Kitten Keeps Sneezing

Our new shelter kitten is sneezing. Will this go away after a while?

One of the most common health concerns in new kittens from the shelter is sneezing. For some healthy, older kittens, the sneezing may go away but for others it can be a sign that problems are just starting.  Many kittens that are born ‘feral’ or spend time in shelters are infected with a variety of viruses. These viruses are very contagious and can cause upper respiratory infections and symptoms, such as runny eyes and sneezing.

The most common cause of sneezing in kittens is the feline herpes virus. Don’t worry, this virus only affects cats and not humans, but it can cause a variety of issues for kitties. Sneezing, nasal discharge, swollen eyes, eye infections, corneal problems, excessive tearing, coughing, and bronchitis can all be caused by herpes. There are often other viruses and bacteria that can complicate what herpes started, so it is recommended to have all sneezing kittens checked out by the veterinarian. If caught early, good supportive care can prevent problems from progressing.  Make sure that your kitten continues to eat and drink well. Feeding both wet and dry food will help provide a good cornerstone for health if your little guy feels a little ‘under the weather.’