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Why does my cat hiss at my dad?

If your cat is going crazy when your Dad is at your house, you may be left wondering what her problem is, right?

Why does my cat hiss at my dad?

Your cat is hissing at your Dad because she is either scared, reacting to violation of her personal space (without your dad knowing) or she has suffered from a man before and associates your dad with this pain.

Now that you know some reasons why she has reacted in this way, let me explain how so many of these issues may have occurred, but more importantly, what you can do about it.

Why is my cat scared of my dad?

Why does my cat hiss at my dad?

A cat hissing.

Your cat may be scared of your dad for some simple reasons. For example, your dad may have a loud deep voice that may make it fear him. In some cases it could be something physical like your dad may have accidentally squashed its paw and it never forgot it.

Although some of these situations may not sound major to a cat it could be a big issue and make them recent your dad. It is like that old saying: “once bitten, twice shy”, are you with me?

Can a cat hiss but be friendly?

It is unlikely for a cat to hiss and act friendly. This is because hissing is their way of expressing fear or feeling threatened. It is not a way to dominate, it’s more of a defensive mechanism. Therefore, it would not be followed with friendliness.

If you see a cat hissing in this way it’s safe to assume it is not happy with you or another person. This is one of nature’s ways of warning us to back off.

Why does my cat hiss at a certain person?

A cat will only hiss at a person (is it arguing? click here) when they feel threatened or scared. So, it’s not because they have randomly picked them out. There is a reason for this and it may be hard to understand why just by watching it happen.

It is recommended that the person on the receiving end responds by backing off because the cat could be tempted to react with an attack to defend itself.

What has triggered this response to my dad?

As discussed briefly, it is one of these issues:

  • Fear
  • Violation of personal space
  • Historical poor treatment from adult males


The number one reason for this hissing response is fear. The tricky thing is, it can be for many different reasons. So, the challenge to you is to find out what the underlying issue is.

If she only hisses at your dad, then read the next section, I have a few suggestions for this. However, if she is hissing at all men, again, I have got you, keep reading.

Violation of personal space

This one needs a bit of digging first. Did your cat start hissing the moment your Dad entered the door? If yes, skip this and move onto the next section.

If not, then there is a good chance that your dad violated her personal space. An example of this is getting to close to her while she was napping on the sofa. Or maybe he brushed past her and hurt her, without even noticing.

If its the latter, your dad may have not noticed. And, the problem is, cats take a while before they can forgive you for this (more on this later).

Historical poor treatment from adult males

Poor treatment to your kitty may be hard to detect, especially if this happened before you owned her, are you with me? If this is the case, your cat may be fearful of all men, based on this experience.

Heard the term “once bitten, twice shy?”, same thing here. To make matters worse, your cat can detect testosterone and may trigger her hissing reaction, not just to your Dad, but other males.

Should I hiss back at my cat?

No, you should not hiss back at your cat, if she hisses at you. I know, it could be tempting. But why? The reality is, its dangerous. But, let me explain.

When your cat hisses, it is her way of saying: “Oi, I am warning you, back up, or else”, are you with me? It’s your final warning.

Before what, though?

Well, if you are not sure, let me spell it out. The next step could mean her biting or scratching you (Click here to see why your cat may paw at smooth surfaces). Either of these is unwanted.

Other Reasons Cats May Hiss

In reality, there are various other reasons why your cat may hiss. For that reason, in this section, I will explain a few of them, to help you understand what may be happening with your kitty.

Medical Issues

Firstly there are quite a few medical issues that can cause your cat to hiss at you, out of sheer frustration. Such as the following:

  • Dental issues
  • Joint pain (Arthritis)
  • Urinary Infection
  • etc.

A clear indication of this is if she hisses suddenly, which seems out of character. She may be suffering a lot of pain, and this may have resulted in this reaction. If this is the case, you need to take her to the vets as soon as possible (Click here to see why I like these lightweight carriers for short journeys to the vets, etc), to find out exactly what the issue is.

Tried to Handle Her?

If you’ve been trying to handle your cat, which is a usual thing that you would do, and she has reacted with a real sharp hiss. Then this could be another telltale sign that she is feeling some pain and needs some assistance.

Changes in your home?

