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Why Is My Cat Hissing At Me?

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We all know that cats meow, and we most certainly know that they hiss, too. Typically speaking, a cat hisses to show their disdain of something–or someone–but there are other reason why your cat is hissing. Changes in behavior are always a cause for concern among cat parents, so let’s break down why your cat is hissing to help you–and them–out ASAP.

First, Is Your Cat Hissing When You Try To Handle Them?

If you have a cat that usually doesn’t mind being held, and then suddenly starts to hiss or do the infamous “MMMMMMM” sound that cats make right before hissing (I refer to it jokingly as “cat thunder”), this could be a sign that your cat is in pain.

Sudden changes in behavior are a telltale sign of pain, discomfort or illness for your cat. And a happy cat that is suddenly hissing at their #1 fan? Well, that is a big red flag to you as their pet parent that something is up. Other conditions, such as hyperthyroidism and nervous system disorders, can also lead to hissing.

If your cat hisses, bites, scratches or makes those cat thunder sounds like I mentioned above, you need to take them in for a thorough medical examination to assess their condition. Schedule a visit with your veterinarian as soon as you can to get down to the bottom of the sudden cat hisser in your household.

Changes In Your Home

Cats are creatures of habit, we all know this. Sudden changes to their routine can not only bother them, it can downright piss them off. Have you recently moved, added a new member to the family, lost a member of the family, changed their litter, or switched their food on them? Well, this is all a recipe for an unhappy cat.

Obviously we can’t sit our cats down for a cup of coffee and discuss upcoming changes with them like we would a human. But to be easy on them, if you can, try it best to make changes gradual and not sudden for them. By doing so, they will feel valued, respected, and appreciated. Meaning they might take easier to the necessary changes when they are presented.

Aggression May Be To Blame For Your Cat Hissing At You

Like with humans, aggression can take on many forms. Here are some detailed examples of aggression so that it can better help you to understand what your cat is experiencing:

Fear-induced aggression. Your cat may feel threatened by new people, noises or other changes in the household.

Redirected aggression. If your cat is interrupted when he’s in “territorial mode” while watching another cat outside, he may inadvertently hiss at you.

Asocial aggression. Cats who were not socialized properly as kittens may be fearful of people and pets.

Petting-induced aggression. A cat may hiss to indicate that he’s reached his threshold while being handled.

Inter-cat aggression. This type of aggression is often associated with male cats who haven’t been neutered. In reality, any adult cat may bully others in the household over territorial conflicts.

Predatory aggression. Cats may view other pets in the household — birds, gerbils and guinea pigs — as prey and become agitated when they’re near them.

Once you are able to determine that it is some form of aggression which is causing your cat to hiss at you, then you’ll be able to do your part in alleviating her of her woes.

Hey, Human, Gimme Space!

We know that cats are territorial creatures by nature, and if there is anything that they do not like, it’s encroachment on their turf and invasions of their privacy. Your cat should be respected. Should they choose to retreat for a nap, leave it at that. Cats do not like to be poked, prodded or messed with. Above all, woken up when they are deep in their precious cat naps.

Cats don’t exactly respect our personal space, nor do they care if we are sleeping or not. But part of the territory of having a cat in your home means that you must accommodate them and practice understanding. If you don’t, your cat might react by hissing at you to show their displeasure! Although this is easier for most grown adults to understand (or at least one would think!). However kids often don’t understand these limits. So they might fall victim to a cat hiss or scratch should they overstep their boundaries.

Dr. Marci Koski, a certified feline behavior and training professional with Feline Behavior Solutions in Vancouver, Washington explains:

“Slowly remove yourself from the situation and give your cat a way to escape so that he can cool off. It can take some cats time to recover from a scary situation, so make sure you let your cat come to you for the next interaction.”

If you feel like your cat is hissing or lashing out at you, it might be best to take a thorough examination of all the points listed above. It’s our job as dedicated cat moms and dads. We’re here to help our cats to feel calm and ease when in our presence. An animal behaviorist also might be a great solution. They can attempt to get to the underlying issue should a medical condition not be the cause for your cat’s hissing.

REMEMBER: Spay, neuter, foster, volunteer, TNR and as always ADOPT don’t shop!

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