Not all cat owners can correctly interpret the sounds that their pets make. It is challenging them to understand why cats hiss but still asking to be petted.
Actually, there are not so many reasons why a cat may hiss. You will be surprised, but not all of them are caused by stressful situations that make the animal express dissatisfaction and even show aggression towards others.
How Do Cats Hiss?
The sound occurs when a cat squeezes air through a curved tongue. It also pulls back its lips, presses its ears to its head, and arches its back.
Many behaviorists believe that a cat makes a hissing sound to mimic a snake’s hissing to intimidate opponents. This phenomenon is called mimicry. It is often found in the animal kingdom: animals imitate predators’ behavior or vocalization to protect themselves.
The Main Cause Of Hissing
The fact that a cat hisses or even growls does not mean that the animal does not love or respect its owner. Hissing in cats means, first of all, a warning that the animal does not like your actions and is ready to take extreme measures if you do not stop.
In nature, cats and other animals use this tool very actively. It’s the same if you told someone, “Stop it! I do not like it!”. By the way, you can also hiss at the cat if it does something terrible to you: bites or scratches painfully, throws itself, etc.
The cat will understand this warning and stop. However, this is usual hiss. But there are other options as well. Let’s take a look at them.
Cat Hiss But Wants To Be Petted
Sometimes the reason for the hiss, while the cat remains friendly, cannot be understood. But in fact, it lies in the breed or the individual characteristics of the pet. Therefore, you should know that:
- Siamese cats, Turkish Vans, Angora cats, as well as Ushers, Bengals, and other hybrid breeds hiss more than others by nature;
- Abyssinians, Orientals, Cornish Rexes, Egyptian Mau, Turkish Vans, and other cats that need increased physical activity can become aggressive as a result of lack of entertainment: they are encouraged to purchase interactive toys and play complexes, as well as pet them!;
- Hairless breeds may hiss but be content when petted with warm hands and may get angry and hiss when cold;
- Hissing when petted is a common thing for talkative cats. For them, it is not so much aggression and a final warning, but simply an expression of dissatisfaction and a manner of expressing themselves when they are not petted. That is, if your cat is, in principle, very talkative, then it will hiss more often than silent.
There was a fascinating case in my practice when a cat was trying to get the owner’s attention for an hour. It wanted to be petted, but nothing worked, and then it began to hiss at him.
Without a doubt, this had an effect – The owner paid attention to the cat. That is, it achieved its goal
Everyone is familiar with the game when the owner plays with the kitten, moving his hand or foot under the blanket. It is at this point that predatory behavior awakens.
Only a person perceives this situation as a game. The pet learns to hunt with all responsibility and therefore hisses. Recognizing this cause is simple:
- A cat attacks a person from an ambush
- When yelling back at the cat, the pet begins to behave even more aggressively
When this behavior goes too far, it becomes a problem.
The feline instinct for ownership is much stronger than the human instinct. The pet can hiss if it wants to show itself as the master of the situation. Even if the animal is the only one in the house, it is driven by this instinct at the genetic level.
To understand that this reason provokes the roar, just look at the circumstances under which the pet growls.
If it protects food or a favorite toy, then the owner’s instinct has played in it. What to do in this situation? First, you need to move away from the cat at a safe distance since roar and hiss are the last warnings before an attack. The cat may bite or scratch you while being petted.
The cat also growls and hisses when preparing to become a mother or immediately after kittens’ birth but remains kind, especially if the person did not manage to undermine its trust. She may still want to be petted. You do not have to restore it, showing the pet that you will not hurt either its or its offspring.
Signs Of Coming Stress
The hiss may not go away on its own and will likely only get worse over time. It will make the unwanted behavior even more pronounced if the cat is not petted when it wants to. In animals, chronic stress affects mental health as in humans.
With continued exposure, stress suppresses the nervous system and makes the cat more vulnerable to disease, which further increases stress—a vicious circle.
Besides, she may develop severe depression, which will exacerbate behavior problems when combined with anxiety. To maintain the health of the cat and the calmness in the house, it is necessary to start showing your care as early as possible.
If you see your cat meowing, hissing, or showing anxiety, don’t be discouraged. Thanks to your love, patience, petting, and willingness to help, she has every chance of recovery and returns to an entire, healthy life.
Why Do Animals Like To Be Petted?
The touches of the petting hand remind animals of the communication of the mother’s tongue when licking. These sensations emotionally link the baby to the mother and release the “hormones of happiness.”
This is especially evident in cats: when a cat is petted, it often begins to “knead” with its front paws, reproducing the movements with which the kitten stimulates the mother’s mammary gland when feeding.
Human affection causes such a reaction even in adult domestic animals. During domestication, a person unconsciously selected individuals with some infantile traits, exceptionally responsive to tenderness.
In no case punish or scold the cat for hissing because your pet has no other way to express its emotions. Be attentive to it, and it will reward you with its affection and love.
Zoey is a long-time pet owner and animal rights advocate, a vital part of Purrfect n’ Pawesome. She shares her unique experiences and learnings with her readers to enhance their understanding of pet behavior and nutrition. Along with being an active pet writer, she volunteers at multiple animal shelters, rescue centres with some bespokenly awesome pets.
Zoey has a lot to share when raising the pets and spending life being their true friends. She has a quite pampered Persian cat and a Ragdoll, whom she loves the most. Readout her blogs to know more about being a responsible parent to your beloved pets.
“I love to be around cats and dogs; that’s my passion and my trick to get away from all the negativity and soaking in unconditional love and affection. Being attached to this platform gives me the reason to be vocal about pet love, care, and nurturing. Although I am not an expert or veterinarian by any means, I have a lot of experience and learnings to share with my fellow readers.”