Pretty much everyone is aware that cats hiss. This is something that most people associate with cats being angry or scared, but there are other reasons that your cat might hiss. Cat hissing can mean a variety of things, and when you own a cat, you should know what they might mean.
Cat hissing can be a bit mysterious to people who have never owned a cat before, but it can be a valuable way to understand what your cat is experiencing. This is also a big part of understanding what is going on between your cats if your own more than one. As with health issues, the more that you know about the reasons for cat hissing, the better you will be at understanding what your cats are experiencing.
Do Kittens Hiss?
Cats of all ages hiss. When kittens hiss, it is usually from fear or when they are playing roughly with their littermates. This can be quite common with large litters where kittens can be quite active and might frequently play with one another in a rough way.
Kittens might also hiss when they are startled. They are learning about the world, and lots of the things that they experience can be a bit of a shock for them. The world is full of mysterious things and experiences for kittens, and they might hiss often when they are discovering things about the world.
Why Do Adult Cats Hiss?
Cats hiss for a variety of reasons as adults. The most common reasons are:
When cats are scared or feel threatened, they will hiss. This can serve as a warning to other animals and people that they can take aggressive action if they are pushed. Cats are capable of defending themselves, but they usually voice their displeasure with the situation before they do so. Hissing is an early warning when cats are fearful, and cats often hiss at the vet or people that they do not know when they are scared.
When cats are about to fight or are seeking to avoid a fight, they might hiss at another animal that they have encountered. This can be common in cats sharing a household as well if there are disputes over space, food, or other animals in the home. Confrontation can typically start with a hiss, and this can be your early warning that your pets are going to have a fight.
Cats will hiss when they are protecting their friends or their young as well. This might be more common in some cats than others, but cats will often hiss if they think that there is a danger that is threatening them, their young, or their group.
4. Being in a New Place
If your cat has had to head to the veterinarian or to a place to be boarded while you are away, you might hear that they spent a lot of time hissing at the people trying to care for them. Cats might hiss when they are not sure about the place that they are spending time in or when their owner has moved to a new apartment or a home.
Cats who are in pain might hiss when they are touched, or they could hiss when they move. This can be an unconscious response to fear, and your cat might just hiss because they hurt and not because someone has been touching them or another animal has bumped into them.
Cats who are experiencing stress can be prone to hiss. This can be simple fear over a loud noise outside, fear over a new cat or pet in the home, or even just generalized stress. Cats might even hide in a corner or a dark place when stressed and hiss quietly to express their worry.
Do Some Breeds of Cats Hiss More Than Others?
There are some breeds of cats that are more likely to express their feelings and concerns with a hiss. Siamese, Sphynx, Scottish Folds, Bengals, American Wirehairs, Cymric, Singapura, Korat, Bombay, Egyptian Mau, and Pixie Bob cats are associated with hissing behavior that is more frequent than in other breeds. These cats tend to be more talkative overall, so hissing is likely just part of them expressing their feelings with vocalizations more often than other breeds.
Each cat is still unique, however, and your cat might be one of these breeds and not be prone to hissing. The history of your cat’s life and their prior experiences might have more of an impact on their tendency to hiss, which means that rescued cats or cats with a tough past might be more likely to hiss than cats without this kind of life experience.
Cat Hissing Can Communicate Many Things
If your cat has been hissing, you will now know some of the reasons that they might be displaying this behavior. This is one of the ways that cats communicate generalized fear and worry, but it can also be linked with playful behavior or pain. Due to the complexity of this form of cat communication, you might need to look at your cat’s overall environment before you decide the reason that they are hissing. It might be obvious that they are annoyed at a new animal in the home or scared by a recent move to a new house, but there can be other reasons that your cat is hissing that might be harder to sort out.
If you are ever worried about a change in your cat’s behavior, you should consider calling your Northern Pike Veterinary Hospital vet at 412-373-8580. Your vet will be able to rule out things like pain or illnesses that could be leading to your cat hissing all the time. The more that you know about your cat’s overall well-being, the easier it will be to figure out why they are hissing and whether or not you need to address something about their living situation or their health.