why do cats hiss

Why Do Cats Hiss?

Why do cats hiss? Well, cats are territorial creatures, and they tend to have unpredictable behavior to some extent.

Hissing is a familiar sound many cat owners are used to since it is an unexpected behavior when a cat is showing some warnings about something.

The behavior might be due to respond to a strange cat, dog, or people. Sometimes, the cat may hiss without any probable reason.

In this article, you will learn more about the meaning of cat hissing, reasons, and how to stop a cat from producing the comical sound.

What is Cat Hissing?

Cat hissing is a sound produced by the feline friend when forcing a burst of air via the mouth over an arched tongue.

The cat usually pulls the lips back and lie the ears against the head. The scary part is when the hairs get erected on the back.

Research shows that the cat learned the hissing sound by mimicking the noise made by the snake.

The hissing sound is a distinctive warning given by the cat to mean business. It is a survival technique to conquer a territory.

Reasons Why Do Cats Hiss?

There are plenty of reasons behind the hissing sounds from cats. Many of these reasons are dependent on the cat.

Here are some of the common reasons behind cat hissing:


Cats typically get afraid when they meet fearful people, and they hiss as a sign of warning. However, the hissing is not a sign of aggression.

If the person continues to provoke the feline friend, then he will not have the option rather than attacking. Never approach your cat in a way that can threaten him.

Confrontation from Dogs

Cats hate strange dogs in the backyard. As a cat owner, do not be surprised when you notice your feline friend hissing.

Try to recognize the hissing sound as either offensive or defensive. If the little ball is hissing at the dog, then try to separate them immediately since it can result in a fight.

Protecting the Kittens

Mother cats are known to be protective of their kittens. Whether an animal or a person coming close to their babies will provoke them to hiss.

Give mother cats that have recently given birth time before attempting to carry their babies or else you might experience aggression despite the mother being sociable.


Cats do not cope with stress in any way. The stressors can make them acquire fight mode easily. The cats will react defensively by producing hissing sounds.

The feline animals love affectionate to feel safe, thus avoid exposing them to stressors like sporadic movements.

Physical Pain

Sometime cats may hiss when people try to carry or touch them not due to fear but as a result of physical pain.

However, this is among the less common factor behind the hissing cat. Research shows that cats are suffering from arthritis, hiss a lot when jumping from a chair.

Monitor your little ball anytime they hiss to spot the cause. Consult your veterinarian for diagnosis and treatment.


Excessive petting, playing and squeezing your cat can provoke them to hiss as a sign of anger or annoyance.

Felines normally hiss at children since they are commonly known for petting or playing with them excessively.


Aggression behavior comes as a result of violence, and this usually triggers the felines to hiss. Therefore, never try to cross the line either by shouting or whipping your little ball since they will hiss from time to time.

Territorial Conflicts

Cats are territorial creatures, and the introduction of a new cat or dog in the family will result in conflict.

Therefore, do not be surprised when you notice your cat hissing at the new pet — device tricks on how to train your feline friend to socialize with others.

Why Do Cats Hiss at Dogs?

Figuring out why cat hisses at dogs is quite easy. Cats are territorial creatures, and they will fight for it.

On the other hand, dogs fight for sociable position and they would want to be number one in this area.

The newcomer between the two will have a hard time settling in the family since both of them will confront each other.

You can try to devise tricks on how to make sure your cat feels secure as far as territory dominance is a concern and dog social dominance.

Supervise the interaction of these two naughty pets until they can tolerate each other. This will foster cooperation in the long run.

How to Handle a Hissing Cat

The hissing sound is a warning sign. Thus you should handle your little ball with care, or else it will scratch or bite.

So, here are ways on how to handle a hissing cat:

  • Give her adequate time to calm down
  • Provide an avenue for the cat to escape
  • Give her time to get used of your body scent
  • Do not provoke the cat to hiss
  • Device tricks to comfort the cat when hissing.

Final Verdict

As the cat owner, it is advisable to know the cause behind the cat hissing. These factors will help you devise ways on how to calm and comfort them appropriately.

Minimize any form of stress the cat is exposed to and try to make them happy as well as comfortable.

Ensure to create a good rapport between your cat and the rest of the family members as well as other pets in the house.

Sources and References

  1. Editor. “Cat Aggression toward People.” The Cat Site.
  2. Editor. “Understanding Feline Language” Humane Society. 

2 thoughts on “Why Do Cats Hiss?”

  1. so lately my cat has stated hissing at my boyfriend. But other times she lays on him or by him but then when he pets her she hisses! What does this mean?

  2. Ok I have the strangest thing with my kitty friend who does not actually belong to me but to her “dad” and his daughter but dad lives with me and kitty is here in a loving home and she loves for me to pet her she purrs rubs against me looks to me for food etc. But she hisses at me many times when I approach her. A brief quick his no ears back or body posturing. Just hiss. Then in 2 seconds she is loving on me. She was a stray and her owner got her from shelter. But she has come out of her shell and is quite friendly with people she knows. I feel we are buddies she is rubbing on me and my tablet right now so why does,she hiss at me?

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