If you’ve ever been around a cat when you start to cough, you’ll know what I mean when I say that cats can be incredibly distracting at times, even if they don’t mean to be.
Cats are naturally very curious animals and once they see something moving or hear something that stands out to them, they will want to go and explore it immediately with meows. Here are the reasons they meow when someone coughs.
When I Cough My Cat Meows
A question we get a lot about cats is, “When I cough my cat meows. Why does this happen?” We will explain the 8 reasons why cats meow when you cough.
The answer to this is pretty straightforward. Your cat has learned that when you cough, it will call out in response. When you’re finished coughing, your cat knows that it’ll probably get rewarded for its effort-and if not then, well, it’s still nice to have your attention. And so the cycle continues.
8 Reasons Why Cats Meow When You Cough
1. They Are Freaked Out
One of my cats will meow when I cough because she is freaked out. There is no doubt about it, she just starts freaking out for a moment and then goes back to what she was doing.
As much as I want to comfort her and tell her that it’s okay, in reality, I don’t think there is anything I can do to make her feel better other than just not making that terrible noise again.
It doesn’t last long, though, and soon enough we are both back at it with our normal lives.
It might be a small thing, but I think it’s good for cats to know that sometimes bad things happen; maybe next time they will be more prepared when something unexpected happens, like my coughing fits!
2. They Want Attention
Your cat needs your attention, and when you get sick, it is a great time to pay attention to them. Get in some extra petting time with your cat during those times when you are under the weather.
Your cat will appreciate all of that love, and you will be grateful for having something pleasant to focus on other than your cold or flu symptoms.
As far as your cat is concerned, being sick gives them a chance to get affection from their favorite person (you!).
3. They Are Trying to Figure Something Out
A study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science found that cats do, indeed, respond to human coughs. While it’s not yet clear why they do it, several theories suggest that your cat could be attempting to decipher what you are doing.
The study noted that cats are particularly drawn to high-pitched noises-which is consistent with human coughs.
Further research on similar animals will be needed before scientists can fully understand why cats react when humans cough.
If your cat starts meowing from across the room after you cough or sneeze, it’s a mere reflex action.
It could also just mean that they want attention and a nice scratch behind their ears.
Either way, your feline friend wants some action! So give them a pat; I promise they’ll enjoy it! If a quick pet isn’t enough for them and they continue to meow as if asking for more attention, then go ahead and give them more scritches!
They won’t bite! Okay well maybe but most likely not…what I’m trying to say is: just give them some love back because seriously who doesn’t love cuddles?
4. They Are Just So Excited to See You
Many people have often heard that a cat’s meow is a form of communication between cats. It is true, but there are many forms of communication in cats.
For example, when you hear a cat meow at you, and it sounds more like mrooooowwww? This usually means they want something or are telling you that they want something or need something.
For example, your cat might be meowing because he needs to go outside. And if you aren’t sure what they require, just watch their body language and facial expressions to figure out exactly what it is they are trying to communicate with those cute little noises! Sometimes we can even understand them!
5. They Are Giving You Life Advice
The first time I had a cough that didn’t go away, my cat came over and laid across my feet. I thought it was cute at first, but then realized she hadn’t moved for days when I woke up.
She wasn’t there to help me with my cough; she was letting me know that something was seriously wrong and I needed to see a doctor. If you have a cat, pay attention if they meow more than usual when you are coughing-it might save your life!
6. They Are Jealous
While you may be concerned about your own health when you cough, your cat is actually worried about herself. It’s been observed that cats will meow whenever they hear a loud sound because they think it’s the coughing.
If they are able to determine that it isn’t them and that you have a cold or throat infection, they’ll make sure to let you know, so they can put some distance between themselves and whatever is causing your symptoms.
Since cats are very territorial creatures, it makes sense that they would want to keep their territory safe from other illnesses in case one of their humans gets sick.
7. They Cannot Understand What Is Happening and Need Information
You’re not just making a sound when you cough. Your body is attempting to push something up and out. In some cases, that something is very important, such as a piece of food or even a small object like marble or a large drop of water.
If your cat catches sight of you hacking and gasping, it could react with fear and concern because there appears to be something moving up from inside your throat toward your mouth. At least by meowing, it might get more information about what’s happening and be able to help in some way!
8. There Might Be Something Seriously Wrong
While cats might not always pay close attention to our coughs, there are certainly times when their meow-meowing should be cause for concern.
If you’re wheezing or have sharp pains in your chest along with a persistent cough, it could mean that you’re suffering from asthma or bronchitis. In either case, contact your doctor as soon as possible for a treatment-your cat isn’t going to call an ambulance for you.
When I cough my cat meows. Why? While there are many reasons your cat may meow when you cough, hopefully after reading through these common theories and explanations you have a better understanding of why your cat is meowing.
If your cat is still coughing and meowing, don’t worry! Speak with a veterinarian to determine whether it’s something more serious like asthma or lung cancer.
Check out this cute video showing a cat meowing as its owner coughs and sneezes! Super cute!