Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Why Is My Cat Hissing or Growling?
The most obvious physical cause of aggression in cats is pain. Having worked at an animal hospital, I have seen my fair share of aggressive cats. In many cases, the cats proved to be far more aggressive and damaging than dogs. As a veterinary assistant, you surely do not want to deal with a very angry cat. Fortunately, special restraint techniques make treatment possible, sometimes requiring the help of others.
Figure Out Why Your Cat May Have Turned Aggressive
When it comes to aggression issues with cats, underlying physical or behavioral problems must be addressed. There can be various causes, and therefore, identifying the triggering factors may help ease and/or solve the aggressive issues altogether.
Physical Causes of Cat Aggression
Before assuming your cat is just plain mean or aggressive because of some behavioral problem, it is important to rule out a medical condition. If your cat is usually friendly and now out of the blue is hissing, does not want to be picked up and this is totally out of character, assume a painful condition or some other underlying physical problem known for causing aggressive displays.
A Non-Visible Wound
Anytime your cat appears to be aggressive for no reason, a veterinarian visit is a must. Somewhere must be hurting, and the cat may scratch or bite if handled improperly. The source of pain, therefore, must be investigated. Many times there is an open sore or an abscess not visible under the fur. My cat one day was hissing and growling, and we had no clue; only a day later, we noticed one of her nails had grown so long it was embedded in her paw pad!
Chronic conditions such as arthritis, dental disease, or poor eyesight may cause cats to become grumpy and unwilling to be touched. Have a veterinarian screen your cat for any underlying health disorders. While cats tend to hide their pain because this makes them vulnerable, when there is pain, the cat is likely to change its attitude.
Cats affected by this disorder may exhibit behavior changes along with increased drinking, increased urination, weight loss, vomiting, and diarrhea. Behavior changes may consist of aggression, nervousness, and hyperactivity. Worth running a thyroid panel if your cat has had recent behavioral changes and you cannot find a reasonable culprit.
Rippling Skin Disorder (Hyperesthesia)
This is a condition that is not very known. However, many cats seem to be affected. Affected cats will display an odd behavior: the skin on their back will twitch, and the cat will run as if bothered by something. The cat may then turn around and try to bite or scratch its back. The cat's eyes may be dilated, and the cat may vocalize disturbed. Upon petting these affected cats, the skin on their back may twitch, and they may turn aggressive.
If you encounter a stray cat that is aggressive, stay away as it may have rabies. Consider rabies as well in unvaccinated cats that appear aggressive and that are kept outdoors in contact with wildlife. Should you encounter an aggressive stray cat, call animal control. They are best equipped to restrain such cats and have them evaluated for rabies. While rabies is rare, it is such a serious disease that you must rule it out if an unvaccinated stray cat bites you or scratches you.
Psychological Causes of Aggression in Cats
Once you have ruled out medical causes for aggression and your vet has given your cat a clean bill of health, it is time to consider behavioral problems. Important questions to ask are: Have there been any recent changes? Have you moved? New partner? New cat in the home? A new baby? New furniture? New routine? New construction workers across the road? Cats are creatures of habit, and anything that changes their routine makes them stressed.
This is a form of aggression caused by an overstimulated cat. This may occur when a cat sees out from a window another animal such as another cat or a dog and then suddenly attacks his owner or another pet. Such cats may be difficult to treat, many times requiring covering all windows and doors or placing the cat in a dark room to calm down.
Unfamiliar Scent Aggression
Many times right after taking a cat to the animal hospital, owners would call us because their other cat at home would start attacking the sick cat. This is a common instance, and it is due to the fact that the cat left at home is disturbed by the other cat's smell. Many times this was solved by bringing both cats to the hospital when one was sick or by passing a scented towel on both cats, so they both smelled the same.
Rough Play Aggression
Many times young cats and kittens may be thought to be aggressive while all they are doing is playing rough. A cat or kitten that attacks the owner's ankles is simply acting out of prey drive. In other words, the owner's feet or ankles are thought to be prey, and so the cat chases and scratches. Most cats seem to outgrow this form of play aggression; however, a good remedy is to toss a toy at the cat upon stalking you in order to redirect his attention.
Petting Intolerance Aggression
Some cats will tolerate being petted for a few minutes, and then they will lash out when they get tired. In this case, it is very important to anticipate his behavior by reading physical cues suggesting he is about to lash out. Before reaching his intolerance point, immediately put the cat down and give him a treat. Repeat by making the petting sessions longer.
