Why is my cat hissing at me? It’s a terrifying noise to any cat owner. It sounds like someone has just put down a steak on the bbq, or a snake has somehow made its way into your house. Is it a mating call? Is it a scare tactic? Is it a warning? A nervous reaction? It’s an odd and quite terrifying noise, to say the least.
In short, cats will generally hiss when someone or something has made them unhappy or uncomfortable. It’s a warning. A warning to back up or they will get their claws out and take action on who/whatever has got into their personal space.
You might have house guests over when your cat makes that awful hiss, this is usually because your guest may have their own pets scent all over them. This can make your cat think that there is a new imposter in town trying to take over their turf, so naturally, they put their defences up and warm off that scent until they figure out what is going on.
The hiss could be triggered by a new cat or dog in ‘their home’. A new cat or dog can make your cat feel extremely threatened and in turn, make them get their defences up. Your little guy is scared because he thinks the new comer is going to steal all the toys, food, sleeping spots and most importantly all the attention from them. Your cat will warm to the new-comer when they are ready, but to start off with the hiss means ‘Get back or I'll have to start defending my territory.’
Sometimes the hiss can even happen when you are playing with your cat. This generally means ‘Ok I have had my fun, now leave me alone!’
It is believed that the cat hissing noise has evolved over time and that cats have stolen it from the hissing noise a snake makes right before it is about to strike.
The terrifying hiss has evolved into their go to defence mechanism to warn of potential threats. Cats don’t only mimic the sounds of a snake about to strike its victim, but also the body movement.
If it is your house guest that is spooking your cat, slowly introduce the new smell they are carrying. Give the cat a sock, a hanky or a hat with the smell on it; they will slowly become more comfortable with the smell in question.
If you are introducing a new animal into the house, never leave them alone to start with. In this situation, you want to be the middle man. Slowly introduce them and make sure nothing goes down! Each cat will behave differently around different animals; you know your cat best.
Move away from them slowly and do not make any sudden movements. Give your cats some space, they are stressed and need some time to cool off.
Don’t make any eye contact. Your cat can take this as a sign of aggression and agitate them even more. Same goes for extending a hand to them as a sign of friendship, most of the time this will end in scratches for you.
In general, cats do not want to fight (or make that terrifying cat hissing noise); they want the threat to get out of their area so they can get on with the more important tasks of the day. Sleeping and eating!
When we are house sitting we always try to ask the home owners about these types of habit. When you getting to know a new animal something like this may alarm you. However if you aware of the habit understand the triggers you can help alivate it.
I have an obsession with travel and caring for animals. When I am not entertaining animals you will find me lurking a market, skateboarding, drinking red wine or eating cheese!