Right now there is a mean heat wave hitting Europe and Italy where we live, so we have had to use the airconditioner quite often. This has unfortunately led to both me and my fiancé picking up a cold, which means a lot of sneezing. And Freja is non to happy about that.
In fact, she seems to hate it, meowing aggressively almost every time one of us sneezes. If we keep sneezing she might get so offended that she walks away!
This is not a universal cat pet peeve as our cat Thor, doesn’t react in the slightest when either of us sneezes. A quick search online revealed that there are plenty of other cat owners who have cats that exhibit a similar hate towards their humans sneezing however.
It is difficult to get an exact answer since we can’t ask Freja directly why she reacts the way she does, but we can infer a few things based on feline behavior and off of her reaction.
A cat may get mad when you sneeze because they perceive the noise to be aggressive or threatening. They might think you are scolding them, and as such want to protest this grave injustice, or they might simply be telling you that you should stop with these sudden loud noises, since that is something most cats really do hate.
Other cat owners have written that their cats react with a submissive or almost scared meow to their owners sneeze. Since cats can perceive the meaning of the sounds differently, and humans also sneeze differently, we can theorize that some cats may simply be asking their owner if they are okay, or might be sad because they think they are getting scolded.
But to summarize the most likely reason is that cats are creatures of habit and don’t like loud, sudden noises and or that they may perceive the sneeze as being a form of aggressive behavior / scolding from their owner.