Does Catnip Make Cats Sneeze?

Smelling catnip can make your cats ecstatic and stress-free. Your fur kid will indulge in its fragrance and will begin to roll around on this pleasant weed. But as they sniff and lick the catnip, they wrinkle their nose and let out a sneeze three times in a row. This might make you wonder if the catnip is the culprit. We've consulted the pet experts, and here's the answer.

Yes, catnip can make cats sneeze. Its aromatic scent and nepetalactone substance do not cause sneezing, though. Potential triggers include a catnip tickle on your cat's nose or dried catnip particles that get stuck in their nasal passage.

Continue reading to learn more about how catnip and other factors make your cat sneeze. We'll also cover what to do with a sneezing cat and when to worry about this instinctive reflex of your feline pet. Without further ado, let's get into it.

sneezing cat close up photo. Does Catnip Make Cats Sneeze

Catnip And Cat Sneezes

Dried loose catnip can tickle the nostrils of your cat, thus causing a reflexive sneeze. This sneeze is like scratching a tickle or an itch in their nose. They might sneeze for a few minutes as they try to get rid of the ticklish sensation in their nasal cavity.

On the other hand, a dried catnip particle stuck in their nasal passage could also make them sneeze. Sneezing usually helps to remove the catnip piece, but if it remains stuck it could cause a nasal infection.

Does Catnip Make Cats Sneeze

To prevent any infection, gently clean your cat's nose with cotton swabs or a clean cloth. But if your cat's sneezing is recurring, you should take a trip to your veterinarian.

If you consider using dried catnip a hassle, you could try fresh catnip, catnip sprays, or catnip essential oil as alternatives. You may also buy dried catnip that's sealed in a cute toy.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Environmental Factors To Consider

Your cat's sneezing may not be directly related to catnip. Underlying factors like dust, mold, and scented products could also be the irritants to blame.

You should be able to tell if your cat's sneezing is not directly linked to catnip. Just imagine, you sprinkled dried catnip on your floor and your furball suddenly sneezes. You already cleaned up the catnip mess, but your kitty still randomly sneezes while playing around your house.

After a sneeze, in that case, check your cat's surrounding area. Could there be dusty surfaces or excess litter dust? Or perhaps there are certain cat toys and areas that accumulated mold. Lastly, could fragrant candles be the source of irritation?

Can A Cat Be Allergic To Catnip?

There is no definite answer to this question. Pet experts say that a low percentage of cats are allergic to catnip. And so, they advise that you observe your feline pet's first interaction with catnip. If they don't have a negative reaction, then it's all good!

On the other hand, there are fur parents who claim that a cat's allergy has nothing to do with catnip. One thing to be cautious of is catnip overdose, which can be harmful, especially if it leads to diarrhea and vomiting in your cats.

What Can You Do For A Sneezing Cat?

Poor sick kitten with an infection and discharge

To ease your cat's sneezing discomfort, here are home remedies for you to try:

  • Set up a steamy bathroom for your cat.
  • Add apple cider vinegar to your cat's diet.
  • Clean their nose with a cloth or some cotton soaked in lukewarm water.

We have also listed below tips that can help you combat allergies and mitigate dust:

  • Establish cleaning routines like vacuum cleaning, changing your sheets often, getting rid of clutter, etc.
  • Stop using air fresheners, scented laundry detergents, and perfumes.
  • Stop smoking inside the house.
  • Be careful with any disinfectants you use at home.
  • Thoroughly rinse your kitty's litter box.
  • Check your kitty's litter. 

Can I Give My Cat Benadryl For Sneezing?

Yes, you can give Benadryl to your cat. It's approved by animal health experts, and it can relieve your cat’s upper respiratory symptoms such as sneezing. However, to prevent overdose, it’s important to adhere to the dosage carefully.

The preferred dose is 1 mg of Benadryl per pound of your cat’s weight every 8 to 12 hours. You can go the route of liquid (like the children’s liquid) or the liquid Benadryl recommended by your veterinarian.

Though this antihistamine is generally safe for felines, it could be harmful only to those with certain health conditions. They should not be given Benadryl to avoid adverse reactions.

An overdose of Benadryl for cats is also as harmful—it can cause serious side effects or even death. Thus, if you have concerns or doubts about giving your cat Benadryl, consulting your veterinarian is the best thing to do.

Why Does My Cat Sneeze Multiple Times In A Row?

A cat’s sneeze is undeniably one of the cutest sounds you’ll ever hear. But if your pet’s sneezing is recurring, it could be an indication of a larger problem.

Here are possible reasons for your cat’s repetitive sneezing:


Your cat may have allergies and bacterial infections that may have contributed to inflammation. That's why as a fur parent, it’s important to know the allergens and how to keep your cats away from them.

Though there are home remedies that can ease your pet’s inflammation, you can visit your vet to further understand your cat’s conditions.

Foreign Matter

Usually, small particles that are inhaled by your cat can be quickly removed by sneezing. However, larger objects may accidentally get stuck. The cat will continue to sneeze and dislodge the foreign body. If there’s something still stuck in your cat’s nose, let a veterinarian take care of it.

Aside from inflammation and foreign materials, there are other reasons that may cause repetitive sneezing. But these things are accompanied by different symptoms that may be far more alarming. Keep reading below to learn more about the details.

When Should I Worry About My Cat Sneezing?

A random sneeze from your cat is normal and is not a real cause for alarm. But if your cat sneezes from time to time, or other symptoms are evident along with sneezing, you may need to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Watch out for these potential health implications of sneezing and signs that it's time to make an appointment with your veterinarian:

1. Upper Respiratory Infections

Synonymous with "common cold" or "cat flu," though less common, URIs in cats can be bacterial, viral, or even fungal.

  • Symptoms: continuous sneezing for several hours or days, discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy or fever, recurrent coughing or swallowing, dehydration and/or decrease of appetite.

2. Nasal And Sinus Problems

These health concerns refer to inflammatory conditions like rhinitis and sinusitis. In cats, these two conditions often occur together, termed as "rhinosinusitis," which is a common upper respiratory complication.

  • Symptoms: pawing at the face, discharge from the eyes, nasal discharge, difficulty in breathing, a lump on the bridge of the nose and reverse sneezing.

3. Chronic Upper Respiratory Conditions

These conditions could also be the causes of continuous sneezing in cats, chronic rhinitis being the most common.

  • Symptoms: discharge from one or both eyes, sneezing fits, nasal congestion, runny nose, yellow nasal discharge, difficulty swallowing, drooling and loss of apetite.

Aside from the health implications above, there remain a number of probable conditions that aren't discussed here in detail. One is feline leukemia. Sneezing could also be an early sign of this fatal disease.

As such, it's critical to monitor your cat's health from time to time. If you think their symptoms are alarming and difficult to diagnose, you should have them checked up by a veterinarian as early as possible to keep away from more serious health problems.

Sneezing cat close-up. A cat's head with an open mouth and visible teeth. Does Catnip Make Cats Sneeze

In Closing

Catnip, especially dried, can make your cat sneeze. It’s either a nose tickle or dried catnip stuck in their nasal passage that causes them to sneeze.

Other environmental factors like dust, mold, and scented products may also trigger your cat's innate sneezing reflex.

If you want to learn more about catnip and catnip alternatives, check out these posts:

3 Catnip Alternatives To Consider

Is Catnip Essential Oil Safe For Cats?

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