, flu and more serious respiratory infections. Symptoms are similar to those we experience when we have colds, including sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fever, lethargy and congestion. Cats are more susceptible in places like catteries or multi-cat households. 

You may need to take them to the vet as some infections may be caused by bacteria and your pet could need antibiotics.

Cats can also suffer from hay fever-like symptoms due to nasal irritation from pollen and can also develop respiratory difficulties, so it is important to monitor and take note of their symptoms and contact your vet if they continue.

My Cat Keeps Sneezing: What’s Going On?

My cat keeps sneezing, what should I do next? Firstly, don’t panic! Use our handy guide above to determine the root cause of your cat’s sneeze. Think about what the triggers might be based on when symptoms occur (flea, food, environmental or skin allergies). Repeated sneezing should be monitored so you can discuss all symptoms and their potential causes with your vet. Sneezing may also be a sign of cat flu which affects cats much like it affects humans, so make sure that your cat has their annual flu vaccination to protect against this happening. 

Cat Sneezing while lying in bed

Cat Sneezing a Lot: When to Worry?

Is your cat sneezing a lot every day? If the answer is yes, you need to monitor the frequency of their symptoms and assess the potential triggers. Some cats can tend to sneeze a lot and there is no cause for concern but repeated bouts of heavy sneezing accompanied by symptoms like coughing, runny eyes or wheezing warrants a trip to the vet if they continue every day.

How do you treat a sneezing cat?

You can prevent and manage cat sneezing by making simple changes around your home and monitoring if they make a difference to your cat’s health. Maintaining good respiratory health for cats is as important as ours, these changes will not only benefit your cat but will also improve the overall air quality indoors for everyone. 

  • Firstly, focus your attention on where your cat seems to experience allergies around your home and then make extra efforts to clean and hoover these areas.
  • Some cats may sneeze when entering the litter tray due to fragranced litter, try changing their litter to an unscented brand. 
  • Air purifiers with a HEPA filter can also help with issues such as dust and pollen around your home triggering your pet. 
  • Frequently grooming your cat may help if you suspect their fur is a trigger. 
  • Using hard floors may help if you suspect your pet is triggered by the carpet. 
  • Antihistamines or other allergy medications may be prescribed by your vet if allergy symptoms continue. You can help administer these by hiding them inside treats

Embracing the Occasional Achoo

Ultimately, your cat’s respiratory health isn't that different to ours. Some cats sneeze more than others and some are slightly more sensitive to certain triggers like dust or fragranced litter. 

Repeated or prolonged bouts of sneezing accompanied by other symptoms may point to underlying allergies or even a respiratory infection. Always check with your vet if you have concerns about your cat’s sneezing pattern, especially if the problem worsens, is accompanied by any other symptoms or persists.

Check out our delicious range of Dreamies™ Treats for days when your pet needs a pick-me-up.