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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.

Top 10 Cat Breeds

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.

Lindsey Browlingdon