New Mom Aggression
Your sweet cat may turn into a lion once she has had a litter of kittens. Most new moms' aggression regresses as the kittens age. Try to keep her quiet and avoid disturbances. This is just a natural instinct to protect her babies.
New Cat Aggression
You just adopted a new cat, and your older cat will not tolerate the new arrival. Threatening growling and hissing take place. This form of aggression usually regresses with time. Always make introductions slow and do not force the two to get along. Sooner than later, with no pressure, the two will begin to accept each other.
As seen, there may be a multitude of causes for aggression in cats. The best course of action is to have all medical causes ruled out first and then deal with the behavioral issues.
T-Touch for Calming Cats
- Do Cats Have Good Memory?
Can cats remember well? Learn how good a cat's memory is and what they are more likely to remember.
- Home Remedies for Your Cat's Upset Stomach
Treatments you can give your cat for its upset stomach at home. These remedies are only for mild digestive problems, however. For cats that are lethargic or not eating, you should see your vet.
- What to Do if Your Cat Is Constipated
Is your cat constipated and straining in the litter box? Learn how to rule out a medical emergency and help your cat get well.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
Question: My cat went missing for a month. We found her again but she's being very aggressive towards everyone, including the other cats. Is this normal?
Answer: We don't know what may have happened to her during this month, so she could have gone through a lot of stress and it may take some time for her to adjust.
Question: My has been cat hisses and attacks me ever since we got a new kitten. Is it normal? He was amazing the day before.
Answer: Any changes to a cat's routine can cause significant stress, and the addition of another cat can be a very stressful situation. Introductions should be done very, very gradually. Cats are very routine oriented and do not do well with novelties. You may need some calming aids to help your resident cat adjust.
Question: My cat who is about a year old now and still to this day, hates my younger sister. She hisses and meows at her aggressively while also sometimes swiping at her. Why is that?
Answer: Until our cats can talk, we can only make assumptions as to why they act the way they do. Maybe it's the way your sister moves, talks, coughs, sneezes? If your cat is OK with most other people except your sister, it may be a perfume she uses, does she wear glasses or hats? Maybe one day she got startled by her and decided to mark as "un-trustable." There are many possibilities.
© 2008 Adrienne Farricelli
Bob on August 18, 2020:
My cat hisses at my 12 year old son. Can she sense him going though puberty?
Sue on June 26, 2020:
My cat likes to bite me then when I tell him no, say good boy he attacks?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 23, 2020:
She may be in pain. Please have you cat checked out by a vet.
Ash on June 07, 2020:
So, my cat went missing for a few weeks and we found her, but she meows really loud and hissed when you touch her lower stomach, do you have any clue why??
Pat Marsh on March 20, 2020:
I have never been able to touch my cat, but now it looks like something is biting him on his back or butt, theres no way i would be able to take him to the vet
Debra Collins on March 10, 2020:
I just bought a 4 week old kitten from a friend of mine who has the mother as well. My kitten will be 5 weeks on Thursday. Today is Tuesday. I have been bottle feeding her since I got her. She was not weaned from her mother yet. She is eating dry kitten food and doing good . I was told to give her at least one bottle of milk replacer every 4 hours. She has been taking the bottle fairly well until tonight. I was feeding her and out of nowhere she bit me hard 2 times drawing blood with each bite. I have shown her nothing but love and kindness and taken good care of her.
Donna on February 24, 2020:
Hi I want to say that my cat for some reason started to hiss at my when I picked her up twice today when I let her down her hair stands up .
Now she normally doesn’t like to be picked up but she has never done this to me ever ... can a cat sense that your Aura has changed or you smell different like there is something different about me ? Can you please let me know my E-Mail is Donnaschwebel@yahoo.com thank you this is really bothering me
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on December 27, 2019:
Some cats are very sensitive to changes. The new smell, this big new object and then perhaps the noises as you installed it could have stressed your kitty. I am guessing he/she may not want to use it. Hopefully with time, things will get better. Feliway helps in some cases. Of course, consult with your vet too to rule out any concomitant illness.
Lucy on December 26, 2019:
I got a cabinet hidden litter box on Friday and my cat been acting aggressive , hiding , hissing
jane on November 11, 2019:
my cat had kittens we gave 2 away and kept 2 she was great with them anyway so she never had no more kittens we had her done a month later she hisses at me plus kittens that are now 6 months old my cat swipes at us growls at us also she has bitten me couple times but she feed with them but once feeding is done she will threaten the kittens all the time what can i do
TAMMY LINDSEY on October 22, 2019:
I have a mother cat that has 4 cats herself they are about 5 months old and the mother cat is mean to them they walk by her and do nothing and she jump them why is that is this normal.
