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Why Do Your Cats Hiss?

Cat hissing is a common behaviour which sort of resembles the sound a snake makes. We’ve come to associate this with them being extremely annoyed, but did you know there are numerous reasons why cats hiss?Hearing your cat hiss and growl can be pretty scary. Whether he's hissing at other cats, your dog, or even you, it can leave you feeling unnerved.

How do cats hiss?
When a cat feels threatened, they’ll release a burst of air through their mouth, and it’s this burst of air that makes a hissing sound. This sound will usually be paired with other cat body language signs such as bared teeth, flattened ears, an arched back and their fur will also stand on end (also known as piloerection).
Why Do Cats Hiss at Other Cats or Even Kittens?
Sometimes cats hiss at other adult cats to show dominance. Cats are territorial and may have specific spaces in your home marked as "theirs." When another cat encroaches on that space, hissing might occur to re-establish the hierarchy in your home until they learn to get along again.Even if your cats are friends, one might start hissing at the other if something changes. As for kittens, hissing can even be a "teaching tool," letting a kitten know when she's scratched or bitten too hard during play. But if you hear an adult cat hissing at a kitten, watch closely; you don't want your kitten getting hurt!

Why Do Cats Hiss at Dogs?
Cats hiss at dogs for many of the same reasons they hiss at other cats. If your cat feels intimidated by your dog, he might hiss to reassert dominance. He's telling your dog not to venture in too close. Since dogs and cats speak different languages, your dog might not pick up what your cat's trying to say. Your dog might even be tempted to chase your cat, which you need to stop right away.If your cat is feeling particularly stressed by one of your other pets (dog or cat), you may need to reintroduce them to each other.
Why do cats hiss?

Warning shots
First and foremost, cat hissing is usually a warning to another person or animal. It’s their way of telling them to back off or they’ll be forced to attack – cats characteristically want to avoid confrontation at all costs, so think of this as a warning shot. You may see them do this when there’s another cat on your cat’s turf, if a mother cat has kittens to protect or if the vet’s trying to handle them.

They’re in pain
Sometimes when a cat’s in pain they may hiss if you touch a particularly sensitive patch on their body. Alternatively, they might not even let you go near them and the cat hissing may occur every time you try to approach.

Cats like familiar things which make them feel safe and at home. Because of this, sometimes your cat hissing may be caused by new objects in their environment – such as a new toy or furniture – as it can make your cat feel anxious. If this happens, you’ll need to slowly introduce new items into your home to help them get used to them.

tressed out
Cats hate to have stressors in their environment and notoriously don’t cope well with stress in the home. They possess a fight or flight instinct and they’ll usually hiss prior to trying to flee, or in some cases, before engaging in a fight.

Rough play
If you have a young kitten and you’re wondering why kittens hiss, it could well be down to rough play. Sometimes if another cat or kitten is playing too rough with them, they may hiss as a way of saying “hey, stop that”.

You’re bugging them
If you’re wondering why does my cat hiss at me, it might be because you’re annoying them. They may not want to be petted at that time or it may be because you’re trying to pick them up when they don’t want you to.
What You Should Do When Your Cat Hisses or Hides
  • Give him space. Do not try to hold your cat or comfort him.
  • Let your cat feel secure. Do not stare at him. ...
  • Give your cat time. Cats may take hours to calm down, not minutes.
  • When he is calm, coax your cat out with food and/or catnip.


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*We hope to give you better ideas for your pet, but this information is not meant to be a substitute for veterinary care. Always follow the instructions provided by your veterinarian. If your pet feels bad, please take it to the veterinarian in time.

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