Why Is My Cat Hissing At Nothing?

cat hissing at nothing

If your cat starts hissing at you, it can be safe to assume that your feline friend isn’t very pleased about something.

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.

But what if your cat is hissing at nothing?

Is this normal cat behavior or is there a cause for concern?

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

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

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

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

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

Cat Hissing At Other 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 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.

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 cat 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.

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 bahavior 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.

What If My Cat Is Randomly Hissing?

If you catch your cat randomly hissing without any rhyme or reason, what could be causing it?

Well, there are a few reasons that can cause your cat to react in this manner.

Your Cat Is In Pain

If your cat is 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

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, racoon or even snake. It could also be the presence of other cats 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

A cat hisses when it is 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 you hissing cat.

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.

Ghost or spiritual beings (if you do believe in it), 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 Growling And 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 it happens:

  • 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.

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 your cat since that is how they communicate since young. 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.


All in all, there’s not much to be concerned about if you find your cat randomly hissing every now and then.

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 in its daily routine.

Some veterinary advice would be required at this stage.