Tuesday, May 21, 2024

What Does It Mean When A Cat Hisses At You

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Does Your Cat Become Aggressive During Petting

Cat aggression during petting can be quite confusing for cat owners.

Initially the cat may solicit your touch and may purr or rub herself against you and then at some point during petting, the cat becomes agitated and lashes out.

Repetitive touching can quickly become an annoyance for cats. Dubbed the go-away bite by Veterinary Behaviorist, Dr. Debra Horowitz, what appears to be happening is that for a period of time the cat enjoys the interaction, but at some point the physical sensation of being stroked is no longer pleasant. The cat then endeavors to change the situation by presenting an aggressive outburst.

Understanding Cat Behavior And Knowing When To See Your Cats Veterinarian

If your cat makes odd noises ones they dont usually make that could be a sign you need to take them to the veterinarian. But there are other indications that your cat may not be feeling good.

Changes in affection Some cats who arent feeling well will suddenly become either more aloof or more affectionate than normal. This is a subtle sign of a problem, so pay close attention and have your pet checked out to be on the safe side.8

Open mouth Kittens and adult cats do not normally walk around with their mouths open. This usually means a cat is having some sort of problems breathing. If this happens to your pet, get them to the vet.9

Changes in feeding/drinking habits If your cat isnt eating or drinking as much as normal, this could be a sign that something is wrong. There could be a lot of reasons, such as kidney or dental issues. This is another case where you need to bring your pet to the veterinarians office.10

Aggression Due To Medical Issue

Aggression with a medical origin is also common.

Pain is the most sudden medical cause for sudden aggression, particularly in older cats or those who have always had a calm temperament. Arthritis, dental disease, trauma, and infections are just some of the conditions that can cause pain and subsequent aggression when a cat is touched or thinks he or she might be touched, in a painful area. In addition to pain, cognitive decline, a loss of normal sensory input, or neurological problems can all lead to aggression.

Petting In The Wrong Place

Even if our cat has not incurred an injury, it is possible they will hiss if you touch them in a certain place. They won’t necessarily be in pain, but may simply not want you to touch them in a particular area. All cats are individuals, but generally there are certain places you should pet a cat, at least at first.

Do not pet a cat on their belly unless you are sure they enjoy it. Most cats do not like their belly being touched as their underside is very vulnerable. However, some cats may simply not want you touching them on a particular place and will let you know with a hiss and even a scratch.

Cats don’t hiss at you for no reason. It will mean something has changed, whether in their environment or how we act to them. If you don’t have much experience, you will need to learn all you can about what a cat is trying to say to you so you can provide the care they need. Our video below on the different noises cats make will help you to do so:

If you want to read similar articles to My Cat is Hissing at Me All of a Sudden, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

What Do Their Different Meow Sounds Mean

Cat Hiss at Kittens: What Does It Mean?


Felines have a bunch of meow sounds, all of which vary in volume, length, and pitch. So, yes, for a first-time cat owner, its quite complicated. But, you should put some effort into getting to know what they all mean, so you can take the best possible care of them.

Generally speaking, unlikeable sounds are reserved for when your little one is annoyed or is demanding something. Likable meows are for when they are wanting attention or, more likely, food.

Although you can leave it there if you like, we strongly suggest you carry on to learn more about each meow. Otherwise, it will take you a lot longer to learn your cats rhythm.

Lets get into the details, shall we?


Feeling Anxious Or Scared

Another common cause of hissing in cats is anxiety or fear.

If your cat is afraid of something, she may start hissing often. For example, if you have a dog in your home that your cat is afraid of, even if she doesnt really have a reason to be afraid, she may hunker down and hiss. Cats who are hissing out of fear may press their ears flat back against their heads, puff up their tails, and keep their eyes extra-wide. These are all good ways to tell that fear is causing your cats hissing.

Anxiety is similar. If your cat is suddenly put into a new situation that makes her uncomfortable or anxious, she may start hissing and showing similar body language.

Hissing Is A Form Of Communication

When you’re extra stressed, you might yell, cry, or kick at the ground. If you feel threatened, you might call out for someone to help you. Cats can also feel stressed or threatened, but they don’t express themselves in the same way humans do. For cats, a hiss or even a growl is part of their communication style. You might think it’s the same as physically punching someonean act of anger. But often, it’s more of a warning and a way of saying, “Hey, I’m feeling uncomfortable and vulnerable, so give me some space.”

Of course, sometimes it can lead to cats fighting or to a scratch or a bite. In the beginning, it’s more of a request to give the cat some space. However, it’s definitely not something to ignore. If your cat hisses when you touch him, it might mean he’s in pain.1 It’s a good idea to visit your veterinarian if your cat’s personality suddenly changes.

