How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Cher Your Own Question
Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20815
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
Type Your Cat Question Here...
Cher is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Why does my cat keep growling and hissing when playing with ...

This answer was rated:

Why does my cat keep growling and hissing when playing with fluffy toys? We thought it was associated with catnip but it seems to be with any toy now. He has been aggressive to his sister but the noise does scare here and he tends to run off with the toys. He has recently been neutured but the problems have got worse.

How old is your cat? Is his sister the same age?
Is she spayed?

For how long has he been exhibiting this behavior?

In what ways is he aggressive with his sister, and has he always been like that with her? How does she react when he's aggressive and/or when he growls at the toys and runs off with them?

From where did you get your kitties? A shelter, a friend, etc.?

Thanks for any further detail.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: They are from the same litter and are 5 months old. She hasn't been spayed yet but is due to be spayed in 2 weeks.

Previously this growling and hissing behaviour was only displayed when playing with toys that contained catnip but now it is any furry toy. We've removed all catnip toys from the house as the behaviour was much worse with these. This behaviour started about a month before Christmas. They are currently house cats as we live by a main road so toys are there main source of entertainment and pray. We are moving in a couple of months where they will go outside.

He growls at his sister which appears to be his way of warning her off. She tends to keep her distant and hide under a chair. On occassions we have had to seperate them as we haven't been sure if he would attack. He growls and hisses at us when we approach but will let us take the toys without attacking and the growling instantly stops. He is only aggressive in this way when he has furry toys. They play fight quite often like most kittens without too much fuss but occassionally he makes her yelp.

Last night after some hours of this growling display from our boy kitten his sister eventually decided to approach him and try and take the toy. He continued to growl but he didn't attack. He just ran off growling with the toy. He seems quite possessive over toys at the moment.

The kittens came from a local farm. We saw the mother but not the father.

Hope this helps and we really appreciate you replying to our question. If you need anymore information do not hesitate to contact me again.
Hi again, Clare, and thanks for your additional information.

From your description, it does sound like he's treating the furry toys as prey and 'play hunting', which he would do (and may have done at the farm before you got him) instinctively. Some cats also must have 'loveys', which are like favorite, security objects that they like to carry around and feel very protective of. As you may know, sometimes human babies/toddlers, also have loveys, like a security blanket (or piece thereof), special stuffed toy, pacifier, etc. which they always carry around and it fills a security need.

The fact that your boy recently was neutered and his sister is not yet spayed may have something to do with his aggressive behavior towards her, as some testosterone remains in the male cats system for a while, after neutering.

Since you associate this first strong, aggressive reaction with catnip, I'm glad you removed catnip toys from his collection. I don't see any problem with him trying to be protective of the furry toy(s), as long as he is not lashing out and injuring his sister or any humans in the household. Try to wean him off the furry toy and buy some 'material' (plain cotton) toys and/or cat safe plastic toys like open balls with bells (make sure the bells can't come out), etc.

Also, supply your kittens with scratching posts and pads (scratching pads are made of corrugated cardboard and sit on the floor-you can find them at stores like Petsmart, etc.), a kitty condo, 'crunchy' tunnel, etc., all toys and objects to keep him busy; as you can see, kittens are a bundle of energy. Diverting his attention away from the furry toys by substituting other toys and playthings should help the situation.

Also, try a cat appeasing pheromone called feliway. This comes in a spray and plug in diffuser. The diffuser resembles a plug in air freshener, but has no scent to humans. It can help calm stressed or anxious cats. They sell it in Petsmart and online:

Discuss this with your vet when you bring your girl in to be spayed.

Good luck with your two cuties!

Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 20815
Experience: Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
< Previous | Next >
  • The response from the Expert literally saved my cat's life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart -- I will recommend all of my friends to you!!! Lucia Rincon, Georgia
  • I will use your service again. I was very pleased with the response and the fact that you have a low cost option so that those of us on fixed income can have questions answered. I will also recommend you to others. Karen Jackson Heights, NY
  • You helped us to come to what we believe is a better next step in Jack's treatment, and hopefully have saved us $800!! Thanks again! Jack's Mom Tuscon, AZ
  • The vet said that the information and my following it will be what made the difference. Thanks again for being so very helpful. Tracy Grayson, LA
  • My oldest male cat had a seizure this evening. This site was the first place I could think of to go after the seizure had passed. Dr. Lucy was fantastic and she was spot on! Debbie USA
  • I must tell you I found this site by accident and was amazed when I asked a question of the Veteranians online. I wish I could have found it sooner it could have made such a difference in the outcome of my pet's surgery. However, I am passing along the information to my sister-in-law (a cat-rescue person who is also a nurse), and perhaps it will help someone else who may experience the same problem. The doctor who answered my question was amazing, and while it didn't come it time to change the outcome of my situation, it is reassuring to know the caliber of Vets/Doctors that you have at JustAnswer. Thank you for being there. Alice H. Jacksonville, Fl.
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

Meet The Experts:

  • Terri


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
< Last | Next >
  • Terri's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare Expert

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
  • Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
  • Cher's Avatar


    Feline Specialist

    Satisfied Customers:

    Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
  • Lori's Avatar


    Feline Healthcare

    Satisfied Customers:

    16 yrs health care mgmt & issues relating to cats, reproductive issues and multicat environments
  • Micki's Avatar


    Expert in cat behavior and health

    Satisfied Customers:

    Expert in cat medical and behavior issues.
  • Candy R.'s Avatar

    Candy R.

    Veterinary Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    Practicing Veterinary Technician for 26 years.Former Veterinary Practice Owner, Technician Trainer
  • Theresa's Avatar


    A Voice for your Pet

    Satisfied Customers:

    19+ years in animal medicine as a veterinary technician