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Why Is My Cat Hissing At Her Kittens? (11 Devilish Signs)

If you have seen your cat hiss at its kittens you may be wondering why this has happened and if you should be worried…

Why Is My Cat Hissing at Her Kittens?

Your cat is likely to be hissing at her kittens because she is either scalding them for being naughty, stressed out, anxious, or having a separation from them for a long period resulting in her not recognizing them.

So, now you know. But, could these lead to violence? How can you stop this from happening? How long does it take for this behavior to stop?

11 Main reasons why your cat is hissing at its kittens:

Should I hiss back at my cat?

A cat hissing.

As discussed earlier there are several reasons for your cat behaving in this way. But, here is some detail on the main reasons:

1. They Are Trying to Teach Their Kittens

Most of the time, cats are quite patient with their kittens. So, whatever they teach, they do it with extreme love and care.

However, there might still be some instances when a mother cat may hiss at her kitten to teach her something. So, if you see your cat hissing at her kittens while teaching them something, don’t worry, it is natural!

2. They Are Scolding Their Kittens

Kittens are a ball of mischief! Due to this reason, they may cross boundaries, they aren’t allowed to. When this happens, a mother cat may take notice and start hissing them.

For example, sometimes a kitten may start getting aggressive while playing with the mother cat’s tail. During this time, the cat may scold their kitten to put them in a place like any human mother would do!

3. They Have Been Separated

It’s highly likely that when you separate a kitten from its mother, the mother might see them as a stranger.

Due to this reason, they will start hissing at them and treating them like any other cat.

4. They May Have Stress or Anxiety Problems

Many cats experience stress and anxiety. It is quite common. Hence, if your cat continually keeps hissing at her kittens, you may want to take her to the vet and get her checked.

Chances are that she may have some kind of stress or anxiety that may or may not be related to her kittens.

5. Mother cat is just tired

When the mother cat gets tired it can get frustrated and hiss. If you think about it, she has many tasks. For example, feeding, cleaning, protecting them, training them how to use the litter tray, etc.

So, it’s understandable that, at some point, she will get tired and hiss at her kittens to give her a break. Don’t think of this as a problem. It is a short-term phase while she relaxes.

6. Because of weaning

Weaning is the time for the mom cat to train the kittens to become self-sufficient and transition to adult cat food. As they get towards the end of this phase you may see her hiss at them.

This is because she is indicating that they have done weaning now and it’s time for them to look out for themselves now. Basically, it’s time to do your own thing and move on.

7. Time to hunt for food

When it’s time for the mom cat to hunt for food she may hiss at any kitten that attempts to follow her. This is a warning to say, “I need to do this on my own”.

She knows that these kittens are not ready for hunting yet. So, it’s a gentle warning to tell them to relax and wait for her to return with the food.

It’s similar to us humans. Has your mom ever said to you, “Wait here, just popping to the shops for some food, be back later”? Well, it’s the same concept.

8. Telling them it’s time to leave

When the kittens get to a certain age, after they have weaned, and can look after themselves, the mother cat may hiss at them to leave.

For us humans, this may seem harsh, and unheard of. And, yes, it is for us. However, for cats, this is expected behavior.

9. Hormonal imbalance

In some cases, a mother cat can have a hormonal imbalance. This can cause several issues such as the ability to offer the correct care for her kittens.

However, in extreme cases, this can cause a cat to have phantom pregnancies. This is where they are not pregnant but have similar symptoms, including labor symptoms.

10. Unexpected changes in routine

Sometimes, when small things change in your home, such as a new visitor, or family member, it can unsettle your cat. When this happens, in some circumstances, it may act aggressive and hiss.

This could be directed at her kittens, or even towards you. And, unlike the other reasons, this could be hard to recognize. Why? Because to you, nothing significant has changed. But, to your cat, it’s everything.

11. Invading space

If your cat is new to its own space the addition of kittens can frustrate it at times. Meaning, it could lash out or hiss in this manner. This could be a temporary thing, as it re-adjusts to the new kittens.

However, some cats struggle to get past it. And, for those, you need to either find ways to provide more room, or another strategy altogether.

12. Lack of exits

Following on from invading space, there is a lack of exits. So, if you tend to have your cat and kittens cooped up in one room because you think it’s the best for them. Well, this may not be.

The mother cat may appreciate some space from time to time, or even for her kittens to wander, even if it’s just for a short distance.

Could Your Cat Get Violent Towards Her Kittens?

A cat can get violent towards her kittens. As of now, there aren’t any hardcore reasons for this.

However, some of the common reasons do include hormonal changes and stress due to changing environmental conditions, such as extreme noise, or too many cats.

What Should You Do if Your Cat Is Hissing at Her Kittens?

If you witness your cat hissing at your kitten, this may come as a big surprise, but it is always a good idea to let them be on their own. You may have wondered what exactly to do if the cat is constantly hissing at her kittens, so hopefully, this has helped.

When cats are hissing at their kittens, they are usually just teaching them something or telling them to stay within their limits. Hence, it is more of a disciplinary hissing than an aggressive one.

However, whenever your cat does this, make sure you keep a keen eye on them. It is because they may hurt their kitten too and you wouldn’t want that to happen. So, in this case, you may have to intervene.

