Why Is My Cat Hissing At Nothing? (The Invisible Foe)

Why Is My Cat Hissing At Nothing

There are a few sounds that a cat can make that can make me sit up and take notice.

One is caterwauling and the other is when I hear my cat hissing.

Cats hiss when they are feeling threatened or angry.

But has your cat ever hissed into thin air, seemingly at nothing?

It could be because it hates being groomed or it knows that a vet visit is on the itinerary. If you have more than one cat at home, little squabbles can cause them to hiss at each other.

Cats may hiss at seemingly nothing due to their acute senses picking up on stimuli that humans can’t detect. Alternatively, they could be responding to internal discomfort from a health issue or stress and anxiety related to past experiences or changes in their environment.

In this article, we will dive deep into the intricate world of feline behavior, attempting to uncover the possible unseen triggers of your cat’s hissing.

Why Is My Cat Hissing And Growling All Of A Sudden?

“If you happen to hear your cat hissing or growling, you should be more cautious when checking it out.”

A cat hissing sound is usually a sign of a defense mechanism. The hissing sound closely resembles that of an angry serpent and it is a warning to the other party.

Not many are brave enough to approach a hissing snake.

When a cat hisses, its ears are pulled back, its mouth opened exposing its fangs and the tail will be busy thumping on the ground.

A cat can also be making growling vocalizations. A growling cat can also imply that it is unhappy or irritated about something.

If you happen to hear your cat hissing or growling, you should be more cautious when checking it out.

All signs point to a potential bite or scratch if the situation escalates.

Here are some possible reasons that could trigger your cat’s hissing.

Cat Hates Being Groomed

Many cat owners know that trying to groom their cats can be a challenging time, both mentally and physically.

If your feline friend has been used to being groomed since kitten days then you will probably have an easier time.

That being said, cats are very finicky and can show sudden detest at having their claws trimmed.

When this happens, it is best to let your cat be and try again later. Unless you like collecting claw marks as kitty souvenirs.

Loud Noises And Sudden Movements

Ever wondered where the term ‘scaredy cat’ comes from?

Cats are jumpy animals and can be easily frightened. I just have to touch my cat on its back and it can leap a few inches off the ground.

When your cat is shocked by loud noises and sudden movements, it can trigger a fearful response which causes it to start hissing.

Many cats hiss when they hear a loud vacuum cleaner or hair dryer.

It’s quite hilarious that some cats are even afraid of cucumbers.

Makes me wonder what goes on in their little cute minds at times.

Not Adequately Socialized

This happens rather frequently with stray cats, feral cats and kittens.

When a cat has not been adequately socialized with humans, they tend to see us as dangerous and will exhibit aggressive behavior patterns.

This can be overcome by gradually spending more time with these cats to show them that we are friendly and just want to shower them with love and pets.

If you are looking to adopt a hoarded cat or a stray from the shelter, be prepared to invest time socializing your cat.

Your Cat Is In Pain

If you hear your cat hissing or growling randomly, it could be in pain.

Dental issues, arthritis and neurological conditions can be painful for your cat.

It is your cat’s way of telling you to leave it alone for now or to be warned if you are attempting to touch it as it doesn’t want to be held.

Danger Is Near

“There is something hiding or close by that is agitating your cat and it feels threatened.”

Cats have a very good sense of smell, sight and hearing.

There are times when you notice your cat hissing and pawing at the window or through the door when there’s nothing there.

Don’t forget that we humans, our sensory organs aren’t as developed as cats.

There is something hiding or close by that is agitating your cat and it feels threatened.

It could be other animals like a wild fox, raccoon or even a snake. It could also be the presence of another cat close by that is upsetting your cat.

You can see this more often in unsterilized cats during mating season when they get very territorial.

Your Cat Is Stress

cat looking stress

A cat’s hissing could be a sign that it is feeling stressed out as well.

It doesn’t have to be due to other animals or other cats but an inanimate object.

There are cases of cats being stressed at seeing their own reflection in the mirror or a figurine of another animal.

If you find your cat getting stressed over such objects, it would be best to remove or cover them up to prevent further distress to your hissing cat.

Past Traumas

Cats can remember traumatic events and might react fearfully in situations that remind them of these past traumas, even if they are not in danger.

It could be that your cat accidentally popped a balloon and it starts to get fearful whenever it smells one nearby.

Who Ya Gona Call? Ghostbusters!

As mentioned earlier, cats have a heightened sense of smell, sight and hearing. They tend to sense or pick up on things that we humans can’t.

Ghosts or spiritual beings (if you do believe in them), vibrate at a different energy level that can cause spikes in the Electro Magnetic Field (EMF).

These EMF fluctuations can cause distress in cats thus making them hiss.

That being said, there’s no need to engage a full exorcism of your home just because your cat is hissing at nothing.

Get an electrician to check your EMF levels to make sure there are no electricity leaks in the house.

What To Do When Your Cat Is Hissing?

I understand that as responsible pet owners, we want to know what’s wrong with our cats when they start hissing for no reason.

Here are some things that you should be doing if you hear your cat hiss:

  • Don’t shout at your cat
  • Give it some time alone to calm down
  • Talk gently to your cat
  • Remove any object that you might think is scaring your cat
  • Check for any injury, bleeding or sores when your cat is calm
  • Schedule a vet visit if nothing works

Always be careful when you are confronted by an angry cat. Do not attempt to touch it as the cat can hurt you without knowing it.

Why Is My Cat Hissing At Another Cat?

If your cat hisses at your other cat when they are usually friendly, it could mean that something is upsetting your hissing cat.

This is rather common when both cats have very different energy levels like an adult cat with a kitten.

The kitten is playful and will ‘irritate’ the older cat with its unwavering energy.

The older cat will hiss to say “Enough is enough”.

A cat hissing at another could also mean a change in scent on the cat.

This usually happens when you bring your cat home from the vet and it has many strange smells on it.

Cats communicate regularly by scent therefore they would think that a new cat is near and start to get territorial.

Why Is My Cat Hissing At My Dog?

“Cats are territorial creatures and definitely do not like a dog encroaching on their space.”

The drama of pet dynamics.

There is probably some truth about cats and dogs being mortal enemies.

I’ve had multiple cats at home before and they tend to get along better than with a dog.

My current cat and dog aren’t the best of friends (BFF) but they can leave in harmony, after much trying.

Cats are territorial creatures and definitely do not like a dog encroaching on their space.

Cats have also learned over the centuries that dogs can be dangerous and many are capable of attacking and hurting cats.

This can put your cat into a more alert and defensive state when your dog is around.

Is It Bad To Hiss Back At Your Cat?

There are two schools of thought when it comes to this. Some feel that it is bad for your cats as it can cause unnecessary stress and fear when you hiss back at them.

Other cat owners think that it is a good way of showing displeasure to their cats since that is how mother cats used to discipline their kittens.

A mother cat will usually hiss at her kittens if they start to get too boisterous or out of line.

It’s mommy cat’s way of laying down the discipline on her little runts.

In my case, my cat just yawns in my face when I hiss at him.

Oh well.


There’s not much to be concerned about if you find your cat randomly hissing every now and then.

A cat’s hiss is more often all ‘bark and no bite’ so to speak.

Cats are mysterious creatures and they can be rather unpredictable at times.

However, you should be concerned if this hissing at nothing aggressive behavior is accompanied by other symptoms like loss of appetite, litter box usage or anything that doesn’t fall into its daily routine.

Some veterinary advice would be required at this stage.

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