How Can I Stop my Cat From Hissing?

Angry cat

A cat’s hiss is nothing to ignore. If you hear that familiar raspy hissing while your cat is around then you definitely need to be aware. It will often be accompanied with flattened ears, a low stance and a swishing tail. This means something is making your cat feel threatened. But why do they do it? And is there a way to get them to stop them from hissing at you?

Why do cats hiss?

It is actually believed that a cat hisses as a form of protective mimicry. This is when an animal pretends to be a more dangerous animal to protect itself. It’s thought that since cats were often confronted with snakes in the wild they learned how to mimic a snake. That’s why they flatten their ears, crouch down and move their tail in serpentine manner.

What can cause your cat to hiss?

So, what can make your cat want to mimic a snake to stay safe? Mostly this is a way to vocalized a warning of “don’t mess with me.” They are usually experiencing some kind of aggression, fear or vulnerability so they hiss as a way to communicate that. When your cat feels threatened by something new. It could be people, noises or changes in the living situation they are more likely to be inclined to hiss. Also, your cat will sometimes hiss at your inadvertantly. They will redirect their anger at you or another animal if they are in territorial mode. When they are focused on another dog or cat they often will hiss at anything that distracts them.

Can I get my cat to stop hissing at me?

It’s important to note that you should NEVER punish your cat for hissing. This will only make the situation worse.

First you have to assess the situation. Is your cat in pain, frightened or feeling vulnerable? If you can identify what exactly is making them hiss you can help to erratic the behavior.

  • If there is another pet in the home try separating them at meal times and keeping them in different rooms.

  • Carefully check for pain and see if they are injured or seem sick. If your cat is actively hissing, it is better to wait until they calm down a little before you handle them.

  • Consider getting them spayed or neutered. Intact cats (especially males) have more aggression and are more like to exhibit behavior such as hissing.

If you still can’t figure out how what’s bothering your cat, or how to fix it, have your pet checked out by the vet. There may be something going on physically with your kitty that you can’t see, or the vet may have suggestions for medication or other treatments that can help soothe your distressed companion.

Read more about common cat behaviours here. If you believe your kitty is suffering from anxiety, this article might be helpful as well.

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