Cat has been sneezing a lot lately

My cat's been sneezing a lot lately and he's also been dry heaving (he seems like he's going to barf, but never does). At first, I just watched him a little bit and didn't worry about it too much. But now I'm a little worried.

It hasn't worsened, but it hasn't gotten better either. His attitude is still normal, and we've only had him since the winter.

Is it possible that he could have allergies? If so, what's causing the dry heaving?

Editor's note: I'm sorry to hear that your cat is having problems. In my experience, cats don't sneeze all that much on a day to day basis.

Your cat may have allergies. Sneezing is, however, often a sign of an upper respiratory infection (URI).

URIs present similar to a cold in humans (basically, a "kitty cold"). They can be viral or bacterial, or your cat may have both. Usually, your vet will prescribe antibiotics as even viral cases often have secondary bacterial infections coming along for the ride.

If you notice mucus with the sneezing, or watery eyes or nasal discharge, runny nose or drooling, your cat may very well have an URI. Absence of these signs does not mean he doesn't have one, it's just harder to tell.

Gagging or dry heaving may be a sign of an URI, or that may be unrelated. Dry heaving may indicate a hairball that your cat can't bring up, or it could be an obstruction in the stomach. For outdoor cats, a mouse or bird bones, for example.

Please note, I am not a veterinarian, and even I can't diagnose an URI in my own cat. For many people, loss of appetite in their cats is the trigger than sends them to the vet.

Since cats can't talk (obviously!), I have always taken my cats to the vet if they seem to be out of sorts or showing signs of illness for more than a day. My biggest concern is usually dehydration if my cat stops drinking.

Please see these resources for more information:

Upper respiratory infection in cats

Clinical signs of upper respiratory infections in cats (scroll down a bit to see a list).

Feline upper respiratory infection

I hope that helps. Please let us know how he gets along.

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