How can I stop my cat from sneezing every time he uses the litter box?

Original Question: Hi, Smithers my feline son, sneezes every time he uses the litter box. I have tried all kinds of "dust-free" options but they don’t live up to this claim. What could I try that is still economical, hygienic and easy to use that Smithers may not be allergic to? - Shonna

How can I stop my cat from sneezing every time he uses the litter box? Apr 14, 2018

Hi Shonna,

Thanks for your question. I love the name Smithers.

So this is one of those questions where I would ask you some questions if we were in an appointment room. I would want to know how long this has been going on and if there are other symptoms that Smithers is demonstrating. Believe it or not, I haven’t heard of this kind of scenario that often where a cat is sneezing only when using the litter box.

The most common reason why a cat sneezes is because they have an upper respiratory tract infection. In fact, when cats are allergic to something in the home, they often develop asthma and start coughing. It’s important that you confirm whether this is truly a sneeze or a cough. I recommend that you visit your veterinarian to rule out an upper respiratory tract infection and try to catch one of these episodes on video to show your veterinarian so that they can confirm if this is actually a sneeze and not a cough.

If this truly is a sneeze and it was only ever happening by the litter box, this would be the first case that I’ve ever heard of but it doesn’t mean that it’s not possible. To reiterate, confirm this with your veterinarian first. We should also consider that something other than the litter isn’t creating an irritation in Smithers’ sinuses. It may be that the litter box is down by the furnace that’s causing the irritation or something else in that area. You could consider moving the litter box to another location in the house. I would also have questions about when this began and whether there had been environmental changes such as a change in season and you turned on the furnace. Therefore it’s important to take into account other sources of irritation.

I hope that some of these suggestions help to point you in the right direction towards resolving this issue. Good luck.

Dr. Clayton Greenway

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