Dee on October 15, 2019:
I had 3 cats, and my youngest was 4 months, she escaped while I was at work and I didn’t know, I suddenly noticed she was getting fatter and turned out she soon became a young mum.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 03, 2019:
Rosie, it is difficult at times identifying what is exactly triggering the behavior. Most often than not, it is triggered by fear. Does it happen only when your boyfriend walks?
Rosie Gallyot on August 27, 2019:
My cats always hissing at my boyfriend I was with him when I got the cat as a kitten so he’s not new to the picture but when ever being fed or even when walking past he will hiss at him and the problem is it isn’t always it can be once in a blue moon or multiple times a day and we are baffled why... it’s getting to the point where my boyfriend is getting fed up with it and would love to find a solution the cat never hisses at me and it’s only us and the cat in the house hold
Cullen on July 09, 2019:
Whenever i walk in between this area in my house, my cat will act all friendly and rub up on this corner wall piece. Then when i try to walk by him, without petting him or looking at him, he will swipe at my feet, then hiss at me. And this only happens at night.
Naesha on April 19, 2019:
My mama cat had 4 kitten that are now about 11 weeks old. She’s a great mommy and affection and cuddles with them all the time but She got pregnant again before I got spayed and I’m just going to let her have this liter then spat her. The problem is lately she’s been really grouchy and will hiss and scratch at the kittens. She won’t even be affectionate or cuddly towards me anymore and she used to be almost too affectionate. She is the sweetest thing ever and this new anger is scaring me a bit. Is this new aggression normal? Is it because she’s pregnant or bc the babies are older or maybe both?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 05, 2019:
I can only think of better ways to get her back in. Perhaps shake a box of kibble? Or let her chase something like a string and then give her some tasty treat once inside (so to not let her feel like you are trapping in her inside).
James Thomson on April 05, 2019:
Hi Adrienne! I have two indoor cats, and we have been letting them out to explore the stairwell for a while because they generally seem a bit frustrated in the apartment and eager to explore outside a little bit. This worked fine for many months, but just recently one of the cats gets very annoyed - she hisses and takes a swipe at me, and hisses at the other cat - when I pick her up to bring her back in, and it seems to be escalating. The past few times I brought her back in by her scruff after she behaved like that (which she did not like) but now I'm reading thats not a good idea. This cat also has an unknown disorder where she vomits 2 or 3 times a week. Any thoughts would be much appreciated as its been stressing my partner and I out quite a bit? Many thanks. James.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 28, 2019:
Susan, a vet visit is always in order when there are behavior changes out of the blue. Next thing that comes to mind is the effect of some sort of stress (seeing things out of the window, noises, changes etc).
Susan on March 28, 2019:
Out of the blue my cat starts hissing and gets aggressive like I’m a stranger wanting to hurt her? I’m not sure if she gets scared and can’t see who I am or what?? She has 2 diffrent eye color and notice the blue eye gets red. It’s quite scary and sounds like she’s being torchured. What’s happening please
Rose on December 30, 2018:
our family cat suddenly started to become very aggressive toward my step daughter. our cat has been around her since he was a baby. She had went a way to visit friends for two weeks and when she came back our cat became very aggressive toward her. She has never been mean or abusive to the cat at all so we cannot figure out why he is acting this way.
PATRICIA on December 26, 2018:
My cousin has a two yo femal desexed cat which did not have all of her vaccinations. wanders in the bush. she is always aggressive ,except when being fed. Hides all the time, only appearing for food or water. physically attacks anyone or anything that comes into her line of sight, teeth. claws, yowling. scary. I have many wounds on me where she has ambushed me as I have walked past her hiding place.
Andrea on December 09, 2018:
when I was little my cat used to love me then one day she just hated me for no reason! she would always his at me when I got close to her and would always attack me when I walk by her. why did she suddenly hate me?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on August 18, 2018:
Being removed too early from the litter can be already a big culprit, but you may also be dealing with stress. Although we may not recognize potential stressors, there are several things that can stres your cat such as outdoor noises and visual stimuli from out the window. Consulting with a cat behaviorist may be helpful. Have you tried Feliway plug-ins for a start?
Gisela on August 02, 2018:
My grandmas cat was given at a very young age too young to be separated form it mother. He becomes aggressive when you stop petting him or walk away from him he also randomly attacks you instead of the toy when playing. I have gotten lots of scratches and bites from him but I don’t know what makes him burst out like that could it be that he didn’t have enough time with his siblings and mother to learn how to play and that is what is causing it or is he just aggressive?
