How to Make a Cat Sneeze to Clear Its Nose (4 Methods)

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Dr. Paola Cuevas

Vet, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Sneezing is a bodily function that expels foreign materials from the nasal cavities of humans. However, it’s not just humans that sneeze. In fact, many animal species use sneezing to perform similar functions, including dogs, elephants, lizards, and cats.

Your cat sneezing is a normal part of life and an excellent way for the cat to clear his nose. However, if the sneezing is chronic or persistent, there could be an underlying problem, and you’ll need to consult your vet.

However, what if your cat’s nose is clogged, and you’re looking for a way to make the cat sneeze to clear it? Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you four of our tried-and-true methods for making your cat sneeze in the guide below, as well as a few causes of sneezing.


The 4 Methods to Make a Cat Sneeze to Clear Its Nose

1. Non-Medicated Nasal Spray

If your cat tolerates it, the non-medicated nasal spray you purchase over the counter will work wonders to help your cat sneeze. If your cat has a sinus infection, you can use the nasal spray twice a day to flush out any bacteria and mucus that have built up in your poor feline’s nose. Use only one pump at a time.

If the condition worsens or doesn’t get any better with using the nasal spray, it’s time to contact your vet for an appointment.

nasal spray for cats
Image Credit: Ais-92, Shutterstock

2. Steam Method

You’ve probably heard of and even used the steam method to clear your nose and make you sneeze when you have a cold, sinus infection, or seasonal allergies. You can do the same for your feline friend.

You can either turn on a hot shower for a few minutes and take your cat into the bathroom with you, or you can heat a pan of water on the stove, then put it on the table. However, you’ll have to be careful if your cat will not sit still near hot water. Either of these methods will work, but you have to make sure that your cat is calm. If you can, huddle in front of the steam with your cat and place a towel over both your heads to induce sneezing.

3. Scented Perfume

Heavily scented perfumes make humans sneeze, so why not cats? If you know a particular perfume makes you sneeze every time you use it, it stands to reason that it’ll make your cat sneeze as well. You can spray the fragrance on a towel or shirt and present it to your cat.

However, it’s also important to remember that you want to make your cat feel better and clear its nasal passages, not make it feel worse. You’ll have to choose another option if your cat has a perfume allergy.

Cat sneezes
Image Credit: ZlataMarka, Shutterstock

4. Tickle Its Nose

If you wish your cat to sneeze to clear its nose you could give this method a try. Use one of those feathered toys and tickle your kittie’s nostrils. Your cat’s reflex will most likely be to sneeze. For better results try this method after the steam room or the nasal saline solution.

persian cat playing with feather toy
Image Credit: ANURAK PONGPATIMET, Shutterstock



What Causes Your Cat to Sneeze?

There are more than a few reasons that a cat sneezes.

Just a Tickle

A sudden tickle in the nose can lead to your cat sneezing. This is nothing to be concerned about unless your cat keeps sneezing and doesn’t stop.

Sneezing maine coon breed cat on brown background
Image Credit: DC Studio, Shutterstock

Chemical Irritants

Cats can also be sensitive to certain chemicals, just like humans can. It’s possible that the cat is sneezing because of carpet freshener or other chemicals that you’re using to clean the house or floors.

A Respiratory Infection

Another common cause of sneezing could be a respiratory infection. In most cases, it’s a viral infection. Some possible causes of a respiratory infection are listed below.

  • Herpes virus
  • Bacterial infections
  • Calicivirus
  • And more

Dental diseases, foreign bodies, allergies, and some vaccines can also cause sneezing. If you feel that your cat has one of the issues or the condition gets worse, it’s best to contact your vet and take your cat in for a checkup to see if there is an underlying cause for the illness.



Cats sneeze for various reasons. Sneezing is a natural way to clear the airway and might happen as a reflex response. Whether it’s a respiratory illness or just that your cat is sneezing from allergies, there are things you can do to help your cat feel better.

If your cat has a stuffy nose and can’t seem to sneeze on its own, you can try the methods above. If none of these techniques work, it’s time to get your cat in to see your vet so that they can treat your feline friend and have it back to being healthy and happy in no time.

Featured Image Credit: Sergio Huainigg, Pixabay

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