How to Understand Your Cat Growling and Hissing ?

Cat Growling and Hissing

​Every cat owner has heard about growling and hissing feline friends. Although you think that your beloved friend is the sweetest kitty ever lived, if he felt threatened or needed to express caution to anybody, he’ll probably hiss and growled in an instant. Not only cats do these but also most animals.

We find our feline friends to be sweet and cute but sometimes in their lives, they are mysterious and confusing. Hissing and growling behaviors are often don’t understand by some owners.

​Cat Growling and hissing can be an indication that there is something wrong with your friend or that he’s not feeling well. Since they cannot speak, they communicate through body language. Felines are very vocal; they communicate by creating noises with other pets.

​Cats hiss to convey aggression or fear. In the wildlife, it’s a way to start an aggressive fight. Predators like cats need to converge energy for locating a prey, using too much energy in the fight will not do good on them. In this way, cats hissing can be a way to deliver threats without actually fighting and consuming so much energy.

​If your feline friend hisses than normal most especially when being pet, it can be a sign that he’s in pain. Immediately bring him to your vet to examine any medical issues such as dental problems or arthritis. Other medical conditions like hyperthyroidism and nervous system disorders can also be a sign of hissing.

What is the Cause of Hissing?

Cat Growling

​If your vet doesn’t see any medical issues and you want to stop this behavior, you need to know first the cause of the problem. So, why does my cat growl and hiss at me?

Outside Disturbance

​If your cat continuously growls and hiss and seems to be staring at one place, examine him properly if he’s looking out the window that caused him to be disturbed. Most of the time, it will have its attention on a bird or any other animals moving around your backyard that scares him a lot. We all know that birds are usually the common prey for cats.


​Despite the fact the hissing and growling seem to be an angry behavior, they can also be an indication of fear and act of susceptible to attack. One good example of this is when your feline growls at the new cat at home that is much bigger. In this way, his initial reaction is to defend himself against the other cat’s attack.


​Cats also hiss when everything around him seems to be a threat. If a new cat is brought at home, he may start creating territorial instinct.

Distress and Worry

​Most cat owners are aware the felines are not really sociable but they still need love and attention too. One reason why your cat hisses is that he might be distress or upset with the owner. It could be the behavior appears after the owner returns from vacation. It’s their way of saying he’s left alone at home and he’s not really happy about it. Later on, the behavior will subside eventually after they expressed their thoughts and emotions.

In Physical Pain

​If your friend growls and hisses when you try to pet him, it can be an indication that he’s in pain. Pain generate aggression. Your cat may be suffering from dental issues, arthritis or any other serious medical conditions. Immediately take your cat to the vet for proper assessment.

Involve Other Pets

cat hissing and growling

​If you have brought a new pet at home, your cat may hiss and growl to the new pet. It’s their way of saying who the boss is. This can possibly lead to a fight until boundaries are developed.

​If you already figured out the roof of the problem, why your cat hiss and growl, this is the right step to work with your vet or trainer to stop such behavior and lessen the underlying issues in regards to fear and aggression. If the training is successful, your friend will have nothing to hiss about in the future.

Always Pay Attention to the Warning

​Hissing and growling behavior can be a warning sign so never ignore it. If the behavior is not addressed properly, the next thing your cat will do is to bite or scratch. Here are some helpful tips to handle such situation before leading to a serious problem.

  • ​Do not force him. Give time to calm down
  • If you need to interact with your cat, create a pathway to escape
  • Have patience. Let him get used to the new smell before petting him
  • Never punish him for such behavior
  • Assess the root of the problem that causing your friend to be threatened
  • Always use positive reinforcement to help them feel relaxed and comfortable

Growling Behavior

Growling Behavior

​Aside from howling, growling can be a sign of being frightened or a way to deal with a threat. Hissing is usual for cats and may be associated with a growl which adds more frightening appearance of the cat. When eating, cats also growl. It’s their way of avoiding other animals to chase the same prey.

​Cats growl if hissing is not effective to other animals. It’s a sign that your friend should not be disturbed whatever he’s currently doing. The high pitch of growling can be a sign of a fight.

​If the cat appears to be calmer while doing such behavior, you should be aware to take this threat as a serious one. A calmer cat has a tendency to hurt other pets around or even the owners than just a hissing cat which is most of the time just trying to escape from the scenario.

​Cats hiss and growl at the same time due to fear or being threatened. To avoid these behaviors, it’s necessary to address the problem that causing him to be afraid. Doing this can help your friend live a normal and happier life

What Should You Do?

​The very first thing you need to do when your cat shows such aggressive behavior without any reason is to talk to your vet. The vet can assess your cat’s condition and make sure he’s not suffering from any medical issues that causing the unwanted behaviors. If your cat seems to be healthy, the vet can refer you to a pet behaviorist who can eventually help you figure out what triggers the hissing and growling and advice some necessary steps at home to solve the problem.

​In most cases, by just being aware of what is happening to your cat can prevent further violence. Although you cannot control the cause of aggression, pet owners can give their feline friend a space that he needs without injuring anyone at home. It takes a lot of patience and good work to deal with this issues. Eventually, cats easily get calmer if you know how to handle the situation.