Cats make a lot of funny little noises. They purr, meow, and sometimes, they even hiss. This may come as a surprise, and make you wonder – what’s up with my cat? Well, there are a few reasons why cats hiss. You may be surprised by what they are!
Why Do Cats Hiss, in General?
The common misconception is that hissing is a way a cat shows aggression. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Cats hiss when they feel scared or threatened. It’s almost like a kitty anxiety response. When we feel fearful or anxious, we need to take big breaths to calm ourselves down. When a cat feels a similar way, it exhales a deep burst of air, which causes a hissing sound.
Hissing doesn’t just happen on its own. You can notice your cat’s entire body language change when it hisses. Their ears will flatten, their bodies may become more rigid, and they get goosebumps. Yes, cats do get goosebumps! You’ll notice it through their fur, which will stand straight up.
Why Do Cats Hiss at Humans?
This all goes back to a cat’s safety. Cats will hiss at humans when they feel unsafe and endangered in some kind of way. This can happen when held in an uncomfortable manner or restrained in any sort of way. Cats, as we know, as born-hunters – they absolutely hate if their mobility is compromised. They always need a way to escape.
It’s important to know that if your cat is hissing at you or someone else, that you should leave your cat alone. A cat’s next step after hissing could be a defensive attack. So, hissing acts as a warning sign that a cat wants to be left alone. Just as we humans can get really emotional when overwhelmed and scared, cats can react too. Except, cats will more likely use their claws instead of their words…
What Does it Mean When a Cat Hisses at Another Animal?
If you have a cat at home, you know that they’re capable of hissing at other animals. There are many instances where this can happen.
Cats are pretty territorial and like to maintain control wherever they are. So, when another cat comes around trying to mess that up, cats aren’t super happy. So, they hiss! You may notice this if you have at least a couple of cats at home. Felines maintain a little hierarchy. When another cat tests that hierarchy, a more dominant cat will hiss as a sign to stop messing around and respect the territory’s ‘rules.’
Now, why do cats hiss at other animals, like dogs? For a very similar reason. Cats, despite their almost insane confidence, can feel pretty intimated by even a naive puppy. Therefore, cats hiss as a way to say get away from me! Sadly, dogs can often be victims of a cat’s claws by being a little too curious about a cat’s hissing rather than just taking it as a warning and leaving that kitty alone.
Why Is My Cat Hissing A Lot?
If you notice your cat is hissing way more than usual, it’s time to take into account your cat’s mental health. Now, you aren’t going to have to send your cat to a kitty therapist or anything. You simply need to assess their environment.
One excellent way to help your cat feel less stressed is by making sure your cat has enough room to move around. Cats really hate feeling trapped, even the ones who prefer to cuddle up and stay indoors. Ensuring there are safe places to jump and areas to move around will make your cat feel safer. It’s also never a bad idea to invest in a cat condo either.
If your cat just had kittens, that may also be a reason for increased hissing. This can cause a cat to hiss in even the mildest interactions.
Why do cats hiss is a question that comes with a few simple answers. One thing is for sure – your cat isn’t hissing to be mean or to be aggressive. A cat’s hiss is a form of protection and self-preservation. A hiss is a simple form of cat communication to show that your cat isn’t feeling so great about a situation.
The next time your cat hisses, remember not only to stay away but to also consider how your cat feels. They may need some extra space and some TLC to themselves!