Vet Blog

4 Reasons Your Cat Hisses

May 24, 2015

You provide love, food, and shelter for your beloved cat.

Yet sometimes it appears he/she turns on you. WHY? The explanation of why a cat's hiss is simple.


You love your spouse, kids, and friends. But, let's face it, sometimes they, whether purposely or by accident, scare you. Your reaction may be to scream, jump, or gasp. Well, the same is true for your cat. But their reaction to "surprise" could come in the form of a very loud HISS! Humans must remember that in the wild, a surprise to a cat usually means death. The same is true when your cat is introduced to new people, new places, and new "fur siblings" or "human siblings" Basically, cats approach "new" with caution. Since they do not have the ability to speak, the "hiss" is their way of saying "you scared me" or "what is this new thing you have brought in my home?" If your cat gets "scared" or his/her routine changes the hiss you see is a normal reaction.


Pain is another common reason your cat will hiss. That's the quickest way they know how to say "OUCH!" If you are petting your cat and this response occurs pay close attention to the frequency of his/her displeasure. It could be time for your veterinarian to take a closer look.


Cats are not shy when they are annoyed. Displeasure can be the result of a variety of things ranging from being placed in a cat carrier to having the scent of another cat or dog on your pant leg. (remember cats and dogs "mark" you when they rub against your leg…you can't smell this but your cat does). Another sign of displeasure can be when a human intruder enters "their" territory. Be very mindful of this especially if the intruder is a "loud" "energetic child" or adult. Again, as mentioned earlier, cats like ROUTINE.


This response can be obtained by a variety of different stimuli. A common one is "petting" induced hissing. This one tends to be most troubling to cat owners as they feel their cat doesn't love them. This is hardly the case. Some cats just have a low tolerance for "physical touch." The best cure for this type of hissing? Stop the petting session and don't take it personally. Cats also become aggressive when they need to exert dominance over their "territory." Owners notice this more when a stray cat, dog, or other animal intrudes in their cat's territory. This is normal and is your cat's way of screaming "GET OUT AND DON'T COME BACK!"

Cat hissing is caused by many factors. As a cat owner, we must realize that a cat's hiss is similar to a dog's bark. It's the normal way cats communicate their fear, pain, annoyance, and aggression.

City ordinance required that by 5/4/23, every dog or cat will need a microchip. Visit the article here. Ask us about microchipping!