Why is My Cat Sneezing and Snotty?

Cat flu is one of the most common causes of a sneezing, snotty cat. So what can you do to help them at home and are there other treatments that will help?

cat with eye and nose discharge and title sneezing snotty cat causes and treatment

This question is sent in from the owner of a cat who was attacked by a Pitbull a week previously. No seemingly bad injuries, they just had a toenail that was ripped, but then three days ago he started to sneeze, have a runny nose and had a bit of discharge in his eyes.

Signs of respiratory disease

Now to start with, those signs of disease that are going on, they don't sound like a typical post fight injury or any kind of problem that would happen as a result of being attacked by a Pitbull dog. Obviously getting checked over by your vet is very important after any kind of trauma like that. Certainly dogs can do a huge amount of damage to cats and I imagine that the cat was checked over, at least I hope it was!

Now what these signs do sound typical of is respiratory disease. Disease of the upper airway and nose and really that can often be caused by stress.

Stress and cat flu

So stress can often flare up these viral diseases. So we have a couple of cat flu viruses which are typical in cats and very common called herpes virus, which is the same as what causes cold sores in humans or the same family of viruses that causes cold sores in humans, and also calicivirus is another one. They can be present in a normal, healthy individual and they will flare up at times of stress.

If it's only mild disease, then they can be fairly self-limiting, meaning that they will get better by themselves without any particular treatments. We need to keep the eyes clear, we need to try and remove any discharge from the nose, and very often as the stress dies away, if we can avoid any more fights, then likely the disease will resolve itself.


Now we sometimes need other medications, so that might include something like lysine supplementation, it could be eye medication in case there's any ulcers developing, and we can need antibiotics sometimes for any secondary infections. So sometimes the bacteria that are normally present in these areas will take advantage of the inflammation and the damage that the viruses are causing and a cat needs antibiotics to control those.

Home care

We may also need to give warm, strong smelling food to make sure that our cats continue eating. A cat with a completely blocked nose, often finds it hard to eat or they don't have an appetite because they rely on their sense of smell so much for their appetite and therefore they go off their food a little bit. Putting them in a steamy room can also help to mobilize that mucus and any build-up that's happening in their nose. Again, just to clear their nose.

If the diseases are affecting a cats general demeanor, it's getting worse or it's not going away, then obviously you need to consult with your vet even if it's something that you've dealt with time again. If they've had a similar problem in the past, if they're getting worse, if it's not going away, then talking to your vet and getting them checked over to make sure that there aren't any other injuries or other diseases is going to be very important.

The above is a transcript taken from “The Dr Alex Answers Show”.

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