Sniffling & Sneezing in Kittens

Only a veterinarian can properly diagnose a sneezing, sniffling kitten.
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Picture this: your fuzzy little kitten leans forward, blinks twice and then ah...ah...choo! Isn't it adorable? What's cuter than a sneezing kitten? But having the sniffles may also be a sign it's time to take your little ball of fuzzy fluff to your veterinarian for a checkup.


Sneezing and sniffling doesn't necessarily mean your kitten is ill, though it is cause for concern. Before ringing the alarm bells, check the environment. Is the kitten's area dusty? Is there mold? Do you smoke? If you said yes to any of these, it's possible your kitten is having an allergic reaction. If your kitten's crib is immaculate and you'd never dream of smoking around him, the culprit could be an upper respiratory infection. A whole host of organisms can infect your kitten's sinuses and nasal lining, though "The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health" states that feline herpesviral rhinotracheitis and feline calicivirus are the most common.


You remember that cute little sniffly sneeze from your kitten? The one that made you go "aww?" The correct response should have been "ew," because when your kitten sneezed, he expelled germ droplets into the air. If you have other cats, they can become sick if they come into contact with those droplets or other contaminated items in your house, such as a shared bowl or litter box.


One word: antibiotics. Depending on your kitten's symptoms and diagnosis, the likely course of treatment will include antibiotics to fight infection. You'll also need to thoroughly clean your house, paying special attention to your kitten's favorite spots. You might also choose to have your kitten vaccinated against calicivirus and herpesviral rhinotracheitis. Only a veterinarian can accurately assess your kitten's particular needs.


Remember, kittens are delicate creatures -- though they may not seem like it when they run, jump and pounce on you. An infection that would be easily treatable in an adult cat can turn deadly for a kitten. Sneezing and sniffling can also signal more serious problems, such as feline infectious peritonitis. Watch your kitten closely for other trouble symptoms, such as appetite loss, vomiting or diarrhea, a dull coat and lethargy.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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