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Home > General > Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sneeze? 5 Possible Reasons

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sneeze? 5 Possible Reasons

excited cat chattering or meowing with mouth open looking up

Cats often misconstrue their owners’ intentions and like to make a dramatic scene to show their distaste in their humans’ actions. This is often the case when you sneeze.

Many cat owners find themselves wondering, “Why does my cat meow when I sneeze?” It is likely a response to annoyance and requesting an explanation as to why you interrupted their nap with that annoying sound.

However, becoming startled by the sneeze is the generous reasoning behind the meow. Cats’ response to your sneeze may also be a reaction of annoyance or even mistaking your sneeze for a hiss.

Furthermore, they could simply be making fun of you and mimicking the strange noise you just made.

white fluffy cat with multicolored eyes sitting and meows
Image Credit: Helen Bloom, Shutterstock
Why Do Cats Meow When You Sneeze?

5 Possible Reasons Why Your Cat Meows When You Sneeze

While the most likely reason cats meow when you sneeze is to show their annoyance, there are other reasons they may meow.

As previously mentioned, cats can have multiple reactions to a sneeze, and these reactions have more depth than you may have thought.

1. They Are Showing Annoyance

There is no easy way to put it; cats can be jerks. If you understand this and wonder why cats meow when you sneeze, you won’t be surprised to learn that your cat is most likely informing you that you are annoying.

That’s right if your cat meows when you sneeze, they’re telling you to be quiet because your sneezing is interrupting their peace.

Even though your cat likes to walk across the paperwork on your desk while you’re trying to work, and nudge itself into your spot when you’re trying to sleep, your sneezing is a far worse disruption in their minds.

While cats tend to disrupt you at the dinner table or while you are trying to finish your homework, it is far worse for you to disrupt their naptime with a startling sneeze. No one wants to have to deal with a cranky kitten, especially if they have all their claws.

2. Your Cat Is Mimicking You

Even though cats are considered jerks, they are intelligent creatures. They pay attention to their surroundings and learn the behaviors of other creatures they come in contact with or spend excessive amounts of time with.

This may very well be the reason your cat is meowing at you after you sneeze. When a cat learns your behavioural patterns, they begin to mimic them as a means to fit in or go along with whatever you are doing.

Therefore, when you sneeze, it is your cat’s natural reaction to contribute to the conversation by mimicking what you did or said by meowing back at you. This mimicking may also come in the form of chirping or a light hiss.

3. The Sneeze Was Startling

Sudden outbursts of loud, unexpected noises can become startling. This may be the reason your cat meows after you sneeze.

If the cat is relaxing or minding its own business and you can’t hold back your sneezing, resulting in a sudden burst of strange noise, your cat may become startled.

Their reaction to the startling noise may be a quick, soft meow as they are unsure how to initially respond.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Marlon Soares, Unsplash

Another way to look at it is when your sibling hides around the corner and jumps out to scare you. Your initial response and seemingly correct reaction is to scream. This is likely the response your cat is having to your sneeze.

4. Sneezing Is a Foreign Sound

As with any other sound they are not acclimated to, a sneeze can be a foreign sound to a cat. If your cat was a stray and isn’t used to being inside, or it is just a kitten, it may have never heard a sneeze before.

If this is the case, the sneeze intrigues them, and they want to know more. They ask for an explanation for the sound by meowing back at you.

Cats are known for their curiosity, which often gets them into more trouble than they bargained for. Fortunately, when your cat asks you about your sneeze, you can reassure them that it’s nothing to be concerned about and move on with your day.

5. They Are Responding to a Hiss

There are no better stories than the ones where someone mistakes a noise or a statement to mean something it’s not. For humans, this misunderstanding can be communicated effectively to determine a resolution and accurate understanding of the original noise or the statement.

For cats, a misunderstanding like this is blown way out of proportion, and it takes a lot of effort to come back to a middle ground. This may be the case when your cat meows after you sneeze.

Often, cats mistake the sneeze as a hiss, and their response is a meow questioning why you hissed in the first place.

This misunderstanding can easily be resolved by a pat on the head or some behind the ear scratches to let your ball of fluff know that you didn’t mean anything aggressive by the sneeze.

cat meowing
Image Credit: Stanimir G.Stoev, Shutterstock


Cats don’t typically enjoy loud or unexpected noises, which often results in a response. The only way to know for sure what your cat is trying to express is to observe them closely and have a firm understanding of your relationship.

If a cat is new to your home, their reaction to a sneeze may be one of startling confusion or seen as a threat. Or, if you have an older cat that has grown up around you, their response to a sneeze is likely a mimicking gesture or one of pure annoyance.

Whatever your cat’s reasoning for meowing at you after you sneeze, it is them continuing the conversation and acknowledging the noise you made.

Featured Image Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

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