Why Is My Cat Being Mean to Her Kittens?

If you feel like your cat is being mean to her kittens, given below are certain points you need to consider.

  • Your cat may simply teach them discipline by hissing and being aggressive at them. This can be done as a punishment too.
  • Your cat’s kittens may now be old enough to fend for themselves. In this case, the mother cat will stop treating them like her kids, but rather as adult cats.
  • Your cat may have had more kittens and she’s preoccupied with them. Due to this reason, she may hiss at the older kittens.

However, if your cat is simply being too aggressive, it is a good idea to take her to the vet to check for any stress symptoms.

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Hissing at My Kitten?

If you want your cat to stop hissing at your kitten, you can follow the below tips.

01. Keep Things Separate

Cats don’t love sharing anything, be it their bed or food bowl. Hence, you should always make sure that you keep everything separated.

You should give your kitten as well as your cat separate rooms, separate beds, and even separate food bowls to avoid any conflict.

02. Don’t Let Them Interact Much

You need to make sure that the meeting between your kitten and cat is short and sweet. Now, this may seem like a weird alternative since you can’t always keep a check on them. But, you can always try to keep them in another room.

03. Use a Diffuser

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Sometimes cats may get aggressive towards each other. So, to avoid this, you can also make use of diffusers (Click here to see the reviews, on Amazon #Ad) available in the market.

These diffusers help in keeping both the cat and kitten calm and peaceful to avoid any fights.

04. Give Equal Attention

Lastly, your cat may hiss at the kitten if she feels like she isn’t getting enough attention. On the other hand, your kitten may develop separation anxiety too if you don’t tend to her.

So, it becomes important that you give both the cats equal attention to maintain peace and harmony in your house.

05. Slowly integrate them

One mistake that some cat owners make is trying to push the cat and kitten together too soon. And, this is when it can cause friction.

To avoid that, offer them a way that they can see each other, and smell, but without actually touching. For example, a simple baby gate, or a clear barrier in a doorway.

This will allow them to get used to each other and a way for you to monitor how they interact in a controlled way. If you see that they are getting along well after a few days you can consider removing the barrier.

However, if there is some hostility, growling, or hissing you will need to give it more time. Don’t be alarmed by this though. It will happen sometimes as they get used to each other. And, hopefully, this should pass in a few days.

The key thing is, do not try to rush the process.

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Stop Hissing at Kittens?

An angry looking cat with its claws and nails out.

An angry-looking cat with its claws and nails out.

Cats may take around 7-10 days to get familiar with the other cat. Yet, if it takes more than 7 days, you may want to let them mingle a little bit with some physical constraints and for a shorter duration. This will help them feel familiar with each other.

You can also give them some treats and encourage them to be friendly with each other.

Is It Normal for a Mother Cat to Attack Her Kittens?

It’s not normal for a mother cat to attack her kittens. Some cat mothers may hiss at their kittens or claw at them once. But, that’s all. However, if your cat is attacking her kittens, you need to look out for the below factors.

Firstly, it is possible that the mother cat doesn’t wish to nurse the kitten as she may feel like the kitten is old and grown-up. On the other hand, a mother cat may also feel like the kitten isn’t her own sometimes. In this case, she may attack them.

Lastly, if a kitten is touched by a human, the mother cat may get aggressive and stop nursing the kitten in the worst cases.

Why Do Cats Hiss?

There are many reasons why a cat may hiss. Given below are some of the common ones.

  • They are warning the other person/animal to stay away
  • They may be in physical pain or even mental pain, due to stress
  • They may be feeling unsafe
  • They may be hissing during rough play
  • They may be hissing if you annoy or irritate them

Can a Mother Cat Live With Her Kittens?

Contrary to the myths, a mother cat can definitely live with her kittens even when they grow up if they live in the same house.

In fact, even if the cat has a new litter, she will allow the older offspring to nurse from her. Hence, a mother cat can definitely live with her kittens if they are taken care of properly.

Could a Mom Cat Start Hissing at a Kitten After Being Spayed?

A mom cat may start hissing (click here if it does this to your husband) at a kitten after being spayed. It could be because the mother cat can sense the unfamiliar smell on the kitten’s body. However, there’s no sure reason for this yet.

Is it normal for cats to hiss at kittens?

If your cat is new to the kittens, then yes this is regarded as normal behavior. However, it should not stay that way. In time, like within a few days, you should expect this to pass.

In either case, it’s important to separate them and monitor how they get along closely at this stage. This will help you to get an idea of when it’s OK to start to integrate them.

Do cats get jealous of a new kitten?

Yes. Some cats do get jealous of a new kitten. And, this is mainly because a new kitten can gain more attention than them when they are new.

However, it’s not just kittens that can cause this. Cats can also feel jealous of babies, other pets, or even objects like a smartphone.

Basically, anything that might take your attention from them may be deemed as a threat to their relationship with you.

Should I ignore a hissing cat?

No. Hissing should not be ignored. In fact, any type of aggressive behavior should not be. This is because it does not address the route cause of the issue.

Also, if this issue is not addressed, it could cause the cat to become worse and border on unmanageable.

Lindsey Browlingdon