If you are a cat lover, definitely you want your furry friend to always be healthy. But what if one day you see your cat suffering from sneezing, runny nose and watery eyes? These signs and symptoms will definitely worry you. Most cat owners deal with this kind of situation frequently. So it is best to equip yourself with knowledge regarding sneezing and watery eyes on your pet. Below are the 5 common causes of these conditions and ways to treat them.

Upper Respiratory Infection

A sneeze accompanied with a nasal or ocular discharge may be a red flag suggesting upper respiratory infection on cats. Upper respiratory infection is like a flu on humans and can be fatal on kittens, old cats and those who have existing health problems.


  • Frequent sneezing with spasms 

  • Watery, bloody, or thick and yellowish, green or clear nasal or ocular discharge

  • Frequent swallowing and coughing

  •  Lack of energy

  •  Loss of appetite

  • Increased body temperature

  • Droopy eyes suggesting dehydration


  • For immediate care, clean the eyes and nose with cotton moistened with warm water, warm your cat’s food to help bring back his appetite and, always make fresh drinking water available

  • Drain your cat’s nasal passages with warm moist air with the help of a vaporizer. This will also clear the sinuses of your cat. Visit the veterinarian if things don't get better.

  • Sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose may also cause secondary bacterial infections. In this case, your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics for your four-legged friend. And your cat’s immune system will take care of virus infection.

  • The veterinarian may also recommend hospitalization if your cat is dehydrated or not eating. Your cat will be given IV fluids and some vitamins until it regains itss strength and appetite.

Herpes in Cats

At some point in a cat’s life, it may be exposed to a virus called feline viral rhinopneumonitis (FVR) or commonly known as feline herpes. It is also known as rhinotracheitis and feline herpes virus type 1.


  • Excessive sneezing

  • Ocular and nasal discharge

  • Inflammation, lesions and ulcers in and around the eyes

  • Nasal congestion

  • Increased body temperature

  • Loss of interest to play and preferring hiding instead

  • Squinting

  • Drooling

  • Lack of energy


Symptomatic treatment is usually done when a cat is infected with the virus. Antibiotics and antiviral drugs are given to help alleviate the symptoms. Eye drops or ophthalmic creams may also be used for eye irritations. 

Always remember that before giving any medication to your cat, make sure you have discussed this with your veterinarian. You may also talk to your veterinarian about available vaccines to prevent feline herpes. Regular vaccination will surely save your cat from this kind of viral infection.

What if you think the virus is on your cat? Sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose should not be taken for granted, if you see these symptoms, take your cat to the veterinarian immediately.

Allergy in Cats

Cats may also suffer from allergies. This happens when they are sensitive to foreign substances. The cat’s immune system will try to get rid of this substances resulting to several symptoms. Remember, if your cat is allergic to a certain substance, this may cause extreme reactions, sometimes even fatal.


  • Excessive sneezing, coughing or even wheezing

  • Excessive scratching

  • Watery eyes

  • Itchiness around the ears, eyes and back or base of the tail

  • Vomiting

  • Loose bowel movement

  • Inflamed paws or paw chewing

  • Inflamed throat characterized by snoring


The secret in treating allergies is by eradicating the allergens and treat the symptoms:

  • For fleas, a flea control program is the best way to prevent them, like applying flea-prevention products monthly on your cat's skin.

  • Prepare a dust-free and an unscented litter. Added fragrancy on scented litters might be the one causing allergies to your cat.

  • Always clean the beddings of your pet and other materials that gather dust at least once a week.

  • Bathe your pet once or twice a week to remove allergens and to relieve skin itching.

  •  For food allergies, visit your veterinarian at once.

  • Some medications in treating allergies on cats are steroids, antihistamines and fatty acid supplements. Never give your cat medications without consulting your veterinarian.

Feline Infectious Peritonitis

Still worried about your cat? Sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose are signs of another infection known as feline infectious peritonitis of FIP. This is a serious viral infection common among cats that are crowded in a shelter leading to stress.


  • Sneezing

  • Watery eyes 

  • Runny nose

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Fever

  • Weight loss

  • Loss of appetite

  • Dyspnea

  • Eye problems such as discharge and blindness

  • Seizures

  • Staggering gait

  • Swollen abdomen

  • Lack of energy


Although symptomatic treatments may be given to make the cat more comfortable, there are no known treatments for this kind of infection. There is a vaccine against this virus but studies are still being conducted to eventually fight this disease. The mortality rate of this infection is almost 100%. Once diagnosed, the cat may live for a week to a year.

Conjunctivitis in Cats

Swelling and pinkness of your cat’s conjunctiva is a common disease called conjunctivitis. This may be a sign of an acute or chronic infection, but whatever the cause may be, you need to bring your cat to the vet when it comes to eye problems.


  • Eye discharge

  • Swollen and red conjunctiva

  • Too much blinking and squinting

  • Uncontrollable rubbing at the eye

  • Nasal discharge

  • Sneezing


Ordinary cases of conjunctivitis may be treated with the use of a saline solution which will be flushed into the eyes. Eye irrigations and warm soaks may also be used for purulent conjunctivitis.

The use of antibiotics or ophthalmic ointments may also be recommended by your veterinarian and some antiviral eye medications.

Now that you’ve learned about possible infections on your cat, sneezing, watery eyes and runny nose should not be taken for granted as this may be a sign of a serious condition which can take your cat away from you. Of course, all of us do not want to lose our furry ball of joy, so be sure to take great care of your cute cat.


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