What Does Aggression In Cats Look Like

Although owners often report a cat attacking out of nowhere, cats often exhibit subtle changes in body positioning before launching into an actual act of aggression. These postures may be a clue in pinpointing the trigger for the aggressive behavior, as well as a much-needed warning before future attacks.

Defensive postures are intended to make a cat look smaller and position herself in a protective manner. These postures may include: crouching, flattened ears, turning away from the person, hissing, swatting at you, raised hackles, or a tucked head. A defensive cat is often experiencing fear or anxiety about a situation that may or may not be apparent to you. You can be the recipient of fear-based aggression even if youre not the one causing the anxiety.

Offensive postures make a cat look big and intimidating. These postures include: stiffened legs

  • Hackles raised

  • Growling

  • Stiff tail

In either case, you want to avoid interacting with a cat exhibiting these postures as they are on the brink of moving on to the real damaging moves. A cat in attack mode can move with startling speed and aggression, and inflict extensive damage in a very swift period when the mouth and all four paws are engaged.

What Does My Cat Meow Mean


Meowing is a language that cats have inherited to communicate specifically to humans. They never meow at each other unless they are kittens and communicating with their mum. 

Kittens use their little noises to grab their mothers attention. While this stops when theyve grown, the meowing at you is really no different. Your little fuzzy friend needs you. They rely heavily on you. He/She knows that you, a human, cant pick up on any scent or body language so they meow to communicate with you. 

The specific meanings for each type of meow are so diverse . However, you will soon get to know what your cats meows, growls, and purrs mean the more you listen.


She Wants To Be Left Alone

Another common reason that cats hiss is to tell you that they want to be left alone. Many cats aren’t naturally affectionate or cuddly, preferring to be left to their own devices, and may hiss at people who insisted on petting them. This type of hissing may be especially common in households where there are children who want to play with the cat all the time.

What May Be Causing The Hissing

If your veterinarian doesn’t detect any medical problems, and you want to minimize the behavior, you need to determine what’s causing your cat to have a hissy fit.

Some examples of why your cat may hiss at people and other pets:

Fear-induced aggression. Your cat may feel threatened by new people, noises or other changes in the household.

Redirected aggression. If your cat is interrupted when hes in territorial mode while watching another cat outside, he may inadvertently hiss at you.

Asocial aggression. Cats who were not socialized properly as kittens may be fearful of people and pets.

Petting-induced aggression. A cat may hiss to indicate that hes reached his threshold while being handled.

Inter-cat aggression. Although this type of aggression is often associated with male cats who haven’t been neutered, any adult cat may bully others in the household over territorial conflicts.

Predatory aggression. Cats may view other pets in the household birds, gerbils and guinea pigs as prey and become agitated when they’re near them.

Once youve determined whats causing your cat to hiss, you can work with your veterinarian or a professional trainer to take steps to either avoid the triggers or reduce the underlying fear or aggression. With any luck, your cat will have nothing left to hiss about.

My Cat Is Hissing At Me All Of A Sudden

See files for Cats

Few reactions a cat makes receive the attention of hissing. It is a sound not quite unique to cats, but it is one we don’t want to hear with any regularity. If we get scared, worried or defensive when we hear a cat hissing, it is not surprising. This is the point of the cat making this particular sound. We might understand if a cat hisses at the neighbor dog or one of their cat companions when they get too rowdy, but you may ask why is my cat hissing at me all of a sudden?

AnimalWised helps you understand why this might happen by looking at why cats hiss in the first place and what could cause them to do it if they didn’t before. Whether this is a new cat or one we have had for a long time, cats don’t hiss for no reason.

  • Petting in the wrong place
  • What To Do When Your Cat Is Hissing

    Why Do Cats Hiss: A Complete Guide to Cat Hissing

    According to Dr. Tu, the best thing to do is actually nothing.

    If you find a cat is hissing at you, walk away, she advised. Dont look at the cat. Dont try to interact with it.

    And whatever you do, DO NOT hold out your hand to a cat as a peace offering.

    The worst that you can do when a cat or a dog is acting aggressive is stick your hand out, Dr. Tu said. That means nothing in cat language.

    And since hissing is a completely normal behavior in cats, there isnt really anything you can or should do to get them to stop.

    If anything, you should be getting your friends to look at their own behavior instead.

    The most effective treatment and training is to treat and train the person thats doing it, expressed Dr. Tu. What are you doing to make this cat scared? Stop doing it. Youre going to get less hissing.

