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Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sneeze? Here’s What You Need to Know

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If there is something that can irritate your nose, it is likely that it can make you sneeze. But sneezing also happens when your body wants to expel unwanted germs.

However, it is one of the things that you can’t stop. And if you have ever sneezed near your cat, you might have noticed that they act pretty weird after that. While some cats may react with some strange behavior, others may not respond at all.

Likewise, your cat could even meow back at you, which is common in cats. And if you have found yourself asking the question “why does my cat meow when I sneeze?,” then look no further, in this post I run through the possible reasons for this behavior.

Let’s find out the answer!

why does my cat meow when i sneeze

Why Do Cats Act So Weird After You Sneeze?

As a cat parent, you probably spend a lot of time wondering what will make your cat feel comfortable, but you may also consider what your cat hates.

If there’s something that every cat absolutely detests, it is the loud noises. Felines don’t like loud sounds, doesn’t matter where it’s coming from. Similar to how humans have some degree of normal fear when they hear loud, sudden, or strange sounds. In simple words, it is just a part of our survival instinct.

On the other hand, some kitties are extremely sensitive to sounds and might display exaggerated responses to certain unanticipated noises, such as when sneezing.

why do cats act so weird after you sneeze

And when you let out a huge sneeze near a kitty, the tiny muscles in the feline’s middle ear contract to lessen sound transmission and protect the delicate inner ear.

Moreover, if your cat jumps in fear when you sneeze, this could be because the sneeze reminds her of any negative experience that she has had in her early life as a kitten, it could be something traumatic.

Why Does My Cat Attack Me After I Sneeze?

You might have noticed that your cat randomly comes running to you when you sneeze. Other than that, your cat might even attack you, which is something really strange.

Your cat might not even know what a human sneeze sounds like, and following this, she might attack you. But your cat might be playful while doing this, or she might be a little more aggressive, depending on the type of your cat’s personality.

Suppose, if you have a cat who is good at hunting, then she might bite or scratch you more violently compared to a cat who is just trying to be playful.

why does my cat attack me after i sneeze

Likewise, if this aggression starts to become a habit and a normal response from your cat, you should consult your vet about it.

Now, let’s look at the reasons why your cat meows when you sneeze.

Reasons Why Cats Meow After You Sneeze

From time to time, many cat owners have discovered that in response to this uncontrollable expulsion of air (sneezing), their cat acted a little strange. And one of the most common responses from cats to sneezing is meowing.

This curious and strange behavior of cats leaves the cat owners wondering what their cat is trying to communicate. And the better you can understand your cat’s curious behavior, the better you can communicate with her and ensure she is living a happy life.

Your Cat Might Be Frightened

Just like me, almost everyone is familiar with the cat’s classic meowing call. Kittens learn to meow from their mother, and they meow to communicate with her. But when they get older, they no longer meow to each other to communicate, but instead, they communicate through scent and other vocalizations.

But as for a cat meowing when you sneeze, the answer to that behavior might be a little difficult to put your finger on. We can only speculate as to why the cat meows when we sneeze.

cat frightened from sneezing

One of the common reasons could be that your cat is startled by the sneezing sound. While everyone’s sneezing sounds are different, some sneeze like mountains whereas others’ sneeze sounds gentle.

However, any sort of sneeze could startle a cat, as they have highly sensitive ears. While sneezing sounds are not scary to humans, they can be frightening to cats.

She Is Irritated

Cats don’t have any issues telling their owners that they’re bothered or annoyed. Maybe you caressed them the wrong way, or aren’t giving them the food that they want to eat, or they’ve had enough of play time — apart from these reasons, seeing can also irritate these little furballs.

If your cat is annoyed — with a sneeze or without it — you will likely come to know quite promptly. Moreover, felines can express the annoyance in many different ways, and one of which is by meowing at their owners.

cat irritated from sneezing

So, if you sneeze and your cat meows, then it could just be her way of showing disapproval or annoyance for your sneezing behavior. But luckily, a human sneeze is not likely to cause much disruption or upset a cat that they would hold a grudge.

After some time, your cat will return to her happy mood and stop being irritated with you as a cat parent. And she will continue with whatever she was doing before and soon forget that you have annoyed her.

She Probably Thought You Were Hissing

While meowing is one of the many noises that cats can make, another noise you might hear coming out of your cat’s mouth is a hiss, which sounds similar to the noise made by a snake. And this sound is usually reserved for when a cat feels threatened or when a cat is upset about something.

cat confusing sneeze for a hiss

On the other hand, to cats, a human sneeze may sound pretty much a lot like a hissing noise. As a result, your cat might meow or hiss back in response to a sneeze. And therefore, your cat meows after you sneeze to understand what is wrong and why would you express such a grievance with her.

They Are Copying You

The reason behind your cat meowing after you sneeze could also be that she is imitating you. As a matter of fact, felines are curious and smart animals. Though they can’t entirely speak words like us, they can pick up on human behaviors and try to imitate them.

Moreover, chances are that your cat has learned that people say “bless you” after one sneeze, and she has also learned the same by meowing.

cat is copying your sneeze

Apart from that, there have been studies regarding this behavior in cats, about how cats like to imitate their owners. One experiment discovered that a Japanese cat called Ebisu, imitated her owner when touching her paw and/or face to a box for more than 80% of the time. Still and all, there are discussions among scientists over whether this is really a cat imitating behavior or not.[1]

So, if your kitty meows after you sneeze, chances are that she is trying to say “bless you,” or simply copy your “achoo.”

Other Behaviors of Cats When You Sneeze

Other than getting frightened, irritated, or copying your sneeze, some cats might also exhibit other sorts of strange behaviors. Some of them can include your cat running away from you or even your cat running to you.

Why Does My Cat Run Away When I Sneeze

Your cat probably scared the cat, and she ran away. In fact, your cat might even be sleeping, and your sneeze disturbed her peacetime. After that, your cat might go look for another room to sleep or rest, as cats prefer quiet surroundings.

Why Does My Cat Chirp At Me When I Sneeze

You might have probably seen that chirpy little vocalization cats make when they see a squirrel or bird outside the window. Likewise, some cats also use this chirping in response to human sneezes.

Why Does My Cat Run To Me When I Sneeze

Or your cat might come running to you instead. In fact, your cat may not even know what the sound of a sneeze human is like, but she may think that you’re hurt and come running to you. Since your cat cares about you, she might want to make sure you are doing alright.

Why Cats Hate When You Sneeze

Cats are not a big fan of loud noises. Felines are sensitive to noise and may display agitation and/or exaggerated responses to certain sounds like sneezing. Here are the possible reasons why your cat hates sneezing.

  1. Your cat gets frightened from sneeze
  2. You wake her up from a nap
  3. It was a loud sneeze
  4. She thinks you are hurt
  5. Your cat doesn’t know what a sneeze is
Why Cats Hate When You Sneeze

Moreover, your cat might also show flattened “airplane ears” with disgust or change positions into passive-aggressive behavior.

Final Thoughts

So, why does my cat meow when I sneeze? The reasons could vary from anything like your cat might be surprised, or she is trying to say “bless you.”

Ultimately, now you know that cats are very responsive creatures, and anything with a loud sound is enough to get a reaction out of them, even if it is a sneeze.

Whatever the case, if your cat doesn’t seem to be happy about you sneezing around her, don’t worry, just try to limit it. This will help keep you and your cat both happy!


  1. Cat imitation behavior — Science

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