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3 Reasons For Cat Sneezing And Watery Eyes (With Solutions)

3 Reasons For Cat Sneezing And Watery Eyes (With Solutions)

You’ve seen these symptoms a hundred times, and they are pretty common in humans. But, why would your cat sneeze and have watery eyes? How dangerous can this actually be for felines? 

Well, it depends on what is the reason behind these symptoms.

In many cases, cats with these clinical signs will need veterinary care. So, let’s see what are the most common causes of the excess tearing in cats, as well as you telling Bless you all day long!

1. Allergies 

Cute cat Scottish Fold is about to sneeze

Cats can deal with allergies, too, and you’ll recognize this condition by symptoms such as sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, itchy skin, and even vomiting and diarrhea in some cases.

According to Stephen White and Karen Moriello [1], cats can be allergic to various substances, just like humans. The most common allergens in cats are plant particles and substances found in food and in the air. 

Airborne allergies in cats signify their abnormal sensitivity to inhaled environmental allergens. Affected cats are usually around 5 years old, or even younger. Most common airborne allergens in felines are mold, dust mites, weeds, and grass pollens. 

Cats might show signs of food allergies before they’re 2 years of age. Some of the most common food allergens for felines are milk products, beef, fish, and chicken. 

How To Treat?

The first step here is to confirm that your cat is indeed having an allergic reaction.

To achieve this, your vet will review your cat’s history, and examine her body and skin. Also, the vet will make sure to eliminate any other possible causes of the cat’s sneezing and watery eyes.

The treatment will depend on the type of allergen, and the severity of the cat’s reactions. If it’s possible, the vet will suggest avoidance of the allergens and immunotherapy. 

In some cases it’ll be necessary to change the treatment a couple of times to get the one your cat will respond the best. 

Also, be prepared for frequent evaluations so your vet can adjust the treatment in the best possible way for your cat’s health. 

2. Cat Flu

gray tabby cat sneezes and sits on the asphalt

Feeling tired, without appetite, and it seems like every inch of your body is hurting? Sounds like flu symptoms, and we all hate this feeling! Well, humans are not the only ones that suffer from flu; our feline companions might also deal with this disease.

Cat flu is an infection of her upper respiratory tract. According to Michèle Bergmann and her associates [2], this infection is quite common in cats, especially in multiple cat households. Immunocompromised cats and young kittens often need to be hospitalized.

According to Cats Protection, around 80% of cases of cat flu are caused by one of 2 viruses, Feline Herpesvirus (FHV) or Feline Calicivirus (FCV). 

These viruses cause symptoms similar to cold in humans, such as sneezing, watery eyes, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, and fever.

How To Treat?

If you suspect flu in your cat, you should consult your veterinarian. 

The treatment for cat flu usually includes antiviral medications, pain medications, or antibiotics. 

In most cases, cats successfully recover from the flu in a short time.

However, you shouldn’t wait to contact your vet, especially if you have a young kitten or a senior cat. 

In cats like this, flu can develop to pneumonia, and even lead to fatal outcomes in the most severe cases.

3. Conjunctivitis

Sneezing maine coon breed cat

Watery eyes and sneezing in cats can also be a sign of an eye issue, particularly, of conjunctivitis.

Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the front membrane of the cat’s eye – which is called the conjunctiva. This membrane is essential for felines, since it prevents bacteria, dirt, and dust from entering their eyes.

Together with this, cat owners might notice their pet tries to keep her eyes closed, or her squinting one eye.

Generally speaking, conjunctivitis is not a severe illness for cats. However, an infected cat will feel discomfort and pain, and, if it’s not treated, this infection can even lead to blindness in cats.

There are many different causes of conjunctivitis which can be divided into infectious and non-infectious causes.

Viral and bacterial conjunctivitis is transmitted through droplets, and it is particularly quickly transmitted in homes with several cats.

Non-infectious causes of conjunctivitis might be foreign bodies or eye injuries in cats.

How To Treat?

The veterinarian will examine your cat’s eyes to check whether there is a foreign body inside it, or perhaps an eyelash that’s bothering a cat (yes, cats do have eyelashes!).

If none of these two is the problem, the vet will take a swab to test for bacteria and viruses. If the results confirm conjunctivitis in the cat, he will prescribe an appropriate therapy.

If a bacterial infection caused the conjunctivitis, the cat will be prescribed with an eye ointment or antibiotic drops. In the case of viral infection, the cat will need to take antiviral drugs. 

In most cases, cats successfully recover from this eye infection in a couple of days, without any severe damage to their eyes.

However, you shouldn’t wait to contact your vet if you notice conjunctivitis symptoms in your cat, since failing to cure it on time might cause eye damage, and even blindness in her.

To Sum It Up

Baby cat sneezing

Cat sneezing and watery eyes might not look so scary at first. Still, if a couple of days pass and things don’t seem to be getting any better, you shouldn’t, by any means, ignore these symptoms.

You shouldn’t panic either, since these are usually symptoms of treatable and common health problems in felines.

The help is just one call away, so, don’t try home remedies in these situations. Rather, leave your furry friend in the safe hands of professionals.


[1] White, SD, Moriello, KA: Allergies of cats. DOI, Retrieved April 03, 2033.

[2] Bergmann, M, Treatment of acute viral feline upper respiratory tract infections. Tierarztl Prax Ausg K Kleintiere Heimtiere, 2019 Apr, 47(2):98-109. DOI, Retrieved April 03, 2033.

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