    Cat Hissing At People

    Its common for cats to hiss at the veterinarian, especially when they are placed on the cold exam table or when veterinary staff comes to poke and prod the cat. If past visits were frightening, the cat remembers the sights, sounds, and smells of the veterinary clinic. She may hiss as soon as you arrive, even if she hasnt yet been touched. 

    Cats might also hiss if you bring them to another unfamiliar place like a boarding facility or groomer. Its normal for cats that usually stay at home to feel afraid of sights, sounds and smells that they are not accustomed to.

    Cats frequently hiss when new guests or workers enter the home, or if they are around unfamiliar children who are being loud and boisterous.

    A cat might hiss at you or another family member if you try to give her a bath, brush her, trim her nails, or give medication.

    Cats might also hiss if someone is petting or holding them and they are not feeling comfortable for whatever reason. If your cat hisses when you approach her or try to touch her, it could be a sign that she is in pain. It is not unusual for cats with arthritis or an injury to hiss for seemingly no reason. In fact, they are communicating to you to stay away because they are hurting. 

    What Does Cat Hissing Mean Hissing As A Form Of Warning

    Regardless of the reason behind these sounds, your cat is making them with one clear intention its warning you!

    Whether its stress, jealousy, protectiveness, irritation or fear, the hissing is intended to ward off any possible predator. Of course, your pet could even hiss at an inanimate object if it feels threatened by it. Loud appliances or large unfamiliar items can easily become a reason for fear.

    Other pets, usually dogs, can be perceived like a possible threat. Cats wont engage in a fight before giving a clear warning with an aggressive hiss. The fact that they may be scared, however, doesnt mean they wont be ready to start a fight with another animal.

    The hiss basically means that your kitty is trying to warn everyone and everything around it that it wants to be left alone in peace. If it doesnt launch itself into an attack, it will try to bolt from its current surroundings.

    What You Should Do When Your Cat Hisses Or Hides

    • Give him space. Do not try to hold your cat or comfort him.
    • Let your cat feel secure. Do not stare at him. Let him hide.
    • Give your cat time. Cats may take hours to calm down, not minutes.
    • When he is calm, coax your cat out with food and/or catnip. Remember: do not look him directly in the eyes and approach from the side. You are less threatening this way.

    Obviously, there are many things that your cat may be upset by or dislike. By being aware that when your kitty hisses, he is feeling afraid, threatened, or uncomfortable, you can change or modify the way you interpret your cats behavior or inter-feline dynamics.

    Contributed by Dr. Evelyn Richer, DVM and Alana Stevenson, MS

    What Should You Do

    The very first thing you need to do when your cat shows such aggressive behavior without any reason is to talk to your vet. The vet can assess your cats condition and make sure hes not suffering from any medical issues that causing the unwanted behaviors.

    If your cat seems to be healthy, the vet can refer you to a pet behaviorist who can eventually help you figure out what triggers the hissing and growling and advice some necessary steps at home to solve the problem.

    In most cases, by just being aware of what is happening to your cat can prevent further violence. Although you cannot control the cause of aggression, pet owners can give their feline friend a space that he needs without injuring anyone at home.

    It takes a lot of patience and good work to deal with this issues. Eventually, cats easily get calmer if you know how to handle the situation.

    How To Stop A Cat From Hissing

    Rewards like toys, treats, or canned food can sometimes help relieve the anxiety and stress associated with cat hissing, says Demos. Try to do this at a distance, not up close and in the face of any cats involved in the situation, she says. 

    Additionally, if you have a multi-cat household make sure each cat has their own bowls, toys, and space. Give them separate dishes to eat from, separate toys to play with, and preferably, in separate rooms or at least out of visual range, adds Demos.

    Hey Human Gimme Space

    We know that cats are territorial creatures by nature, and if there is anything that they do not like, its encroachment on their turf and invasions of their privacy. Your cat should be respected. Should they choose to retreat for a nap, leave it at that. Cats do not like to be poked, prodded or messed with. Above all, woken up when they are deep in their precious cat naps.

    Cats dont exactly respect our personal space, nor do they care if we are sleeping or not. But part of the territory of having a cat in your home means that you must accommodate them and practice understanding. If you dont, your cat might react by hissing at you to show their displeasure! Although this is easier for most grown adults to understand . However kids often dont understand these limits. So they might fall victim to a cat hiss or scratch should they overstep their boundaries.

    If Your Cat Is Hissing First And Foremost Give Her Space

    Hissing is a clear communication: stay back! Allow your cat to retreat to a safe place and calm down before attempting to approach her again. This might take minutes or hours, depending on how scared your cat was.

    Cats should always have a safe, quiet place to retreat when they are feeling nervous or scared. This can be a tall cat tree or a quiet room in the back of the house. 

