One of our cats, from time to time, goes into fits of sneezing (almost machine gun-like) that is worrisome, but there is also sometimes blood in the discharge. She's eating and drinking fine and her behavior is unchanged from normal, so beyond the sneezing and discharge, she appears fine and content.

What would be the cause or concerns with this? Online info indicates that it's not really the big a deal if she's eating and drinking normally. If that's true, what can I do to make it easier for her?


It's a sign of an upper respiratory infection.

Home treatment is to put her in the bathroom while you take a hot, steamy shower (okay, I've never seen results with this) or to give her some saline drops in her nose to help clean her nose out (GOOD LUCK I can only do it because this is our most docile cat).

If it continues, you should take her to the vet and get some antibiotics. In humans I'm strongly against antibiotics for sinus infections, but cats don't understand how to rinse/flush their sinuses so sometimes antibotics are the only thing that will work.

If it continues after a standard antibotic (or returns - Hunter has chronic sinus infections) then your vet can test to determine the strain of bacteria/virus/fungus causing the problem and you can try to re-treat based on that information.

Hunter's problems have continued long enough that there are actual visual changes in his lung x-rays (we thought for awhile that he had lungworm), and we're currently considering an immune suppressing medication to see if that helps. I'd encourage you to treat this seriously and early.

  • +1 I've thought about some of those options. We do take her in, as well, but the frequency of this is pretty much every other month, so the effectiveness of the treatment is becoming suspect to me. I wonder if the bacteria is getting resistant.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 19 '13 at 16:19
  • @JohnCavan if you're already taking her in every other month, it's time to get a swap cultured.
    – Zaralynda
    Dec 19 '13 at 16:37
  • Yeah, I think that's on the plan now.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 19 '13 at 17:57
  • Also consider that you might have mold in your house. Our family continually suffered from sinus infections; we discovered mold in the walls, removed it, fixed the moisture source, and haven't been sick since.
    – JoshDM
    Dec 19 '13 at 18:24
  • @JoshDM - Admittedly a risk in my house given the age of it, but neither our other cat nor us has experienced any illness that is similar. It seems less likely.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 20 '13 at 15:52

Our kitty had violent sneezing fits with bloody discharge and while they stopped after treating him with humidification (having him stay in the bathroom while we showered) and saline to keep his nasal cavity clean and hydrated, he since passed with what ended up being a hernia of his diaphragm. While we took him in to the vet when he sneezed up blood, our vet wouldn't x-ray him without putting him under, and at his age 14 1/2, we weren't sure he would come out of sedation. The emergency vet we took him to shortly before he passed away did the x-ray fine without sedation. If our vet had done the x-ray, we might have caught the hernia early enough to perform surgery and he might still be with us - we won't be going to our old vet any more.

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