Cat Hissing: What You Need To Know

Some people think that cats start hissing when they are hostile or exhibit animosity, but cats normally start hissing when they want to express fear.

There are many common causes for hissing. During some hiss at humans, some start hissing at fellow cats. Hissing is normal for cats, but if it is constantly hissing, it is time you start focusing on your cat.

Cats might start hissing when they are afraid or stressed, but they do hiss when they are in pain. So, if you are a cat parent, it is better to know what is going on in your cat’s mind while they hiss.

The Reason Behind a Hissing Cat

What Does Hissing Sound Like

Cats hissing is a very common sound, and it sounds a lot like the sound of air leaking from a car tire or a snake hissing, to be exact.

According to scientists, it is believed that cats started mimicking snakes to survive in the wild and protect themselves from other predators.

Hisses can differ based on various situations, from a silent hiss to an aggressive full-on hissing, including spitting.


Reasons Cats Hiss:

  • According to scientists, cats express their fear, stress, and discomfort by hissing. There are other reasons too.
  • Cats start hissing when they experience anxiety.
  • Cats hiss when they confront other animals aggressively
  • Cats hiss to protect their kittens
  • Cats start hissing when they are threatened by strangers or people in general, and sometimes by animals.
  • Cats start hissing when they are anticipating pain or when they experience actual physical pain.
  • Cats also start hissing when they are displeased and when they are annoyed.

Why Do Kittens Start Hiss

Rough play is not just meant for cats because sometimes even kittens start hissing at random things.

Kittens hiss at other cats and kittens when they start acting up. A kitten’s hiss is generally shorter than the hiss of adult cats that are hissing because they are defensive.

Sometimes, kittens even react to loud sounds and things that scare them by hissing and jumping, which can even make their fur stand on end. 

Why Do Adult Cats Hiss

The main reason mother cats hiss is that they are specifically protective of their kittens and want to protect them from predators.

So, mother cats normally start hissing when someone or something comes close to them, let it be a person or another animal.

Even the most silent cats start hissing when they think their kittens are in trouble. There are ways to prevent this from happening and to make your cat calm. 

Cat Breeds That Tend To Hiss More Than The Others

Certain breeds of cats hiss more than others, and while some are sweet and silent, some can be very aggressive and feisty.

Some of the breeds include Cymric, Singapura, Korat, American Wirehair, Pixie Bob, Egyptian Mau, Pixie Bob, Scottish Fold, Bombay, Bengal, Sphynx, Siamese, and many more.

These breeds might start hissing just at the sight of aggression or if they think you are invading their privacy. 


Common Reasons That Make Cats Hiss At Each Other:

  • Cats generally hiss when they are getting defensive, not offensive. 
  • The hissing can be directed towards humans or other animals, and when your cat hisses, it means it needs space from whatever it is hissing at. 
  • A cat hissing is normally a sign that it is uncomfortable, provoked, insecure, pressured, or even threatened. 
  • But cats normally start hissing when they are in no mood for physical confrontation with other animals or humans. 
  • People assume that cats start hissing when they want to tease other animals, like dogs and such, but that is not the case.
  • Scientists say that the cat hissing is normally the one that is the victim in the scenario or the one that is being chased by someone or something. 
  • Cats start hissing when they are antagonized.

Common Scenarios that Make Cats Start Hiss

An intact female and either two or one unneutered males start hissing at each other when they are looking for mates, and cats will also start hissing to redirect aggression and when they are anticipating pain.

The most common scenario would be when a female cat is protecting its litter of kittens. They will start hissing and growling whenever someone or something approaches them to protect their little ones. 

Reasons Why My Cat Is Hissing At A New Pet

Cats are very territorial animals that start hissing when they see other animals trying to take their place, so they start hissing to assert their dominance.

When your cat is adapting to a big change, like a new pet, you should help them adapt gradually. Providing them with a space in the house just for them can help them feel unthreatened and safe, and the pet owner must be patient. 

Hissing Is A Very Natural Behaviour

A cat hissing is a very natural reaction to any situation, and it is not something a cat forces itself to do or thinks about; they do it. And it also doesn’t mean that your cat doesn’t like or it is highly aggressive.

It is just a warning sign that your cat might get aggressive if its threat isn’t backing off easily. Sometimes, if your cat is provoked too much, it will start clawing, biting, and even scratching. 

Health Issues Can Make A Cat Hiss

Certain health issues can make your cat hiss a lot. If you feel something is off with your cat and it is constantly hissing, it is better to take them to the vet to get them checked.

Schedule a meeting with your vet and get them examined as soon as possible. Your vet will rule out discomfort and pain if there isn’t any, and if this could mean that your cat is unhealthy or has a medical problem that needs your attention. 

Trying To Take Their Stress Away

If your vet rules out all the medical reasons, it means that your cat is stressed, and there are ways that you can help them feel less stressed and help them ease into the new environment if that is what is making them stressed.

Understand your cat’s triggers and give them more time to adapt to the situation. Nutritional enrichment is very important, both physically and emotionally. 


Reasons Your Cat Is Constantly Hissing At You:

  • One of the main reasons your cat starts hissing is because it is utterly annoyed with you, and they don’t want to be petted by you. 
  • Cats also start hissing at their owners when they pick them up, but they don’t want to be picked up.
  • Cats will also start hissing when they feel pain or feel threatened.
  • They might even hiss at you when you try to trim their nails or when you try to groom them.
  • Cats also hate being forced into an enclosed space like a carrier and will start hissing when you do that.
  • Cats have an amazing sense of smell and taste; hence, they will start hissing when they smell another cat or dog on you.
  • Cats hate too much noise, so they might start hissing at you when you use loud appliances like vacuum cleaners.


Cats start hissing for various reasons, and it can be analyzed with the type of hiss and observing them closely.

Even though it is a very normal behavior cat if your cat is doing it often, it is better to get them checked by the vet, and if the cat is not unhealthy, it might be because they are stressed. At times like this, try to get them distressed with certain methods that help. 


Why is my cat continuously hissing at my dog?

Generally, cats start hissing when they feel oppressed; hence, whenever they see an animal or a person they think might be a possible aggressor, they will start hissing to let them know that they need to keep their distance. It can also be territorial. 

Should I be concerned if my cat is randomly hissing at nothing?

Cats can sometimes be upset with something unfamiliar to them and new. Whenever they start seeing objects, people, or other animals, they might feel discomfort, which can also be a major trigger. Hence, desensitizing them slowly helps. 

What can I do when my cat starts hissing?

When your cat is hissing, give them space and let them hide. Try to comfort them, make sure your cat has plenty of escape routes and places, and give them time. When they are ready, you can coax them. 

If my cat is regularly hissing, should I get the cat checked out for medical issues?

If your cat is regularly hissing for no reason, it is better to get them checked.

Some medical issues that can make a cat hiss include low energy, poor appetite, changes in behavior, reclusiveness, and pain in certain areas.

How can I make my cat feel less stressed?

You can give them time to get used to new surroundings and provide them with the proper enrichment they need.

Try offering them toys to help them get rid of boredom and pheromone therapy can also be considered. You can also consult your vet for a recommendation.

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