Why Cats Hiss

Pay Attention to the Warning

A hissing cat is clearly giving a warning so don’t ignore it. What will follow the hiss, if the cat doesn’t have an avenue of escape, will be a scratch or bite. So how should you handle a hissing cat?

  • Give her time to calm down
  • Unless you have to interact with her, provide an avenue of escape
  • Let her get used to your scent before you touch her if interaction is necessary
  • Don’t punish her for hissing
  • Be aware of the triggers that cause her to feel threatened
  • Use appropriate, positive behavior modification to help the cat become comfortable

Repeated Hissing

It’s very important to establish the cause of the cat’s fear. For example, if you’re introducing two cats to each other, make sure you do a careful, gradual introduction to minimize stress and territorial threats. If your cat hisses every time you try to handle her, make sure she’s not in pain. If there isn’t any medical reason for the hissing when handled then it’s time to work on trust-building with the cat by gradually getting her more comfortable with your presence. View hissing as a red flag that all is not happy in your cat’s world.


If you have a question about your cat’s behavior, you can find information in the articles on our website as well as in Pam’s books. If you have a question regarding your cat’s health, please contact your veterinarian. This article is not intended as a replacement for your cat’s veterinary care.


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