    What Do You Do If Another Cat Is Fighting Yours

    What Does it Mean When a Cat Hisses?

    Sometimes, when your cat is wandering outside, they could be attacked by another cat. These attacks can be systematic: owners have stories of a single cat that keeps fighting their cat every time they go outside. This is especially worrying if your cat is mild-mannered and gentle, and is unlikely to fight back. The injuries from these fights can require several trips to the vet and can be worrying.

    The best solution for how to stop cats from fighting in this situation is to keep your cat indoors. Letting them out after dark can be especially dangerous.

    If you cannot keep your cat indoors, you can try and find out if the other cat belongs to someone and if that cat can be controlled. Alternately, when you hear your cat is in distress, go outside to help. Most strange cats will run at the sight of a human, so you may not have to do much to stop the fight except turn up.


    Cats Hissing At Each Other

    Witnessing a cat hissing at another cat or kitten is often about territory disputes.

    So lets say you already have a pet cat and then you decide to adopt a new cat. All is going well until your existing pet cat arrives on the scene.

    Then you witness your resident cat hissing at the new cat. Essentially, whats happening is the resident telling the new cat to go find its own territory!

    But, the reason why cats hiss at kittens also depends on the relationship. For instance, if the hissing cat is the kittens mother, common reasons a mama cat will hiss is to tell the kitten to let her rest or to go be an adult cat now.

    What if youve got two cats you cant seem to get along? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

    What To Do If You Have A Hissing Cat

    When your cat hisses, its important to recognize whats prompting the behavior and then take appropriate steps to make your cat feel comfortable. If youve cornered your cat or surprised her with a pat, chances are shes hissing out of fear. If this occurs just once in a while, then its best to back up, give your cat some space, and reapproach her when shes calmer and aware of your presence.

    If you have a new cat, she might hiss when you approach because she feels threatened. It takes time for cats to settle in and get to know you and your family, so its important to get your whole family on board in this situation. Give your new cat a place in the home thats all her own, such as a room where no pets or other family members are allowed. If she hisses while out among your family, then get all your family members to back up and leave her alone. This can help remove the pressure that shes feeling. Be patient with your new cat and let her start approaching you on her own before you try to pet her or play with her.

    In general, when cats hiss:

  • Back off.
  • Warning Humans And Other Pets

    Your cat hisses to communicate that they do not want to be bothered. Some cats may simply hiss because they want you or another human member of the family to leave them alone and let them have their space, and they may also hiss at other pets in a similar way.

    If your cat is not very friendly toward humans or other animals, she may hiss often to tell intruders to leave her alone. This is just a warning to let these people or pets know they may be scratched if they dont heed it. Continuing to bother her anyway may result in a swat or two!

    Why Do Cats Hiss Summary

    We hope weve answered your questions about all things cat hissing and growling and now you know why cats hiss. Cat hissing can be caused by a multitude of reasons.

    Your cat may be in pain or ill, for one. They could also feel threatened or just be exercising dominance. We hope all our tips have helped you figure out which one has got your cat all hot and bothered.

    Has your cat ever hissed at you? Do you know why? Please post a comment to share your story!

    Common Reasons Why Cats Hiss

    Cats hiss when theyre feeling threatened, fearful, or extremely upset.

    When a cat hisses, it is a sign that she is feeling threatened, fearful, or extremely upset. Hissing is a warning: Stay back! Dont approach me! A hissing cat feels that she is in danger. A cat may hiss at another cat, at a dog or other animal, or at people.

    Here are some common scenarios when a cat might hiss: 

    Is It Normal For Cats To Hiss

    Contrary to popular belief, hissing is a normal way that cats express fear, not aggression or hatred. And as Alana Stevenson, a certified animal behaviorist based in Boston, confirms: Hissing is a normal behavior in cats. They will hiss when they feel threatened, fearful, or are upset about something.

    How Do Cats Hiss

    Hissing and spitting are produced when a cat is startled and exhales rapidly through a slightly opened mouth.

    Typically, youll also see your cat bare their teeth when they hiss. Their ears may also be flattened to the side of their head and they might arch their back.

    I know that Ive even seen my kittys fur standing on end .

    Provide Food And Water

    The Cat

    If the stray appears friendly, you can approach slowly and talk in a soft and polite voice. Offer some cat food along with a bowl of water.

    If you are afraid of getting scratched or bitten, you can wear protective gloves or keep your distance, and the animal will keep its distance too.

    However, Once you start providing food to stray cats, theyll come back for more every day.

    So, ensure to place any meal for the stray in a safe area outside your house where the cat can access it easily.

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