Why Do Cats Hiss?

by Michael
(London, UK)

Puma hissing - photo by MacJewell

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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
Do as you please
by: Michael (PoC Admin)

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

Aug 26, 2009
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 !!!

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