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Have you ever seen your cat suddenly stand still, stretch its head forward, and make weird snorting sounds? That’s what we call reverse sneezing in cats. It might look a bit odd, but don’t worry; it’s usually not a big deal.

When cats normally sneeze, they push air out to get rid of irritating stuff. In reverse sneezing, it’s the opposite – they quickly suck air in to clear out the annoying things. Sometimes, it seems like they’re having a seizure, but these episodes only last about a minute, and your cat goes back to normal after making those snorting noises.

Reverse sneezing happens when your cat’s nose or throat is irritated. This irritation leads to a temporary throat squeeze, making your cat snort or make honking sounds. It might sound a bit complicated, but don’t worry; it’s usually harmless, and your cat should be okay in no time. In this article, we’ll explore why cats do this and what you can do to help them out. Let’s keep it simple and make sure your cat stays happy and healthy.

Cat Backwards Sneeze

Your cat, the expert in the art of mysterious behaviors, might sometimes surprise you with what seems like a peculiar reverse sneeze. It’s not a regular sneeze, and it’s definitely not a backward one; it’s a quirky behavior that can leave cat owners scratching their heads. Let’s dive into the fascinating world of cat backward sneeze and demystify what causes this peculiar phenomenon.

What Causes Reverse Sneezing in Cats?

Your feline friend could be reverse sneezing for various reasons, and it’s essential to understand the triggers. From allergies and respiratory infections to dental issues and even excitement, the list is as diverse as your cat’s interests.

  • Allergies: Cats, like humans, can develop allergies to pollens, dust, mold, or certain foods. The immune system reacts, causing symptoms such as itching, sneezing, coughing, vomiting, and diarrhea. Treatment may involve special diets, medications, or allergy shots.
  • Respiratory Infections: Infections affecting the nasal or upper respiratory areas can lead to reverse sneezing. Look for symptoms like thick discharge from the eyes or nose. These infections can be viral, bacterial, or fungal in nature.
  • Foreign Bodies: Cats may accidentally inhale or ingest small objects like grass or seeds, leading to irritation and sneezing. Removal of the foreign body is necessary, and antibiotics may be required to treat any resulting infections.
  • Dental Issues: Tooth infections can cause bacteria to enter the sinuses, resulting in inflammation and sneezing. Dental care is crucial for overall health and can prevent such issues.
  • Excitement: Overexcitement, sudden temperature changes, or rapid eating/drinking may induce sneezing. Understanding your cat’s triggers can help you manage these episodes effectively.
  • Upper Airway Abnormalities: Conditions like Brachycephalic airway syndrome or an extended soft palate can contribute to reverse sneezing. Breeds with flat faces may be more prone to these issues.
  • Lower Respiratory Tract Infections: Bacterial, fungal, parasitic, or viral infections affecting the lower respiratory tract may cause coughing and sneezing. Feline asthma, a respiratory condition, can also lead to these symptoms.
  • Feline Virus: This virus can cause upper respiratory symptoms, eye soreness, and fever. It often leads to lifelong infection in affected cats.
  • Nasal Growth: Growth in the nasal cavity may resemble symptoms of an upper respiratory infection, including sneezing. Surgical intervention may be necessary to address nasal polyps.

Understanding The Sound of Reverse Sneezing in Cats

If your cat suddenly makes weird noises, like a combination of wheezing, snorting, and choking. It may seem like they’re in distress, but fear not. The soft palate, located at the back of your cat’s mouth, is responsible for these unusual sounds during a reverse sneeze. It’s a temporary spasm that creates a symphony of odd noises resembling everything from a honk to a snort.

Deciphering the Strange Symphony

If your cat’s making a noise like something is stuck in their throat or experiencing what seems like a cat blowing air out of nose, it’s likely a reverse sneeze. The key is to differentiate it from more serious issues. These episodes usually last a few seconds, and your cat should swiftly return to their normal self. However, if you notice prolonged choking sounds, it’s wise to consult your vet.

How do you help your cat while reverse sneezing?

Seeing your cat in the midst of a reverse sneeze might leave you feeling a bit helpless, but fear not – there are ways you can lend a helping hand.

Comforting Your Feline Friend

During a reverse sneeze, your cat may adopt a distinct posture – standing still, eyes closed, and neck stretched. Instead of panicking, offer a calming presence. Gently stroke your cat or speak to them soothingly. The episode typically passes quickly, and your cat should resume their usual activities.

Monitoring and Seeking Help

If your cat’s reverse sneezing becomes frequent or seems unusually prolonged, it’s advisable to consult your veterinarian. They can help determine if there’s an underlying issue, provide guidance on managing allergies, or suggest interventions if needed.

In the mysterious world of reverse sneezing in cats, understanding the triggers, sounds, and supportive measures ensures a harmonious relationship with your feline companion. Embrace the quirks, decode the language, and cherish the unique bond you share with your mysterious but lovable cat.


In summary, when your cat does that backward sneezing thing, making odd sounds like wheezing or snorting, don’t get too worried. It’s usually no big deal. These sounds happen because of a quick throat spasm, kind of like a funny symphony of honks and snorts.

If your cat sounds like something is stuck in their throat or keeps gagging, relax – it’s probably just part of this quirky behavior. The episodes don’t last long, and your cat returns to normal afterward. But if it happens a lot or seems too long, it’s a good idea to check with the vet.

Understanding these cat antics, like weird noises and a bit of wheezing, lets you connect better with your feline buddy. Embrace these quirks, give comfort during these moments, and cherish the unique bond with your mysterious but adorable cat. So, the next time your cat does that wheezing sound or makes strange noises, remember, it’s just another charming side of your furry friend.

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