Cat Behavior: It’s A Good Idea To Let Hissing Cats Lie

Angry CatWhen it comes to cat behavior, it is generally safe to assume a hissing cat is not a happy cat. While you might naturally want to go over and reassure the cat, DON’T! That kind of hissing sound is a warning to back away. Step back, especially if you don’t want to get clawed, it’s best to let hissing cats lie.

If your cat is hissing, perhaps he is frightened and trying to defend himself verbally against his fear. Alternatively, he may be asserting he is boss and whoever or whatever crosses his path has entered enemy territory!

That hissing noise sure does sound like a snake, too, doesn’t it? Some animal experts have suggested cats adopted this habit by actually imitating snakes. Animals mimic other animal noises as a means of survival. Hissing means that cats are scared but at the ready to defend themselves if necessary!

Even a very mellow cat might hiss if a new pet arrives on the scene. Such an arrival can make the cat feel threatened, fearing the newcomer might steal his food, toys, or affection. That hissing sound lets the new arrival know the cat is in charge!

Cats may also hiss at an unfamiliar human in your home, especially if that person has any pet scents on his or her body. Trust me…we don’t want to meet a strange pet in our own home, and even the mere scent of one will tick us off!

In short, cats hiss to communicate any number of messages: fear, confusion, unhappiness and the readiness to go into attack mode if necessary!

If your cat is hissing, give him time to settle down. If he is being introduced to a new pet in the house, supervise the initial greetings and keep them safely apart until the upset cat adjusts to this new situation.

If your cat is hissing at an unfamiliar guest in your home, let your cat sniff an object, like a sock or washcloth that the guest has handled so the cat can become familiar with that person’s scent. Also, ignore the hissing if you can and just let your cat unwind on his own.

This article was recently published on our sister site,


Written by Karen


Karen is Publisher of Fully Feline. She also owns a pet care business in Overland Park, KS called Joy of Living.