What it Means When Cats Sneeze, Purr, and Meow


Learn what it really means when your cat sneezes, meows, and purrs. Also, learn what it means when your cat hiccups and yawns.

Reasons that Cats Sneeze

If you own a cat, you have probably wondered why cats sneeze, purr, meow and do a host of other sometimes amusing behaviors. While there is rarely one easy answer about why a cat does a certain thing, there are some reasons that are more common than others. Let’s start with why cats sneeze and then move on to other behaviors.

Some of the possible reasons that cats sneeze are similar to reasons that people sneeze. Below are a few of the possibilities.

  • Allergies – Cats can have allergies to some things that bother many humans including dust, pollen and certain scents.
  • Feline Leukemia – Cats with feline leukemia have a compromised immune system which makes them more susceptible to infections, including those that could result in sneezing.
  • Feline Herpes – Feline herpes, also called FVH-1, can cause excessive sneezing in cats.
  • Sinus Infections – Cats with a compromised immune system are more prone to a sinus infection, but any cat can develop one.

What it Means When Cats Meow and Purr

One of the best parts of having a cat is hearing them purr or meow softly. But what does all that purring and meowing really mean?


Purring is most often associated with times when the cat is happy and content, such as when they are sitting in your lap. But cats also purr when they are frightened, in pain or even close to death.

Some animal experts think this is because purring is a way that cats try to comfort or calm themselves.

So purring can mean a number of things. You must take the situation into account when trying to determine the reason.


There are many types of meows, and each has a unique meaning. Below are a few examples.

  • Loud – If you leave the cat’s food bowl empty, this is the type of meowing you are likely to hear. Loud meowing can usually be interpreted to be a bit demanding.
  • Quiet – This type of meowing may mean that your cat wants some attention.
  • Howl –This type of meowing, obviously, indicates some type of distress. Your cat may be frightened or in pain. Never ignore this type of meowing. If your cat is acting like he or she is in pain, see a vet.

What it Means When Cats Yawn

The obvious answer to why your cat yawns would be because he or she is tired. While this is sometimes the case, yawning could also be a sign of boredom, stress or a way to show other cats – and maybe humans – that he or she is tired and wants to be left alone.

What it Means When Cats Hiccup

There are a number of reasons why cats might hiccup. It could be the result of allergies or digestive problems. If you notice that your hiccups after mealtime, try raising his or her food bowl so that the cat can eat without bending the neck so low. If hiccupping is excessive and lasts more than a couple of days, see your vet.

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