Hissing is a typical behavior that usually means our cat is agitated and cautiously proceeds. The loud, snake-like noise and body language can be disarming if it happens suddenly, which it often does. Cats hiss by releasing air, often coupled with the body language of baring their teeth, flattening their ears, fur standing up, and arching their back.
Reasons cats hiss include:
- Warning – cats avoid conflict, but if they feel threatened, they will hiss to warn the human or animal that they mean business. Threatening feelings can be caused by territory disputes between cats, a mama cat protecting her kittens, or a vet trying to give them a checkup.
- Anxiety – some cats can become so nervous they hiss. This can be caused by an unfamiliar environment, a new piece of furniture, or other new objects.
- Stress – hissing caused by their fight or flight reaction.
- Pain – actual pain or fear of pain can cause a cat to hiss at you.
- Annoyed – sometimes cats become annoyed at you for an unknown reason – maybe you sat in their favorite chair or tried to pick them up, and suddenly they hiss at you.
If your cat is hissing at you, you should immediately give them space. Cats can attack and become aggressive – hissing is the warning. Look around your house to make sure your cat has enough hiding places – especially if you have children or other pets in the home. Cats need space they can feel safe in.