My Cat is Hissing: What Does it Mean?
Most cat owners have encountered a hissing cat at least once, and it can be pretty disarming. After all, cats use hissing as a way to get people and animals away from them when they are feeling nervous, frightened, or protective. In these moments, many people wonder what hissing in cats means.
There are many different reasons why cats hiss. Most of the time a cat will hiss when they are feeling threatened, anxious, or frightened. However, sometimes cats will also hiss when they are in pain or if a mother cat feels the need to protect her kittens.
In this article we will explain all of the reasons why cats hiss. In addition to this, we will also explain how to calm down a hissing cat and answer some commonly asked questions about cats hissing. Let’s get right into it.
What Does It Mean When a Cat Hisses at You?
There are multiple reasons why cats will hiss. Most of the time hissing is a sign that a cat is feeling anxious, frightened, or agitated. However, there are some other reasons why a cat will hiss as well. For example, a mother cat may hiss if she feels that her kittens are threatened. Similarly, cats will also hiss if they are in pain. Here are all of the reasons why a cat will hiss.
The Cat Feels Nervous
Most of the time a cat will hiss because they are feeling nervous or anxious about something. If a cat is experiencing anxiety then they may exhibit other signs of anxiety along with hissing. Here are some other signs of anxiety in cats to look out for.
- Tail flicking
- Stiff body language
- Dilated pupils
- Ears held back
- Attempting to escape
- Hair standing on end
- Tail kept against their body
If a cat continues to get increasingly anxious, then they may lash out aggressively after hissing. This can potentially include swatting, clawing, and biting. As a result, it is a good idea to not handle your cat and approach them cautiously if you believe that they are incredibly nervous or anxious.
The Cat Is Protecting Their Litter
Mother cats will protect their kittens at all costs, and usually the first line of defense for a mother cat is to hiss. As a result, a mother cat may hiss at you if you approach their litter and this is perceived as a threatening action to the mother cat.
The Cat Is in Pain
Cats will often hiss when they are in pain as well. For example, if your cat has injured themselves, and you pet them or pick them up, your cat may hiss in pain because of the injury. Although not every cat will show signs of pain, there are some other signs that some cats may potentially show when they are experiencing pain. Here are some other potential signs of pain in cats in addition to hissing.
- Reduced appetite
- Having difficulty walking
- Having difficulty jumping
- Abnormal body language (appearing scrunched, stiff, or just unusual)
- Tail flicks
- Yowling or growling
- Signs of eye irritation such as excessive blinking and avoiding bright areas
- Excessive grooming
- A sudden lack of grooming
- Mood changes
- Avoiding being pet or touched
If you believe that your cat is experiencing any kind of pain, then the best thing that you can do is take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
The Cat Is Interacting with Other Pets
Cats will sometimes hiss when interacting with other pets like dogs and other cats. Most of the time this is because the other animal is making the cat nervous or agitated. However, a cat will also hiss at another animal if they are frightened by them or are just generally in pain.
The Cat Feels Frightened
Cats will hiss when they feel frightened by something. In this case, hissing is usually a precursor to aggressive behaviors like biting or swatting. A cat that is frightened will often appear to be crouched with ears pinned back against their head. A frightened cat’s eyes will usually be dilated as well.
When dealing with a frightened cat it is a good idea to approach them very cautiously, and this is only if you absolutely need to. When left alone a cat will likely go hide somewhere that they feel safe and calm down over time. Trying to touch or pick up a frightened cat is not likely to end well, however.
The Cat is Agitated
Sometimes cats will also hiss simply because they are feeling irritated or annoyed by something. A cat that appears confident while hissing is likely doing so because something is simply agitating them.
Why is My Cat Hissing at Me All of A Sudden?
There are a few different reasons why cats will hiss out of the blue. However, if this kind of behavior is particularly strange for your cat then this could be a sign that they are in pain. As a result, it is a good idea to take your cat to the vet if they are hissing at you all of a sudden.
Why Does My Cat Hiss at Me When I Pet Her?
There are a couple possible reasons why a cat would hiss while their owner is petting them. Most of the time this is a sign that the cat simply does not like the way that their owner is petting them. A cat that does not like how they are being petted may appear to be either agitated or nervous. If the cat’s hissing seems to be out of the blue and strange, then this could be a sign that your cat is in pain and needs to see a vet.
How Do You Calm a Hissing Cat?
When possible the best way to calm a hissing cat is to back off and allow the cat to retreat to a place where they feel safe. The only time that you should intervene is if a cat is hissing at one of your other pets in order to prevent a fight or the hissing cat from lashing out. When doing this you should act very cautiously.
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