The enigmatic aura of cats has been fascinating humans for centuries. Though we have domesticated the feline, many of their behavioral traits still baffle us. One of the most misunderstood behavioral traits of cats is hissing. Many people think that cats hiss to express aggression. While hissing can be a sign of aggression, it is not the only reason why cats exhibit this behavior. In many cases, cats hiss when they are experiencing pain or are fearful of someone or something. To help understand your feline friend better, we, in this post, take a look at some common causes of hissing.
- They feel threatened by other animals or people
When confronted by another animal or a person whom they consider an external aggressor, every animal produces some kind of a sound warning them to keep their distance. Your cat is no different. While hissing, cats often show their teeth to intimidate the other animal or the person.
Contrary to popular belief, this behavior can be more of a defensive mechanism than an aggressive attitude. If you find your cat hissing at another animal, it’s best to separate them before the tension escalates. In case the feline is apprehensive of you or a family member approaching them, reconsider the way you are handling them. Give the animal some space. If your cat hisses at you, slowly remove yourself from the tense situation, giving them some time to cool off.
- Motherly instincts
Just like other mammals, cats are extremely protective of their babies. When a cat becomes a mother, her motherly instinct kicks in. Mother cats hiss at unfamiliar people or animals approaching their babies. Even sociable cats can exhibit this behavior. If your feline friend has become a mother recently, consider giving her some extra space, which will help them feel secure.
- Apprehensiveness of the unfamiliar
Just like humans and other animals, cats too are wary of change. Many cats hiss when exposed to a new environment or approached by unfamiliar people. In many cases, cats hiss when a new toy is introduced to them.
To address this problem, practice what doctors call systematic desensitization with counter-conditioning. The method involves introducing low levels of things that your cat fears. During the activity, pet your cat or offer treats that will encourage them to approach the thing.
- Physical discomfort
Though physical pain is not one of the most common reasons why cats hiss, it isn’t unheard of. Cats suffering from arthritis often hiss when someone touches them in a way that causes the pain to flare up. To address this problem, study your cat’s behavior and make a note of areas that your cat doesn’t like to be touched. Use your findings to alter your behavior accordingly.
Some cats hiss at people who annoy them. Others may exhibit the behavior to express displeasure. To calm your cat, ask the person to stop the annoying behavior.