Chronic rhinitis is a term that means chronic (over 30 days is deemed chronic) inflammation of the nose. The main causes of chronic nasal discharge in cats are viral, bacterial or fungal infections, cancer and also inflammatory disease. Please see the information page here.
Chronic rhinitis is a term that is often used to describe cats with long (many years) intermittent nasal discharge and sneezing.
This is suspected to occur when cats have had previous infections with cat flu (e.g. herpes virus) that causes damage to the delicate tissues inside the nose. The nasal cavity has a very complex immune system and this damage affects the immune defences of the nose, causing ongoing and intermittent infections with bacteria. Over time bacterial infections penetrate deep into the bones of the nose and also the sinuses, making it very difficult to clear infections.