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Should I Hiss Back At My Cat? (Or Is It A Bad Idea?)

If your cat is hissing at you, you may be tempted to hiss back. But, is this a good idea?

Should I Hiss Back at My Cat?

Hissing at a cat is not a good idea, but it is not going to physically harm the cat. That being said, cats hiss as a form of communication to alert that they are in pain, or maybe scared. When they vocalize this they are not happy or they could be feeling threatened.

So, now you know that hissing back at your cat is not a good idea. Keep reading to learn how to tell if your cat hates you, why your cat may be hissing at you randomly, what you should do if this happens, and so much more.

Why Do Cats Hiss?

Should I hiss back at my cat?

Should I hiss back at my cat?

Because hissing sounds like a snake that is getting ready to strike. The sound is meant to intimidate the antagonizer into stopping the behavior or running away.

Hissing is your cat’s way of telling you that they have a problem that needs attention. So it stands to reason that if you hiss back at your cat they will assume there is a problem of some sort and/or be intimidated and run away. So, while it won’t physically hurt your cat to hiss at them, it may make them uncomfortable in their own abilities to communicate their needs.

How Can I Tell if My Cat Hates Me?

It is quite unlikely that your cat hates you. They may be fearful or not trust you. Hate or fear, the following factors will help you to know what they are feeling.

  • Tail position-Happy cats will hold their tail high in the air in question mark shape in an attempt to show you that they are feeling happy and content. A horizontal tail, on the other hand, indicates fear, retreat aggression, and hostility.
  • Kitty Camouflage-Happy cats don’t hide. Cats hide to communicate that they feel exposed and unsafe.
  • Biting-Adult cats should never bite. If they are biting they are not enjoying the physical contact they are getting. When cats bite you should stop touching them and walk away because an overstimulated cat could cause serious injury.
  • Avoidance-It is normal for cats to periodically avoid you, but if the behavior becomes chronic then it could be a sign that they are not happy.
  • Inappropriate elimination-If your cat is not using the litter box something is wrong. Make a vet appointment to ensure they are not having any medical issues. Once they are cleared medically, experiment with moving the box to a more private place.

It may feel like your cat hates you when in reality they are probably experiencing something that is completely out of your control.

Why Does My Cat Randomly Hiss?

Random hissing is not normal behavior. Hissing is an audible way for your cat to get your attention when they are in pain. Some other signs that your cat is in pain include:

  • Increased sleep, decreased play, or the opposite and they are restless and up and down.
  • Repetitive licking or, biting in the same spot
  • Loss of appetite or ambulatory issues
  • Shuffling when they walk
  • Dilated pupils or a glazing over of the eyes
  • Panting, if they are panting then they should go to the vet immediately.
  • Change in personality.
  • Messy fur, from their inability to groom themselves.

If you don’t notice any other signs of pain and the random hissing persists, contact your vet to see if there is an internal issue.

Can Cats Hiss When They are Happy?

Generally speaking, cats don’t hiss when they are happy but they may hiss as part of their play. Wild cats like Savannahs and Bengals are far more likely to vocalize happiness that mimics hissing. If the cat is engaged in play and the hissing is not a sharp pain like hiss then it is ok for play hissing to continue.

Should I Punish My Cat For Hissing?

The best way to stop any undesirable behaviors that your cat is exhibiting is to create an unpleasant association between action and consequence. Some cat owners are known to use a water bottle, a can of compressed air or a handheld alarm to redirect their cat.

But, this is less likely to breed insecurities in them that could further reinforce their negative behavior. Whatever method you choose, it is important to stay out of sight when you are administering punishment. The goal is to get your cat to stop doing what they are doing without them knowing you are the one who redirected them.

What to Do if Your Cat is Hissing at You?

If your cat is hissing (what about at kittens? click here) at you the best way to make your cat feel better is to simply give them space. Holding your cat or trying to comfort them could make them feel more threatened so give them time and try to ignore them. The process of settling down could take minutes or it could take hours.

Once your cat has calmed down and perhaps even come out from their hiding space you can try coaxing them over to you using food or catnip.

Try NOT to make eye contact with your cat until they are completely relaxed. Unlike humans, who view eye contact as a sign of trust and respect, cats view it as assertive and confrontational. Imagine when you see two cats fighting, they are often in a frozen stare down right before a battle.

Is it Possible to Punish Your Cat Remotely?

It is impractical to try and remotely punish your cat if you can’t reinforce the punishment when you are not home to monitor and supervise your cat. Booby traps teach your cat to avoid certain areas, like countertops, gas stoves, and even work to stop your cat from scratching the furniture.

