Does Your Cat Meow When You Sneeze?

Because Zooey does!

Every time I sneeze (which isn’t terribly often, unless it’s allergy season!) Zooey comes running from whatever room in the house she was in, and meows at me.  My mom’s cat, her Cousin Squash, does the same thing!  Is this something YOUR cats do?

Out of curiosity, I decided to google it, and see what I could find out.

In fact, I found out that this is not an unusual occurrence!   The majority of the sites I found said the reason it happens is because the sound of a human sneeze closely resembles the sound of a cat hissing or “spitting,” and they meow in response to what they view as aggression. (Check out this forum here)

But…that really doesn’t seem to match up with Zooey’s reaction.  First of all, honesty time – I’ve hissed at my cats – sometimes the only way to get an unruly kitty to listen is to BECOME alpha kitty… and they don’t react at all the same as when I sneeze. Usually they hiss back, arch their backs and turn into a Halloween Kitty, or just crouch and glare at me from underneath the couch.

Second of all, Zooey is a talker, and she has very distinct meows.  In fact, a lot of the time she sounds mad even when she’s not.  Whenever you pick her up, for instance, it sounds a bit like you’re torturing her, even though she’s purring and trying to lick your hair.  She has meows with more than one syllable, chattering meows, baby tiny squeaks that barely even count as meows, demanding meows that sound like she’s yelling at you, sometimes her meows go up at the end like she’s asking a question (usually when she enters a room), and there are times when I swear she even mimics the sound of your voice when you’re talking to her.  But the point is, with such a variety of ways that she uses to express herself, it’s usually pretty clear what she’s trying to communicate to you. And when I sneeze, it’s never a “You’re trying to attack me so I’m defending myself” meow – it honestly sounds more like a meow of concern!

So I did some more searching, and came across this answer, which seemed a bit more fitting – it says that the reasons cats meow when you sneeze is because they’re surprised, since sneezes come on so fast they’re not an anticipated behavior.

Maybe so…but even after my research…I’m still inclined to believe they’re saying “Bless You!”


13 responses

  1. My cat comes running when I pull out my yoga mat. It is rolled up, and I kind of shake it out, and it makes a whoosh sound. She could be asleep in the other room, but she comes running, and plops in the middle, belly up waiting for petting.

  2. I know this is an old post, but when my fiancé or I sneeze, only one of my cats pays it any mind and she does a little chattering meow or a bunch of tiny squeaky meows after we sneeze. It’s pretty adorable. XD

    • Out of the 20+ cats I’ve owned in my lifetime, only two react to sneezing. The last one, a very young male, does little soft meows that go up in lenght and intensity. Only one sneeze doesn’t do it, it’s when I sneeze more times he goes bonkers!

  3. I’ve just googled this as my cat meows every time I sneeze. I definitely don’t think it’s an aggressive meow but I wonder if it hurts their ears? He does exactly the same when I am wrapping presents and the sellotape pulling noise…. He meows loads to that… Anyone else have this too???

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  8. My cat Big Chief does the same thing. I searched google looking for a reason he might be doing it and its neat to find out he isnt the only one. He can even be sound asleep and if I sneeze he will let out this strange meow.

  9. I am so glad you posted this !! I just was having a browse on google to see why My cat does it. I have three and only one of them does this. When I searched, It came up saying that it hurts the cats ears or that they see it as hissing. But like your little one, mine just seems to come over to check if I’m alright. He doesn’t make this sound at anything… Silent with bugs, Silent when he is hungry. He doesn’t look distressed or hurt he does a slow high pitched moew that has that slight purring sound within it ( sounds like the end of a question. Then comes to sit on my lap and purrs. Then buggers off when he realises I’m not dying…. I agree with you and I think he is saying “Bless you”. Or ” For god sake… fine I will give you attention” “P.s can I eat you if you die?”

  10. My Fizzy will meow at me when I sneeze every time, half the time when my daughter sneezes but not when my husband sneezes. She has meowed in her sleep when I sneeze ( but no one else) or will wake out of a dead sleep and run to me meowing as if to say “Is everything aright mom?” jump in my lap and want reassured. It is so much like concern that I often pet her and say thank you Fizz, I am ok”

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