Male Serval Morpheus Hissing - photo copyright Michael Broad - please respect it.
In this video showing the serval hiss, it is my fault that she hissed. I provoked her.
The reason for provoking her was to get her to move away from a homemade cat tease I made and was using. It had sellotape on it and she was chewing it.
Probably falsely, I had visions of her swallowing sellotape. The tease was under her as if she had captured prey. I felt that I had to get her off the tease.
Accordingly, I got close and provoked a response. While I did this I videoed it. Why not? I couldn't pass up the chance of a bit of video material. Serena, this fine serval cat, obliged.
Serena was in fact a very nice serval cat. But there is going to be the serval hiss whatever you do, really. This is because they are wildcats and you are invading their space.
Morpeheus, a close male serval neighbour to Serena also hissed at me a lot, basically for the same reasons. She also had a couple of swipes at me. I deserved it all.
Sometimes I think that servals hiss for reasons other then defensiveness. It is almost a sign of pleasure.