Two booby traps that every owner should have in their training arsenal are tin cans and pieces of plastic carpet runner. The cans can be assembled into a pyramid in the places your cat goes when you are not home that they shouldn’t.

The idea is that the cat will knock over the cans when they enter the forbidden area and the cans will make a loud noise chasing kitty back to his hiding spot. The plastic carpet runner is great to flip nub side up on your cat is scratching that he shouldn’t be.

Why Do Cats Hide Away Sometimes?

Hiding makes your cat feel safe. In the wild cats will hunt for food alone. They are careful to avoid their enemies but they hide from the prey that they want to catch as well.

Cats love to be warm and when they hide they choose a smaller space to retain as much body heat as possible. They also love the smaller places because it is easier for them to defend their spot. Cats like to have emergency exits and so they may love hanging out in the new basket you just go or the Amazon box that just dropped off their cat chow.

Do Cats Get Jealous?

Not only can your cat get jealous, but they can also act upon that jealousy in a multitude of ways besides just hissing, growling, or swatting.

Determining the trigger can be a chore to narrow down but asking yourself common sense questions could solve the problem.

Cats are highly susceptible to change so if you have had a change in the household composition and you notice your cat has become increasingly agitated then you should spend more time with them doing cat things. Taking time to interact with your cat playing or snuggling on the couch is a sure-fire way to get adjusted to the new changes.

How Do You Apologize to Your Cat?

Cats are extremely intuned to our feelings and it is easy to accidentally upset your cat when you are emotional. Apologizing to your cat is easy to do but, have patience because just like with people your cat needs time to process what they are feeling.

If you try to apologize too early or you chase your cat down and corner them to get them to accept your apology you are setting yourself up to fail.

Make sure your cat comes to you before you begin the process of “making up”. Once your cat is ready to receive your apology you are free to give treats and pets. Your cat must regain trust over time so don’t expect miracles right away.

What does my cat think if I hiss at it?

When you hiss at your cat it is likely to think that it has done something wrong. And, it can go two ways. Either it will react back more aggressively, or it will back down and move away.

Either way, it is not going to be positive for your relationship. If it’s an aggressive response there may be a constant standoff between you.

On the other hand, if it backs away it may become scared of you and lose trust. And, when this happens it is not easily rectified.

Why does my cat hiss just as I walk away?

Your cat may hiss as you walk away because it is trying to communicate with you. It may be trying to say “I am not done, I have an issue”, or a warning to back away for a while.

Truthfully, sometimes it’s hard to say exactly which one it is without looking at the individual situation. But, how it reacts towards you later could help to see which one it was.

What dictates the volume of your cat’s hissing sound?

The volume of the cat’s hissing sound is largely dictated by the size of its chest, how aggressive the cat is, and its general health.

This combination makes a big difference. And, you can see a big difference from one cat’s sound to another.

When your cat hisses like this, take this as a territorial challenge. The cat is trying to claim dominance and sending you a message. Therefore, if you return back with a hiss, firstly it will be confused and lastly, it will take it as a challenge.

Why does my cat hiss, but then follow me?

A cat may hiss then follow you because it may have had a traumatic experience and reacted. This can happen for various reasons, such as they were attacked by another local cat.

If they were attacked, you may see unexplainable behavior like this for hours or even many days. You may be tempted to try and hold or cuddle your cat to try and calm it down. But, this is not ideal.

Why does my cat hiss and attack while I pet it?

A cat may attack while you pet it for several reasons such as an objection to where you touched it, or its not established full trust for you yet.

Where you touched it

If it is this it could be because you accidentally touched it in a sensitive area. For example, this could be the stomach area where cats are known to be sensitive.

Not established full trust for you yet

If the cat is new to your home and it has a troubled background, for example, it was collected from a shelter, it may react like this. This is because it may be feeling defensive.

Why do cats hiss and purr at the same time?

If a cat hisses and purrs at the same time it could be feeling anxious or sick. In most cases, cats purr when they are eating or feeling happy but this is not always the case.

And, if it is feeling anxious, and it is provoked at this time, then it could also hiss causing it to purr and hiss simultaneously.

Why is my cat hissing when I pick it up?

If a cat keeps hissing when you pick it up it could be because the cat is in pain. Sometimes it is not obvious because it could not be visible.

For example, it could have joint pain, such as arthritis. Or, dental issues. If this is the case then you will need to see the vet to confirm what the issue is to help you resolve it.

Why is my female cat hissing at my male cat

If your female cat is hissing at your male cat it could be because it may have been hurt by the male cat, or it’s a territorial issue.

Although it is often assumed that only male cats fight for territory, female cats are also known for this. However, if it’s more to do with being hurt, this could be a simple reaction to what your male cat has just done.

Lindsey Browlingdon