Why Do Cats Hiss?

by Michael
(London, UK)

Puma hissing - photo by MacJewell

Puma hissing - photo by MacJewell

Why do cats hiss? The answer comes from Desmond Morris, a well known British zoologist. The cat's hiss sounds very like a snake's hiss. It is meant to. The intention of the hissing cat is to cause his or her attacker to hesitate because of a predator's instinctive fear of snakes. The evolution of the cat hiss happened over many years. The cat's hiss is accompanied by:

  • snake like tail wagging and twitching
  • snake like spitting
  • snake like appearance of a curled up cat with the right markings (tabby the most common coat)!

ocelot curled up like a snake
Ocelot looking like a snake - photo by guppiecat

Mimicking a snake is an effective defense for the cat. In an unusual twist to this, some individual cats are not fearful of snakes. See Motzie caught a snake. Motzie is perhaps the most famous individual cat on the planet. He is a F2 Savannah cat.

Here are some cat sounds including the Sand Cat hiss. This hiss starts with a click. The click is the spit! -- Cat Sounds WAV WMA MP3

From Why Do Cats Hiss? to Why Do Cats

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Why Do Cats Hiss?

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Aug 26, 2009
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Do as you please
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

Hi Ruth, you can do as you want! Thanks for your useful contributions.


Aug 26, 2009
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hissing cats
by: Ruth

That's very good as it explains it so well. Would you mind if I put a link to this on any future questions on 'why do cats hiss ?'
I very much enjoy all your interesting pages !!!


This entry was posted in Cat Behavior and tagged , by Michael Broad. Bookmark the permalink.

About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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