The hissing sound is associated with many animals. Particularly the eerie sound is thought of in connection to snakes that commonly hiss. However, many cat owners would have seen their domesticated felines hissing. To an outsider or a non-cat owner, this might seem weird, but it’s true.
Why Do Cats Hiss?
Hissing is a common behavioral trait when it comes to cats. Seemingly it denotes that your pet is angry, but there might be more reasons for it than you think. Therefore, we have compiled some common reasons that explain why cats hiss.
A Warning Sign
First and foremost, cats usually hiss as a warning sign to other predators, fellow cats, or humans. The hissing sound is a very eerily silent way for these cats to show that they need us to back off or they’ll be provoked to attack. And by the time the other cat or person can gather this signal, the hissing is consequently followed by an attack.
That is why if you pay attention, you will find that cats usually hiss when they have to confront another cat, human, or object. As the creature hates confrontation, you’ll find them hissing when another cat violates their space, a vet tries to handle them against their will, or a mother cat is protecting its kittens.
Threatened, Scared, Fearful
The next common reason why cats hiss is because they feel threatened, scared, or fearful by the cat, person, or object placed in front of them. That’s why the internet is full of funny cat videos where you can find cats hissing at seemingly harmless things like cucumbers and bananas etc.
The reason is that they feel threatened and scared by it at the same time. And their lack of comprehension of this feeling leads them first to hiss and then attack the object. Therefore, as of yet, it isn’t necessary that your cat hissing is a sign of aggression. Moreover, they may even hiss at an unfamiliar cat or person that threatens or scares them.
Indication of Pain
Not as common of an aspect as the other two we discussed above, but your cat may hiss to indicate pain. A cat may do this unknowingly and yet again out of fear of getting hurt. However, the cat owner needs to closely observe why your cat is not letting you near them.
Chances are it may lead you to find the cat hurt or in pain which causes them to hiss at you out of fear every time you try to pet them. It is important to tend to their pain or a possible wound so they don’t feel vulnerable to getting hurt again, in addition to eradicating their pain.
A Mode of Distraction
Many cats use the hissing sound as a mode of distraction when confronted by other animals. As we discussed earlier that cats hate conflict. Therefore an unsuspecting animal that comes face to face with a cat and ignites anger or fear in them would initially not be attacked.
Instead, the cat would hiss at them as a warning to back off, but the cat would find it the moment to escape the situation as the other animal gets distracted by it. Chances are if the confronting animal is also a cat, then they might chase each other down.
Reaction to Stress
While stress may be an umbrella term for the issues mentioned above of feeling threatened, fearful, and warning or indication of pain, other factors instill stress in cats too. If you find you cat hissing and projecting a fight or flight response to anything, the chances are that there are stressors in their lives or surrounding.
As cats do not cope well with stress, anything that stresses them out would lead them to act defensively. Hissing, freeze or fleeing the situation becomes their normal way of avoiding any conflict or confrontation in a vulnerable situation. That’s why it is important that the owner identifies the stressors in their lives and removes them, for instance, plants, loud noise, etc.
What Should I Do if My Cat is Hissing at Me?
Now that you are aware of some of the main reasons why cats hiss in the first place, it is time to identify why they are hissing at you. Here are some tips that should be able to help you.
- Give your catsome space as you don’t want them to turn aggressive.
- Pay close attention to their body language before petting or showing affection towards them.
- If you have children at home, keep an eye on them when they play with or around the cat. Teach them how to treat a cat,so they pick up on the signs of when to pet them.
- Place cattrees, igloos, and other hiding spots for your cat around the house, so they have a safe spot for some peace and quiet when they feel stressed.
- Allot a secluded area to the mother catto safely house itself and its kittens to avoid any accidents.
Our Final Thoughts
Cats are loving and sensitive creatures. Domesticated, house cats are particularly sensitive to unfamiliar beings and things. Staying cautious of their preferences and handling them with care and affection is bound to result in a soft, happy kitty. There is no denying their mood swings but understanding the reason as to why they might indulge in a particular behavior is the right way to keep yourself and your pet cat happy.