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Why Does My Cat Hiss So Much?

  • Post category:Behavior
  • Post last modified:March 3, 2020
  • Reading time:5 mins read
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If you’re a cat owner, then you’ve surely heard that familiar sound of your friendly feline letting out the sound of a hiss, whether it’s towards you or another one of your cat companions.

Despite popular belief, cat hissing is a natural part of their communication and it is definitely not a behavioral issue at all. It’s your cat’s way of expressing fear, anger, being annoyed, or they may simply be stressed out for some reason.

If your cat hisses at you for something, you may have either scared or annoyed them. Don’t worry too much about it, but also don’t ignore it. Your cat is probably trying to tell you or warn you about something.

How Do Cats Hiss?

Hissing occurs when air is forced out from the mouth. Usually, this is accompanied by a showing of the front teeth, flattened ears, and an angry looking face. Hissing is unique and really can’t be mistaken for anything else. 

Hissing occurs in all breeds of cats, large and small, wild and domesticated. Lions, tigers, lynx, bobcats. They all hiss.

Your Cat May Be Warning You

Has your cat ever hissed at you? What did you do to provoke the hissing? Trust me, there was something that provoked your friendly feline to hiss at you. 

I have a cat that will hiss at me when I pet him for too long. I believe it’s his way of telling me that he’s had enough petting for now and doesn’t want to be touched.

That’s usually when I stop, and in return, he stops hissing at me. 

I also have another cat that will hiss at me when I am vacuuming. The reason for the hissing in this example is pretty obvious. He hates the loud noise associated with running a vacuum cleaner. 

I’m pretty sure he’s not actually hissing at me personally, but at the big bad vacuum cleaner that is scaring the crap out of him or annoying him.

In fact, even if my vacuum cleaner isn’t actually turned on, he will still hiss at it if I am moving it somewhere else in my home.

Your Cat May Be In Pain

Some cats will hiss if you touch them in an area that they are experiencing pain in. For example, when one of my cats was younger, she must have stepped on a splinter from my wooden staircase. 

I noticed she was limping so I scooped her up to take a look, and sure enough, when I touched the painful area on her front paw, she let out a pretty loud hiss and a howl.

Luckily, it was just a splinter that my local veterinarian was able to remove and bandage up.

If you find that touching your cat in specific areas results in them hissing at you, you should definitely bring them into the vet as soon as possible.

They might have something wrong with one of their organs or they may have a broken bone.

Hissing when they are in pain is your cat’s way of communicating to you that something is wrong inside of them.

If it turns out that nothing is wrong with your cat internally, and they seem like they are just hissing for the sake of hissing, they may simply feel threatened by you. 

Perhaps you accidentally stepped on their tale, so they think you’re out to get them again. Just give your feline friend some time to get over it. 

Why Does Your Cat Hiss At Your Other Cats?

Your feline companion may also hiss at any other cats you have for many of the same reasons they hiss at you.

My cats hiss at each other when they get in each others’ way or when they are competing for the little red laser dot they love to play with. My cats are extremely competitive in the sport of feline laser tag. 

A male cat that is still intact and not neutered is definitely prone to hissing. It’s one of the ways they verbalize aggression with another male cat.

They may have a certain territory that is theirs and when another male cat invades that territory, it will most likely result in hissing and fighting.

To stop this type of hissing, the answer is obvious. Get your cat neutered. However, keep in mind that this may not stop the hissing and the fighting right away.

Sometimes it takes time for the hormones to adjust after neutering surgery.