Another thing that can unsettle your cat and make them do unexpected behavior, such as hissing at you, is if there have been changes in their environment.

This may be the addition of a new family member, maybe you have changed home or someone has left the family home, are you with me?

The reality is, cats are creatures of habit and small things can unsettle them. These small things can make them act unreasonably in our minds, but deep down, there is a root cause problem for this.

Why does my cat hiss for no reason?

Older cat biting new kitten belly.

Angry cat hissing.

If you have seen your cat hiss and it appears to be for no reason you can rest assured there is a real reason. The challenge is finding out what it is. It could be obvious to your cat but the complete opposite to you.

For example, it could be something you did without knowing, could you have accidentally stepped on its paw? Closed the door on its tail? Are you with me?

How do you stop your cat from hissing at you?

One of the biggest mistakes cat owners make is to try and comfort their cat, while she is hissing at them. This is a desperate attempt to try and stop it from happening.

I understand this makes logical sense because in your mind this might be how you would like to be treated. However, for her, the best thing to do is to give her some space.

When I say space, I don’t mean wait a few minutes and then try and handle her again, no!

I mean at least a few hours before she may be willing to come back to her senses and willing to play with you again, are you with me?

If you’ve been patient and waited a few hours. Try and coax her back into your arms using a nice friendly treat (Click here to see if a popsicle is acceptable). Or, maybe some catnip (Click here to see the crazy effects catnip has on cats), if that’s her thing.

My experience with this…

I remember when I was a child and was playing with my favorite cat. I remember walking out of a door and accidentally stepping on her tail.

I was only small at the time and it really shocked me. The hissing sound that she made quite frightened me because it was out of character for her.

I remember trying to make the same mistake most make, by trying to comfort her immediately after because I felt so guilty about it.

It didn’t go down very well. And, it taught me an important lesson, that you should take time and give your cat space in these situations.

What should you do if your two cats are hissing at each other?

If you have two cats and noticed that they are fighting or hissing at each other (click here if its not doing this) it is a good idea to stop it from happening. Obviously, you need to be careful that you do not put yourself in danger.

It is not a good idea to leave them to fight it out. Like in the previous section, I explained that you need to give them some time apart to recover, the same applies here.

Catnip & Treats

Other tactics that you can use to stop this happening is calming therapy, such as catnip or pheromones (Click here to see why I rated these 3 pheromone collars for aggressive cats) to try and see if it will stop them from reacting in this manner.

Will cats hold grudges?.

Yes. cat hold grudges, but it won’t last long. If your cat is hissing at you and you know you have done something to upset her, you may be wondering if she will hold a grudge.

The reality is a cat’s long-term memory is really not that great. Therefore, she will hold a grudge, but, for a very short period of time. After a few hours, she will likely forgive or forget.

However, they do have memory by association. So obviously, if you start to abuse the cat, then that is a whole different matter because she won’t forget that.

So, there is no need to worry about your cat not wanting to be around you or hissing long term if you made a mistake.

Why doesn’t my cat hiss?

If you have a cat that doesn’t seem to hiss at all then this is not necessarily a problem. Maybe you have come across other cats that do this and you may be scratching your head thinking why she doesn’t do the same, right?

The reality is each cat has different ways of dealing with things. Some cats may react aggressively (Click here to see why a 7-Month-Old Kitten may act aggressively), but not necessarily hiss, are you with me?

Therefore, you need to look at the big picture. Focus on her general demeanor and behavior instead.

However, If your cat did hiss once upon a time, but now, all of a sudden, it is not hissing. Then, this is different. Because it shows a change of behavior and could be a reason to be concerned.

If this is the case then it is advisable to consult your vet to see if there is anything to be concerned about.

How does a cat hiss?

If you have ever seen a cat hiss you may be wondering how this is even possible.  Your cat will use its tongue and the arch in its upper portion of its mouth. This creates a vessel that she pushes air through at a rapid rate.

While it is doing this she typically pushes her ears down. At the same time creating an aggressive and threatening body posture by arching her back.

If you have ever been brave enough to get close to a cat while it is hissing, which I do not recommend you do at all, by the way, you would have noticed the big blast of air that comes from its mouth when she is doing this.

Lindsey Browlingdon