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Cher, Feline Specialist
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 21446
Experience:  Feline Healthcare & Behavior Specialist 40+ years Experience
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My cat wont stop hissing at us. It used to just

Customer Question

My cat won't stop hissing at us. It used to just hiss at the kids but now if I tell it to stop eating off of the floor or sniffing the floor in the kitchen, she will stop and hiss. How do I stop this, it is getting worse and growling now.
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.

How old is your cat and how long have you had her?

Is she spayed?

Is she eating, drinking and eliminating as usual?

What does she try to eat off the floor?

Have there been any changes around the house or in your routine recently?

Does your cat go outside?

Thanks for any additional detail.

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
She is no older than 1 year 2 months and we have had her for almost a year. She is spayed and seems to be eating, drinking and eliminating as normal. She was and has in the past sniffed the floor and I insist on the children keeping it swept. But this being Thanksgiving weekend it wasnt kept up and as I usually do, I shooed her out the kitchen. She was trying to eat a piece of homemade onion roll. No new routine that I can think of, no one even came to our home this year for thanksgiving. She does not go outside, she is an indoor cat.
I appreciate your advice, I do not want to get rid of her, I think all kids need pets. Thank you,
Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again, LaDonna, and thanks very much for your additional and helpful information.

I'm glad you stopped her before she could eat the piece of homemade onion roll, as onions are toxic to cats. It's possible that when you shooed her away from the piece of food on the floor, and out of the kitchen, you startled her, and sometimes when cats are startled, they will hiss and/or growl, just as a natural defense mechanism.

Also, sometimes, after a fright or being startled, the cat will start showing repeated aggressive behavior to everyone in the household, because they don't know how to control this response and still feel anxious, or feel like the same startling event may repeat; this is called redirected or misdirected aggression.

Cats may also appear aggressive or hiss/growl when they are in pain or something is bothering them physically, so it might be a good idea to have her evaluated by the vet, to rule out any medical problems at this time.

Once that's done, and she's given a clean bill of health (hopefully), you can treat this as purely behavioral, and a cat-appeasing pheromone called Feliway/Comfort Zone for cats, might help. Feliway comes in both a spray and plug-in diffuser, and is available at major pet supply stores like Petsmart, and also online. The diffuser resembles a plug-in air freshener, but has no scent to humans. Feliway helps to relax stressed/anxious cats, and is useful in a multitude of situations. For more information, please see:

Even though you didn't have guests during the holiday weekend, a new or different smell, scent, cleanser, noise, etc. may also have put your cat on edge, so give her some time to outgrow this behavior, if you determine it has no medical basis. Continue to treat her as you always have, and try to keep her routine the same. When she hisses or growls, just ignore her and don't approach if it makes her uneasy.

I hope all will be well!

Cher and other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Reply to Jessesmom's Post: Thank you Cher,

I thought she was just being bad. I never had cats act this way in all my life. My sisters used to carry our cats around like they were toys and swing them over their shoulders, ect. I will tell keep teaching the younger children to give Pepper space and pay attention to her signals. Thanks again,

Expert:  Cher replied 9 years ago.
Hi again, LaDonna, and you're most welcome! Thanks very much for your 'accept' and I'm glad I could be of help to you, your children and to Pepper (I once had a grey cat named Pepper! : )).