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Cats sneeze. Most of the time, there’s nothing to worry about. But when you notice blood on your feline’s nose after a sneeze, you’re understandably concerned. Let’s find out what this symptom means for your pet and what you, as an owner, can do about it.
Don’t Forget Your Vet!
Before we dive into this article, a small disclaimer. When you notice that your cat is sneezing blood, the most accurate diagnosis can only come from a vet. Please book an appointment as soon as you notice this symptom. Now, let’s read on to prepare you for the possible causes!
Top Tip: Take your cat to the vet immediately when the animal’s nose begins to bleed suddenly or the bleeding doesn’t stop.
The Good News
Seeing blood anywhere on our pets always makes us assume the worst but in this case, there is a tiny margin for you to breathe easy. A bloody sneeze is not always a sign that your cat is in serious trouble. Let’s dive into the top 8 causes and see what might be happening here. But don’t forget, a proper diagnosis is still a must!
1. Your Cat Has A Cold
Surprisingly, upper respiratory tract infections (like a cold) are common in cats. In most cases, they catch it the same way we do – from another sick individual. So, if several of your cats show the same symptoms, you might have a small cold outbreak on your hands! Besides a bloody sneeze or two, symptoms of a feline cold include the following signs.
- Eye discharge.
- Nose discharge (yellow, green, or clear).
Treatment: Your vet will prescribe antiviral medicine or antibiotics. They might also give you medication to treat your pet’s goopy nose and eyes.
2. They Have Inhaled a Fungus
Sometimes, cats inhale a bad fungus and nothing happens. The problem begins when a cat inhales excessive amounts of a nasty fungus or when your pet has a compromised immune system. Then any exposure can cause a bloody nose. You won’t be able to see the internal damage, which includes swelling and destruction of nasal tissue, but here are some visible symptoms that might suggest that your cat is suffering from a fungal infection.
- A nosebleed.
- Sneezing (with or without blood).
- Other respiratory symptoms.
- Nasal discharge.
Treatment: Depending on the severity of the infection, your cat will require antifungal drugs or surgery.
Discover all the ways that fungal infections can affect a cat’s health.
3. Your Cat Injured Itself
Cats are nimble creatures but they are not immune to injuries and accidents. Perhaps another cat used their claws to bob your pet on the nose during an argument. Maybe it fell out of a tree and snagged its nostrils on a branch. Either way, a cat injury needs to be checked by a professional.
Treatment: Your vet will examine the facial injury to determine the extent of the problem and the course of treatment.
Learn more about the most common cat injuries.
4. The Cat Might Have a Clotting Disorder
Blood platelets help with clotting. One reason why your pet is sneezing a spray of red could be a disorder that disrupts this natural healing process – or the cat had ingested something that prevents the platelets from clotting, like rat poison. The latter is a critical emergency and the animal needs to be taken to the vet straight away.
Some signs that your cat has a disease-related clotting disorder include:
- They bruise easily.
- Bleeding gums.
- Black stool.
Treatment: Your vet will run blood tests to check blood cell and platelet counts. Treatment can include blood transfusions, rest, and medicine.
5. High Blood Pressure
That’s right, this condition is not exclusive to humans. Older cats are more likely to be diagnosed with hypertension, so keep an eye on your golden oldies. Symptoms can include nosebleeds as well as bloody sneezes which, perhaps tellingly, might become more frequent when the cat is stressed.
Treatment: Your vet will prescribe oral medication for a cat with hypertension. Normally, your pet will take a pill a day to stay healthy.
6. Tumors and Cancer
Not to frighten you but let’s face it, you probably knew that this one was coming. Indeed, there are, unfortunately, a variety of cancers that can attack a cat’s face, nasal passages, and sinuses. Some of the most common symptoms can be found below.
- Bleeding or bloody nose.
- Sneezing blood.
- Recurring or persistent infections.
- Nasal wounds or abnormalities.
- The cat is lethargic.
Treatment: The vet will take a biopsy to determine if your cat’s sneezing is related to cancer and if so, whether the condition is treatable.
7. Something’s There That Doesn’t Belong!
Cats are inquisitive creatures. Sometimes, they manage to get a foreign body stuck deep inside their nostrils. This can cause sneezing, infections, and even nosebleeds. However, some cats are also very sensitive to allergens like pollen and dust, and inhaling an excessive amount can also cause similar symptoms.
Another problem can occur when your pet and cleaning materials don’t get along. Some chemicals in cleaning products can severely irritate the lining inside a cat’s nose, and trigger a bloody nose.
Treatment: If you suspect that something’s got up your pet’s nose, the vet will have to carefully remove the object. In case of an allergy, your cat will be given medication.
Polyps are growths but the good news is that they are completely harmless. However, when they grow inside a cat’s nose, they can become irritated and bleed, triggering a bloody sneeze now and again.
Treatment: Once a vet has diagnosed polyps as the problem, they will schedule your cat for surgery to remove the growths.
Q: Is there a good home remedy for my cat when she’s sneezing blood?
There is no effective home remedy to treat this potentially dangerous condition. Considering that bloody sneezes could indicate tumors or a foreign object in the nose, it cannot be treated without veterinary supervision.
Q: I’m on my way to the vet but how do I slow my cat’s bleeding nose?
If your cat tolerates it, gently press an ice pack to the top and sides of your pet’s nose.
Q: I can see something’s stuck in my cat’s nose. How do I remove it?
It’s important that you do not attempt to remove the object by yourself. If the cat resists or you make a mistake, the injury could get worse. A foreign object must be removed by a vet.
Q: My cat won’t stop sneezing but there’s no blood?
In this case, the most common causes include allergies, a cold (or upper tract respiratory infection), or the animal might be reacting to a particularly irritating agent like household chemicals.
Q: Can my cat get a bloody nose after eating a dead rodent?
Only if the rodent has died from a poison that purposely kills rats and mice by preventing their blood from clotting. When a cat eats such a rodent, the poison’s ability to prevent blood from clotting can make a cat fatally ill.