Cat Runny Nose, Stuffy Nose Symptoms and Home Remedies

Running nose in cats
Cat runny nose

A cat runny nose is a common occurrence in your feline pet and should not cause you panic. Just like humans, they get bacterial and viral infections especially during the winter. These cause them to exhibit the equivalent of human cold symptoms including cat stuffy nose. Where no severe signs are observed, it is possible to put into place measures that will hasten the cat’s recovery. We get into the details of these and also explore various causes for a running as well as stuffy cat nose so you can avoid them.

Cat Runny Nose

Cat rhinitis and sinusitis are a common condition in felines just as it is in canines. They involve the inflammation of the nasal passages and the nose.

These medical conditions can lead to mucus discharge which is then seen as a cat runny nose. Where the inflammation is not dealt with, the cat may suffer bacterial infections with time. It is therefore important to deal with the symptoms fast to prevent the condition from getting severe.

A cat runny nose is indicative of a nasal discharge. The source of this discharge is mostly from the organs in the upper respiratory organs. These include the postnasal area, sinuses and nasal cavity. It is however possible for the discharge to originate from the digestive tract and be forced into the nasal area in case the cat has a swallowing disorder.

The discharge from a cat’s runny nose may take different appearances. These include thick or watery discharge which may assume some color or be colorless. While these may be normal, any blood tinged or pus filled mucus should sound an alarm. It is an indication that something is wrong. The cat could have something lodged in its nose which is harming it or it could be suffering an infection.

When a cat is suffering inflammation in the nasal cavity, in addition to a cat runny nose, you are likely to see other accompanying symptoms including:

  • Reduced appetite
  • Sneezing
  • A stuffy nose
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Eye discharge

Runny Nose in Cats Causes

Why does my cat have a runny nose? This is a common question among cat as well as other pet owners. The most common cause of nasal discharge in cats is an infection in the upper respiratory system. However, there are many other causes for this including the following:

Cat Flu

This involves an infection in the respiratory system of your kitten. It can be caused by either bacteria or viruses. With this you will notice the cat exhibiting cold like symptoms such as eye discharge, sneezing and a runny nose.

Nasal Polyps

Although this is rare in cats, it can happen. Polyps are growths of a benign nature that results from the mucus membrane. These can make a cat have a runny nose.


These may be either viral or fungal. They will leave the nasal cavity lining casing irritation and a running nose.


Facial swelling as well as nasal malignant tumors are a common cause of nasal drainage.


trauma on cat's head
Trauma on the a cats head may cause a running nose

Trauma around the head and face can see your cat experiencing nasal drainage. The trauma may be accidental or self imposed through head pressing by the cat.

Foreign Bodies

When there are foreign objects in the nasal cavity, your pet will recognize it and in a bid to fight it a cat runny nose will be experienced. In most cases, such situations will only have one side of the nostril running.

Allergic Reactions

When the cause of a runny nose in cats is an allergy, the cat reacts to inflammatory or chemical invaders which cause an irritation to the nasal passages. Some cats may be affected by seasonal allergies. One way through which cats react to allergens is the production of mucus which is passed out as nasal drainage. In addition, these may be accompanied by itching in the nose, rubbing and hair loss.

Cleft Palate

With this, there is a congenital deformity in the cat. It occurs when the mouth roof fails to fuse during the development of the kitten.


This causes the inflammation of the lungs and is a result of infections. Young kittens are most vulnerable to the condition and should be given extra care for them to regain their health.

My Cat’s Nose is Running, What Should I do? Cat Running Nose Treatment

What should I do when my cat is sneezing and has a runny nose? With a feline running nose, the treatment is mostly aimed at addressing the main cause before trying anything else. This is then followed up with supportive care to ensure that the eye discharge and nasal discharge are addressed.

With this in mind, treatment of chronic discharge as a result of polyps will include surgical removal. Removal of foreign objects is also necessary. Where the cause is allergens, avoidance will help to get rid of it. In case of infections such as pneumonia administration of antibiotics as well as anti-fungal medication will go a long way. Where the cause is dental abscess extraction of the tooth may be necessary.

Apart from these, the stuffy nose home remedy treatments and natural cures discussed below can also help in clearing a cat’s running nose. However, in case the runny nose is accompanied by diarrhea, the cat is not eating and any other signs of sickness, see a vet.

Cat Runny Nose, Runny Eyes and Sneezing

My cat keeps sneezing, what is wrong? In most situations, it is normal for a cat to have nasal discharge and sneeze at the same time. Having watery eyes may also be experienced. However, where the sneezing is chronic and severe, or where the cat is sneezing blood from the nose you should have your pet checked.

Cat Runny Nose when Purring and Mouth Drooling

A cat purring is an indication of contentment. In most cases, they will do this in instances of petting. This may also be accompanied by drooling and is not an indication that something is wrong. This is more so if the breathing appears okay and there is no other discharge and any nasal drainage is clear.

