Cat Hissing and Growling? Feline Behavior Explained

hissing cat
Reading Time: 6 minutes


Usually a mild problem; however, these behaviors can become a serious issue.

Table of Content

Key points

  • Cats tend to hiss and growl to show you that they are unhappy, worried, angry, or feel threatened.
  • Sometimes hissing or growing is a reaction to pain.
  • Hissing can vary in severity from a silent facial expression to an angry “spit.”
  • Your veterinarian will need to give your cat a thorough check to rule out a pain cause.
  • Anti-anxiety or calming medications, sprays, and diffusers can help.

Common in:

Symptoms and types:

Stress is a common cause of growling and hissing in cats.

Understanding the diagnostics

Cats might growl or hiss at new pets or new children in the household as a way of setting boundaries and warning the new addition not to cross them!

Learning about the causes

1. Setting boundaries & warning

2. Pain

3. Stress

Remember, hissing and growling are your cat’s way of warning you not to approach.

Best treatment options

Home remedies and their effectiveness

When to see a vet


Dr. Hannah Godfrey MRCVS graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011. Although she initially worked in mixed practice treating all species, she found a love for small animal work and has worked exclusively with dogs and cats since 2014. She lives in Wales with her partner, son, and two cats (named Poppy and Ashton Kutcher), and writes comedy fiction in her spare time.

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