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Why Is My Cat Hissing at Me All of a Sudden? 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Vet approved

	Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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A cat usually hisses when it feels uncomfortable or threatened by something in its environment, either another cat another animal, or even a human. Yes, it can even be their human! But an occasional snub isn’t the same as your cat suddenly hissing at you whenever they see you, especially if they’re typically affectionate and cuddly.

Luckily, this behavior is often caused by environmental, social, or physical factors, not a newfound disdain for you. But to solve the problem, you must figure out why your cat is hissing at you in the first place. Let’s dive in and see what vets say are the most common reasons a cat might start hissing at you.

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The 4 Reasons Your Cat Might Be Hissing at You Suddenly

1. Fear

A cat hisses usually as a reaction to an immediate situation. If your cat is suddenly hissing at you it might feel fear about something in the environment, a change in your physical appearance, or your movements. Are you wearing a new hat? Are you moving differently? It is important to analyze what could potentially be causing your cat to feel afraid, and to give the cat some space. At this point, a cat might try to retrieve and hide but will potentially bite or snap in defense as a form of fear-induced aggression. It is best to retreat a step or two, discreetly observe the cat, and wait for it to calm down

angry cat hissing
Image Credit: Fang_Y_M, Pixabay
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2. Introduction of a New Person or Animal

If you’ve just gotten a new cat, moved your spouse in, or even just had a friend over a few too many times for your cat’s comfort, they might start hissing at you. Whenever you are adding to the social environment of your cat, it is important to do gradual introductions and analyze the situation. If you can relate the sudden behavior of your cat hissing with bringing a new cat or person into its environment, it is time to make a physical separation for a while. Once your cat had time to decompress you can start to gradually introduce the two subjects. Short and positive introductions using food or treats as a reward for calm behavior and gradual approximations usually do the trick. A hissing and scared cat is not in a good mental state, so you as the guardian and caretaker should give your cat the time and experience it needs to have a positive association with any addition to their social environment.

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3. Your Cat Needs Space

Cats can also hiss at each other or toward other creatures in an attempt to establish boundaries and let the other one know it is time to back up.
If a cat has hissed at you it is better to live them alone and provide space. Discreetly observe your cat from a distance to try to examine their behavior and if there is something specific in the environment that is scaring them. During this time avoid speaking or interacting with your cat. You should keep in mind that it is safer to leave the cat alone, but whenever this is not possible, protection such as a thick towel must be used to carefully handle the cat.

Abyssinian cat hisses
Image Credit: Slava Dumchev, Shutterstock
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4. They Are in Pain

The smoking gun for this one is whether your cat hisses at you all the time or only when you touch them in certain places or try to pick them up. If it’s the latter, your cat may be in pain. After all, touching a wounded body part rarely feels good.

Cats are exceptional at hiding their symptoms of illnesses. This biological drive protects them from opportunistic predators that might want to turn them into a tasty, easy-to-capture meal. While an indoor cat doesn’t suffer those same risks, it still has the biological drive to hide symptoms of illnesses. Your cat may not be forthcoming about its illness or injury and may only react when you touch them and make it hurt.

If you suspect that pain is the cause of your cat suddenly hissing at you please visit the veterinarian soon. Since cats usually hide their pain and discomfort, by the time we can notice that something is wrong it is usually something that really needs attention. Please do not waste valuable time waiting to see if it passes.

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Final Thoughts

It’s scary when our pets start acting out of the ordinary. Thankfully, this problem is typically resolvable without medical attention. The stressful, stressful lives led by cats worldwide cause most cases of atypical hissing.

However, if your cat only hisses when you touch them (not before you try, once you come into physical contact), you’ll want to take your cat to the vet since this is a sign that your cat is in pain and might need medical attention.

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Featured Image Credit: Anatoliy Cherkas, Shutterstock