Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sneeze? Top Reasons! (2024)


If you notice that your cat meows every time you sneeze, you may wonder if there is a reason for it. The answer to “why does my cat meow when I sneeze” varies based on the cat.

Cats are observant and sensitive. They could be meowing as a reaction to your sneeze to tell you that it scared them or that they didn’t like the sound.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other cat-related articles: Best Home Remedies For Vomiting Cat and What Over The Counter (OTC) Medicine For A Cat’s Upset Stomach?.

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Cough?


Despite being widely domesticated, cats have hunting instincts at their core. They, therefore, evolved highly sensitive ears to even the smallest noises. Faraway prey can be heard thanks to their sensitive ears.

In contrast, household cats, particularly smaller ones, can become prey for larger animals. Consequently, they respond quite quickly to situations that could be dangerous to them. When cats feel threatened, they will probably run away.

In cats, sneezes are a bit of an experience because their ears are sensitive, and they are prone to running away in frightening situations.

Your middle ear contracts when you sneeze. It protects their inner ear by reducing sound emissions.

It is important to note that cats perceive this phenomenon differently. People get excited and scared for different reasons.

As a result, cats have a variety of reactions whenever you sneeze. Despite some positive reactions, cats are generally scared by sneezes because they are often loud and sudden.

Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sniff?


There are many reasons why a cat may meow if it here’s a sniffing sound. It depends on the situation and other behaviors your cat may be exhibiting when you sneeze.

Sometimes it could be purely a coincidence, and other times it could be due to another reason. Some to consider include the following.

They Are Startled

A person usually lets out some noise when startled by something. The same can be said about cats. Their response to being scared is often to meow. Most humans are not frightened by sneezing, but cats are.

Cats need to live a simple and quiet life. Any event out of the ordinary tends to cause the body to respond by either running or fighting.

In particular, loud behavior, such as sneezing, is a concern. When you sneeze, cats get startled, letting out an exclamatory meow when they hear it for the first time.

Likely, your cat is not scared of you at all. When they heard you sneeze, they were surprised. Cats meow when they don’t anticipate your sneeze and don’t know what you will do.

They Are Aggravated By It


The cat is known for its sassy behavior and general annoyance. Cats quickly show you that they’re displeased when you mistreat them, disrupt their nap, or don’t give them enough snacks.

As is anger, a grunt or sound of disapproval is often used to demonstrate annoyance. In the same way, cats behave.

When they are annoyed, they sometimes meow. Although other cats can distinguish the sounds, they may sound similar to humans.

Your sneezes can disrupt the cat’s nap or relaxation time. Loud noises annoy them instead of startling them. In response, they meow to show their disapproval of your loud noises.

They Think It’s A Hiss

There may be a chance that your cat misinterprets your sneeze as a hiss. The cats respond by meowing or hissing back.

Your hissing probably wasn’t understood by them in the first place. When you sneeze, they meow to find out what you’re upset about and why you would feel the need to vent.

Your response is very similar to what you would do if you had an unforeseeable outburst from a close friend or family member.

They Try To Imitate The Sound


There is nothing better than a cat. The animals can pick up on patterns and responses in our behavior even though we cannot communicate with them.

Due to the fact that they live entirely within your house, they have time to pick up on small behaviors and responses, such as sneezing.

Cats appear to imitate human behavior in several studies. In other words, cats adapt human habits to become cat-like.

Numerous domesticated animals engage in this behavior with their owners, which is exciting.

Meowing after a sneeze might be your cat imitating you. Occasionally, cats will meow to imitate how people say “bless you” after sneezing.

As they cannot say actual words, they respond verbally after you sneeze, just like your children or partners do.

Why Is My Cat Making a Weird Sneeze Cough?


The same is true for humans; cats cough and sneeze occasionally. Some cats cough and sneeze due to a minor upper respiratory infection, but these infections usually clear up independently.

Body functions like sneezing allow us to expel irritants from our noses forcefully. It is not unusual to see other animals sneeze as well.

Cats sometimes need to sneeze to clear their nose, which isn’t a cause for concern. The sneezing, however, may indicate underlying disease if persistent or accompanied by other symptoms.

You should take your cat to the veterinarian if your cat is coughing or sneezing constantly. Find out why your cat coughs and sneezes, and learn how to relieve its symptoms.

