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Dr. John
Dr. John, Small animal veterinarian, ER vet
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1205
Experience:  significant surgical and medicine background, currently working as emergency clinic veterinarian
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Hello, my cat has been "puffing" - short quick puffs out of

Resolved Question:

Hello, my cat has been "puffing" - short quick puffs out of the nose, usually three in succession. Sometimes it's a couple quick and more forceful sneeze. it happens very sporadically- maybe a couple or three times a day, three quick puffs. I checked her eyes and nose for discharge and nothing. Her appetite, fur and energy levels are normal. However, she's also shaking her head like there's something in her ears but when I look I see nothing. Thoughts?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. John replied 5 years ago.

Dr. John :

Thank you for your question concerning Little Girl. How long has this been going on for?

Customer: A couple weeks :)
Dr. John :

Okay, so the main symptoms include head shaking as if an ear is bothering her and some sneezing, correct? No other symptoms?

Customer: No other symptoms
Dr. John :

Any other cats? Is Little Girl up to date on vaccines?

Customer: Yes one other cat, her brother since birth. She hasnt been vaccinated for a while. She's been pretty healthy
Dr. John :

Okay, indoor exclusively?

Customer: indoor, yes! Never been outside :)
Dr. John :

Okay sounds good - :-)

Dr. John :

So I have 2 thoughts for you and recommendations on how to proceed

Customer: Excellent
Dr. John :

This best fits with a nasopharyngeal polyp. This is a benign growth cats can get inside of the eustachian tube - because usually involves both an ear and the nasal cavity simultaneously, this best fits with what you are describing

Customer: Ohh yes ok
Dr. John :

To evaluate for this, she will need a detailed ear exam with an otoscope (can look in much further than with the naked eye, and provides light)

Dr. John :

If a polyp is there, this will help detect it. Sometimes advanced imaging is necessary but usually not the case

Customer: Ok, sounds like she's headed for the vet :)
Dr. John :

Two less likely options include:

Customer: Ok
Dr. John :

upper respiratory virus and simultaneous ear infection (upper respiratory viruses are very common in cats and can cause a variety of symptoms such as sneezing, fever, eye discharge, nose discharge, etc - any combination of these)

Customer: Ok
Dr. John :

Because we would need two different illnesses here, this is a lot less likely

Dr. John :

Third would be something uncommon such as nasal mites - already uncommon and would be hard to explain if she is indoor only, etc

Customer: Right. Besides the sneezing, she doesn't have the other symptoms.
Dr. John :

So the first step is a thorough examination of her ear canals to look for a polyp!

Customer: Ok! We'll get her in! I really appreciate it!
Dr. John :

Absolutely, let me send you an article on the polyps as well!

Dr. John :

Let me know if you have any further questions, good luck with Little Girl!

Dr. John :

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Customer: Thanks!
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