The hissing sound made by cats is very similar to the hissing sound made by snakes, and means pretty much the same thing (look out!). Cats hissing can seem strange and scary but it is a normal way for cats to communicate. Your cat may hiss when they see a stranger or fear something. They are hissing to express that they are feeling scared or afraid. Their hissing can also be because of an injury or pain.
Reasons For Your Cat to Hiss
One reason for your cat to hiss can be because they feel threatened. They will hiss to warn you or others in your home of danger. A stranger or unknown animal coming into your home is what generally makes them feel scared. Your cat does not want to get into a fight with them and the hissing is a way to tell the other animal or stranger to back off. Another time when this is common is if they’ve been caught doing something they know that they shouldn’t do and think they will be yelled at or punished.
Confrontation with Other Cats
If you have more than one cat at home, you may have seen one of your cats hissing at the other. While it seems like an obvious sign of aggression, their hissing is not always a sign of aggression. The hissing is generally done by the cat who is the victim and feels cornered.
If your cat is a mother and has several kittens, their hissing could be a way to show protectiveness. Like all mothers they will be concerned about the well being of their kittens. Another cat or animal coming close to their kittens can have the mama cat feel unsafe. Sometimes they may even hiss at a friend or a friendly family member. Your cat will then hiss as a protective gesture towards their kittens.
Cats can’t handle stress very well. Sudden changes in their environment or unexpected guests can stress them. New furniture or or even moving the furniture in your home can make your cat feel anxious. The stress can cause your cat to suddenly freeze or run away. Sometimes your cat may also hiss when they are stressed. Putting them back in a safe environment or comforting them could relax them enough to stop hissing.
Your cat will sometimes hiss when you touch them or hold them in your hands. Physical pain could be the cause. Touching them in specific areas could cause their hissing. A joint health issue like arthritis could cause pain while your cat is moving around or jumping. To identify if their hiss is being caused by physical pain, your cat’s behavior should be observed carefully. You can also take them to a vet if you think that they’re in pain.
Your cat may hiss if you or other pets are doing something that they don’t like. This type of hissing is not because of fear but out of annoyance. Their hissing is a way to tell you to stop doing what you are doing.
It can happen when your children are playing with or chasing your cats or when you haven’t given your cat a treat. To stop them from hissing, leave them alone for a while and don’t try to hold or pet them. They may hide when annoyed and it may take a few hours for them to calm down.