A cat’s sneezing can be surprisingly hard to diagnose due to various factors. A veterinarian must confirm that your cat is sneezing before treating it.

Hiccups, gagging, reverse sneezing, wheezing, and retching can all be misinterpreted as sneezes, each having a separate cause.

Videotape how your cat sneezes to ensure your vet can confirm the sneeze is genuine.

The diversity of underlying causes of cat sneezing is another challenge in diagnosing cat sneezing. All sorts of infections, inflammations, dental conditions, cancers, and foreign materials can make a cat sneeze.

A cat usually has both of these conditions present at the same time, which further complicates matters. Sneezing in cats can be caused by several different factors.

Viral Respiratory Infections

A viral upper respiratory infection is generally the primary cause of sneezing cats. A cat’s herpesvirus infection is the most common. Some researchers say 80-90% of cats have herpesvirus infection.

Cats with the herpes virus usually experience sneezing, coughing, and watery eyes. A stress-related illness such as the feline herpes virus can exacerbate its symptoms.

Herpesvirus infection in cats can be treated with existing drugs, but it is a lifelong disease with no cure.

As well as the calicivirus, the fused virus roncoptrachinosis combo vaccine protects against influenza and other bacterial infections that can cause cat sneezing.

Bacterial Infections


Cats who suffer from upper respiratory infections usually have bacterial infections as a secondary cause. The color of your cat’s snot is unusually yellow or green if it emerges from its nose or eyes.

Bacteria rarely act alone in cats; they exploit damaged nasal passages that are normally protected from such attacks by respiratory viruses.

It is common for cats to suffer from bacterial infections in the nose caused by Bordetella, mycoplasma, and chlamydia.

Even if the cat’s breathing is not caused exclusively by these infections, antibiotics like doxycycline or azithromycin can significantly improve its health.

Future research may enable your vet to treat these infections more easily with new antibiotics.

Inflammation and Irritation

It is very common for cat sneezing to be caused by one or more diseases that cause irritation and inflammation in the nose. Inflammation can certainly be caused by the infections listed above, but so can most other causes.

A cat’s sneezing can be created by inflammation, creating a negative feedback loop in which the cat keeps sneezing long after the original issue has been resolved. Chronic rhinitis usually results from this condition.

Sneezing in cats is not easily diagnosed except by performing a nasal biopsy under anesthesia, which is an invasive procedure. Once all other causes have been eliminated, the inflammation usually remains the only culprit.

The treatment of nausea is reported to include steroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and drugs traditionally prescribed for nausea.

It is still early to tell whether immunotherapy can benefit sneezing cats.

Allergic rhinitis is uncommon in cats, though it is a common cause of inflammation.

Foreign Material


By inhaling grass blades, foxtails, etc., foreign matter naturally irritates the nasal passages.

As a cat inhales these intruders, it sneezes to expel them. Cats may be able to remove small objects with their sneezes, but larger objects are harder to remove.

If a cat is anesthetized, a camera is inserted into its nose, or a nasal flush is performed to remove material the cat could not sneeze away by forcing sterile saline through its nasal passages (under anesthesia).

Dental Disease

Sneezing in cats can be related to dental disease, which surprises many pet owners.

Several species have their upper jaw teeth roots right next to their nasal passages. Infection or severe inflammation can penetrate a tooth socket and nose barrier.

A cat’s sneeze reflex is triggered when food is inhaled into the nose.

In most cases, sneezing will cease once the dental disease is treated, either through extraction or filling the abnormal hole.

Dental disease in cats generally causes pain, so you should take your cat to the vet if you suspect he or she has it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my cat meow when I sing?

The cat either enjoys your singing, or really hates it and wants it to stop. It could also wonder why you are in pain and making pained noises.

Do cats like it when you talk to them?

Your cat doesn’t understand you, but it will try to imitate you. Engaging in meowing or talking is a good way to bond with your cat.

Do cats see you as a protector?

Cats don’t see you as a protector but rather as a cat that doesn’t know how to be a cat. They tend to try to protect you instead.

If you find this guide, “Why Does My Cat Meow When I Sneeze,” informative and helpful, you can check out these other cat-related articles from our team:

You can learn more about cats’ meowing by watching “Stop The Constant Meow: 6 Reasons Why Your Cat Over-Vocalizes” down below: