Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 26.2 Other Scientific

How I approach... The sneezing cat

Published 28/01/2021

Written by Elizabeth Rozanski

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Sneezing is a remarkably common presenting complaint in cats, and it is important for the practitioner both to have a good overview about the possible causes when presented with an affected cat or a clowder of cats, and to be aware of the various diagnostic and therapeutic options available.

Cat yawning with open mouth

Key Points

Older cats that start sneezing may warrant further diagnostics, with the choice of tests based upon assessment of the patient and the owner’s wishes.


The sneezing cat is one of the most common presentations in small animal practice. The practitioner should be well acquainted as to the possible causes, as well as the various diagnostic choices and available therapeutic options, when presented with such cases.


Imaging, biopsy and possible rhinoscopy are the most likely investigations to result in a diagnosis, whilst PCR testing can be useful for confirmation of a chronic infectious cause.


In young, healthy cats with an acute onset of sneezing, an infectious etiology is most likely and the signs will normally resolve whatever therapy is chosen.


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