cat up close.

Our team at Parkside Animal Hospital is quite familiar with stuffy kitties. Clients commonly bring in their pet because their cat has a runny nose, irritated eyes, or seems congested. Nasal infections and sinus issues are a common feline issue, and we hope to help you understand better what causes this and how to help.

Understanding Cat Sinus Infection Symptoms

The sinuses and nasal passages of any living thing, be it feline or otherwise, are very important to filtering debris and pathogens from our airways. These air-filled cavities in the head and nasal passages have a delicate lining that can become irritated, inflamed, or even infected. 

Cat sinus infection symptoms are very similar to those we might experience with a similar problem. Lethargy, stuffy nose, pain, nasal drainage, and watery eyes are common. Affected cats may not feel like eating and can even run a fever. 

The most common cause of sinus and nasal infections in cats is the viral disease feline herpesvirus (FHV).

Feline herpesvirus causes upper respiratory infections in cats that can secondarily cause a sinus infection. It can be transmitted from cat to cat through direct contact, secretions, or contaminated items in the environment.

It is also important to note that after an infection FHV remains latent in the body and can show up again at a later date, especially if the pet is stressed or otherwise ill. This means that even cats who have no recent exposure to other cats can develop an active FHV infection.

Other common causes of sinus infection symptoms in cats can include: 

  • Bacterial infection
  • Fungal infection
  • Allergies and other irritants
  • Nasal mite infection
  • Nasopharyngeal polyps
  • Foreign objects
  • Neoplastic growths
  • Dental problems

What to Do If Your Cat Has a Runny Nose

If your cat has sinus infection symptoms, it is only natural to want to try and help. There are certainly a few things you can do at home to try to make your kitty more comfortable. 

Using a humidifier and/or letting your pet rest in a steamy bathroom can help to clear the airways. Never use human products like decongestants or Vick’s Vaporub as these can be toxic to cats.

Sometimes cats who are not feeling like eating will appreciate a bit of warmed up, stinky canned cat food so that they can taste with their congestion as well. Be sure to gently clean dried ocular and nasal discharge with a soft cloth. 

If your cat has sinus infection symptoms, though, it is likely best to contact us for an appointment. Sinus infections can be painful and quite debilitating, and we want to help  your pet feel better as soon as possible.