In some cases though, a cat runny nose may be indicative of anxiety. This is in instances where they know they are about to visit a vet or before being injected. If there are no other accompanying symptoms, your cat should be okay and there should be no cause of alarm.

Cat Stuffy Nose

A cat stuffy nose is caused by infection in the respiratory system. With a congested nose, your cat will display symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny eyes and nose. In most cases, a cat stuffy develops after a runny nose has manifested. This is likely to go away on its own within a few days. Where the congestion is mild, home remedies go a long way in easing the symptoms. Some interventions can however help to speed up recovery.

How to Clear a Cat’s Stuffy Nose with Home Remedy Treatments

There is a possibility that a cat stuffy nose will cause reduced appetite. This could also be caused by the fact that a congested cat nose brings along with it an impaired sense of smell and the cat does not get the urge to eat. As such, feed your cat with wet hot food which tends to have a strong smell. Also ensure the presence of clean fresh water so that the cat can stay well hydrated. When this is done, recovery is fast. In addition to ensuring proper feeding, try the following measures.

Humidify to Ease Blocked Cat Nose

Humidify to alleviate nasal congestion in cats
Humidifier to ease cat stuffy nose

With congestion in a cat’s nasal passage, the situation is made worse if the air is dry. Humidifying the area around where the cat spends time will help keep the nasal passage well moisturized.

You can further relieve a congested nasal passage using steam. Turn on the hot shower and bring the cat into the bathroom without allowing it to get wet. The inhaled steam will help to break up and stuck mucus and thus ease congestion.

Keep the Cat Warm to Ease Stuffy Nose Symptoms

When my cat has a runny nose, I ensure that cold temperatures do not aggravate the symptoms. It is important for you to keep the house and the cat warm. Keep the cat’s bed comfortably covered with blankets. Let they areas they like napping and spending most of their time be warm and cozy.

Nose Drops for Cats’ Stuffy Nose

To get rid of mucus discharge and clear up congestion, you may ask your vet to recommend nose and eye drops. These will help in alleviating the symptoms of congestion and get rid of the discomfort caused by a stuffy nose.

Keep Up to Date with Vaccinations to Prevent Nasal Congestion

Ensuring that your pet stays up to date with vaccinations ensures that their immune system is boosted. This not only allows the cat to fight off feline colds but other diseases as well.

Cat has Stuffy Nose and Won’t Eat

A stuffy nose is terrible for a cat but even worse is when the cat will not eat. Where this happens, keep treating the cat for the case of stuffiness. Be gentle on the pet and if they keep on not eating act. For kittens, you can opt for milk replacements and use a feeding syringe. Most powders last long and when the cat is fed every four to six hours it will last them long enough.

In most cases these come with manufacturer directions to guide through the feeding process. In case your pet is experiencing diarrhea and not eating at the same time, you need to visit your vet as soon as possible.

Persian Cat Can’t Breathe Through Nose

At times, cats will have their noses congested so bad that the stuffiness causes breathing problems. This can happen to any cat breeds. However, the Persian and Himalayan cats have nose conformations that make them more prone to it. This is because of the flat face in the former and the nasal bone structure being stunted in the later making them predisposed to respiratory problems.

They are known to sneeze without producing any discharge and normally get breathing problems due to the deformity. Where this is the case in any of the breeds, you can ease the breathing by adding some menthol vapor into the air.

You can get plug in vapor emitters or add some menthol into a bowl of water placed close to the cat. When this is done, the cat breathes better and will be relieved of breathing problems. Mint oil can also be added to the water to achieve the same effect.

Cat has Sniffles and Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose will at times cause sniffles in cats. This involves taking in short breathes that are quick through the nose. This may happen because the cat is having difficulty breathing due to the congestion. Keeping your pet in a moisturized area can help in a great way to ease the breathing as it will loosen up any nasal discharge that is stuck up in the cavity.

When to Take a Stuffy Nose in Cats to the Vet

Since cat stuffy nose mostly results from feline colds, they tend to clear up within 14 days. Sneezing, sinus discharge and watery eyes especially from allergies are some likely accompanying symptoms. In some cases especially where the cause is a viral infection, the virus will wear off with time although the cat may keep getting recurring symptoms for months.

While the home remedy options discussed above are great treatment resources, they may not always work. This makes it important to learn when to see a vet over a cat blocked nose. Below are such instances:

  • Where nothing seems to help revive the cat’s appetite
  • In case the pet appears lethargic
  • Severe breathing problems
  • Wheezing
  • Open eye and mouth sores.
  • Colored and blood tinged discharge

Be most observant when dealing with kittens as these tend to be most vulnerable to further complications such as pneumonia. Where you are not certain if the cat is okay, always have it checked by the vet so that the appropriate medicine can be prescribed to stop the cat runny nose.