Have you ever seen your cat reverse sneeze, and it looks like they are choking, having an asthma attack, or vomiting? Reverse sneezing in cats can be frightening, especially if your feisty feline is distressed. As frightening as it can be, is reverse sneezing in cats normal?
Reverse sneezing is not as widespread in felines as in canines. However, that does not mean it is abnormal, as it can also occur in cats. Reverse sneezing is typically nothing to worry about if it does not go on for more than a few minutes and does not happen too often.
A variety of physical conditions can initiate reverse sneezing. If you plan to be familiar with more about reverse sneezing in cats, check out this article.
A typical sneeze occurs when the cat expels air from their noses to eliminate mucus and other irritants. A reverse sneeze consists of rapid air breathing into the pharynx or windpipe, and the air travels into the airways to remove foreign materials. When a feline reverse sneezes, it may seem like they are choking, having an asthma attack, or retching.
There are a wide variety of causes of reverse sneezing in cats. Typically, cats reverse sneeze as an allergic response or to remove a foreign object from their nose. Other times, it can be a sign of an infection or even disease. Cats may reverse sneeze due to:
Excitement is another potential cause of reverse sneezing in cats, as they react to emotional stimuli.
Typically during a reverse sneeze, a cat will close their eyes, extend their back, and there is usually backward movement of the head. This positioning is what is referred to as orthopneic posture. The cat may make a loud sound like snorting, gasping, or honking. During the reverse sneeze, the soft palate spasms, causing the peculiar sounds you may hear.
An occurrence of reverse sneezing can go on from a few seconds to a minute. If it lasts any longer, there is a greater chance the cat may vomit. Most of the time, reverse sneezing is not a cause for concern, but seeing and hearing your cat doing this can be startling. Reverse sneezing is more commonplace in canines than felines.
Symptoms of reverse sneezing in felines can differ based on severity. During a reverse sneeze, cats typically stand still and exhibit orthopneic posture. It may be concerning to see, but it will only last briefly. Some of the symptoms of reverse sneezing in a cat are:
Suppose a disease or infection of the respiratory tract triggers the symptoms of reverse sneezing. In that case, some of the indicators presented consist of fever, loss of energy, runny nose, and cough. It can look like the cat is in physical distress, but reverse sneezing usually is not serious.
You can help your cat who is reverse sneezing by gently massaging their throat, which can relieve some discomfort. Vets may sometimes suggest that you treat reverse sneezing with:
An antihistamine is often used to treat reverse sneezing if allergies cause it. If your veterinarian approves of the use of Benadryl, this may be helpful. Benadryl can be utilized to remedy itchiness and inflammation. However, never give your feline gel capsules, as they contain ingredients that are poisonous to felines.
The appropriate dosage for Benadryl in cats is one milligram for every pound of their body weight. If you have a ten-pound cat, give them ten milligrams of Benadryl. Tablets come in 25 and 12.5 mg, so you would dose ¼ of a 25 mg or ¾ of a 12.5 mg tablet. However, some cats should not be given Benadryl:
Always use tablets that are scored, if available, to prevent overdosing. Benadryl should only be used on a short-term basis in cats. Talk to your vet prior to giving your cat any medications. You should also take them to the vet if the reverse sneezing lasts more than a few minutes, as it can indicate an underlying problem.
A sedated oral exam may be a wise idea. If symptoms persist, an endoscopic exam with anesthesia may be needed to determine if there is foreign material in the nasal cavity. If foreign material is found, it is typically removed with the attachment on the endoscope. There may also be additional testing if the veterinarian deems it necessary.
Reverse sneezing is not as routine in felines as it is in canines. However, it is usually not serious and nothing to worry about as long as it does not continue for a long time. It can happen every so often if there is a trigger, such as a foreign object, dust, or pollen in the nasal cavity. Your cat should always be examined to ensure it is just a reverse sneeze.
Reverse sneezing is when a cat rapidly breathes into their windpipe causing air to travel into their airway and remove foreign materials. It is simply the cat’s way of clearing out their nasal passages. Although it is not common in cats, it is not abnormal.