Understanding reverse sneezing in cats.

Understanding reverse sneezing in cats. Image: Pixabay

How dangerous is reverse sneezing in cats?

Persistent or frequent reverse sneezing may indicate underlying causes such as nasal mites, allergies, or dental disease.

Understanding reverse sneezing in cats.

Understanding reverse sneezing in cats. Image: Pixabay

Does your feline friend sometimes make a strange snorting sound, like they’re choking but nothing’s there? You’re not alone. This startling episode, known as reverse sneezing, is a surprisingly common occurrence in cats and often leaves owners worried. But fear not, reverse sneezing is usually harmless and simply a way for your cat to clear an irritation.

The veterinary website Vetster says frequent reverse sneezing can be caused by irritants in the air, allergies, or mites in your cat’s nose. In very rare cases, severe reverse sneezing might be a sign of something more serious like dental problems or tumors in the nose.

What is Reverse Sneezing?

Unlike a regular sneeze, where air is forcefully expelled through the nose, a reverse sneeze involves rapid inhalation of air. This can sound like a hacking cough, wheezing, or snorting, and can be quite alarming to witness.

What Causes Reverse Sneezing?

Several things can trigger a reverse sneeze:

  • Irritants: Dust, pollen, smoke, or even strong perfumes can tickle your cat’s nasal passages.
  • Excitement: Sometimes, a burst of excitement can lead to a reverse sneeze.
  • Post-nasal drip: Upper respiratory infections or allergies can cause excess mucus, which can irritate the throat and trigger a reverse sneeze.
  • Foreign objects: In rare cases, a foreign object lodged in the nose can cause a reverse sneeze.

Is Reverse Sneezing Serious?

In most cases, reverse sneezing is nothing to worry about. Episodes typically last just a few seconds and your cat will return to normal quickly. However, if the episodes become frequent, prolonged (lasting over a minute), or are accompanied by other symptoms like lethargy, discharge from the eyes or nose, or difficulty breathing, it’s best to consult your vet.

Helping Your Cat

While there’s no specific treatment for reverse sneezing, you can try calming your cat if it seems triggered by excitement. Gently stroking their throat might also help. If allergies are suspected, discuss air purifiers or allergy medication with your vet.

The Takeaway

Reverse sneezing may sound scary, but it’s usually a harmless reflex. By understanding the causes and what to look out for, you can keep your feline friend purring and breathing easy.


Artificial Intelligence assisted in compiling this article.