I’ve also noticed that he rips patches of his fur out I searche dr and found he might be stressed and it could be causing aggression but here is nothing he could be stressed out about. We have two dogs but they are all good friends and he will often sleep with the bigger dog so I don’t think it’s the dogs but there is nothing else other than what he sees outside to be afraid of and he doesn’t even go outside he just watches from the window. I would really like to figure it what’s wrong because at other times he is a very friendly and approachable cat.
Daniel on July 18, 2018:
My female cat is about 9 or 10 months old.
She will not let me pet her anywhere below her shoulders, I can rub and scratch around her cheeks and ears a little bit but that's it, anywhere else and she starts growling, then deep growling, then hisses and if I continue beyond the all that she'll try to push me away with what ever foot reaches my hands, with claws out and she even bites, very hard and actually punctures the skin on my hand and arm.
And forget ever stroking her tail or rear hips area, youd be asking for everything i mentioned above but all at the same time within 3 seconds!
What is wrong with her? Is she just nuts?
Is there any way I can help her like being petted and touched like a normal cat?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have NEVER heard her purr, EVER.
And I've had her since she was barely 6 or 7 weeks old.
If anyone has any clues as to what's going on here please get back to me!
My email address is: @gmail.com with the single word SOUTHOKANAGAN preceeding the @ symbol.
(I typed my email address like to thwart spam crawler bots that crawl websites like this one).
To make contacting me easy because I'm at my witts end with this cat, I can also be reached by any time by TEXT MESSAGING at: 7x7x8xx6x5x0x6x9x0x0.
*Just remove the letter x's & that's my number!*
Thankyou so much for your time & I look forward to your response!
mel on June 24, 2018:
I was breaking up two of my little two boys when all of a sudden my female cat is attacking all of us. Why would she do so? She's a good cat
Della Dithomas on March 08, 2018:
my 8month old male cat is extremly lovable..Alway's wants to be near us ..Doesn't like to be in a room alone..will follow us if we both leave the room..But for some reason is very aggressive toward's me...He sleep's with me an is fine..But during the day for no reason will just attack me ..an really bites gets worse when i try taking him from the situation ..I have many bite mark's an scratch''s on me..an also loves an cuddles with me right after..
Danielle Longsworth on March 04, 2018:
My older female cat wont stop hissing and growling at the younger female cat and even the older boy cat. If they are near her or near any area the the oldest female cat likes. We left for a week in Christmas which we do every year and when we came back My oldest female has been aggressive to the other cats constantly even attacking them. Its been two months and she does tjis nonstop.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 17, 2018:
Yes, isolate from the other cat to prevent rehearsal of behavior and most of all for safety. Make sure she gets attention and has access to environmental enrichment.
Derek Martin on February 12, 2018:
I have 2 cats & i'm taking care of 2 for a pregnant friend. My two are an 8 yr old fixed male and 1 yr 1 month old unfixed female. the other 2 are: 4 yr old unfixed female and her 11 month old son...my 13 month old got pregnant and gave birth to 3 dead kitties a few days ago. The 4 yr old female has had 2-3 healthy litters. The 4yr old female has been consoling my 13 month old(licking her, sleeping next to her & staying by her side)...My 13 month old just started attacking the 4 yr old female and is now being very aggressive to her all of the time.
I know it's due to her pregnancy & hormones. Should I isolate her(my 11 month old) for a few days? I don't know what to do. She's never been like this..
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 23, 2018:
It is not unheard of. The attacking cat doesn't understand seizures and attacks because it appears "odd" which switches on a defense mechanism from a perceived threat.
Cydney on January 18, 2018:
About a month ago, our Siamese female - age 2 ys - suddenly started having seizures. She may have one or two every few days. They last a few seconds then she seems fine. About 2 weeks after this started, her sister, from the same litter, started attacking her while she was having a seizure. These two have always gotten along good so it was a shock to see her attack her sibling. She has never shown aggression to any other animal, and only attacks when the seizure is happening. My husband thought at first she was trying to help her sister, but this is a full on attack. Is this normal behavior for a cat to attack another one in distress?
Johane on November 27, 2017:
Good Day, I have recently adopted a new kitten, my resident cat who is a year old initially took well to the kitten grooming him and playing with him, they would even cuddle together at the foot of our bed. The kitten is now 5 months old and now all of a sudden the resident cat is acting aggressive, keeps wanting to escape the house at night when he is not allowed outside and is even aggressive towards my husband and I. He is however only aggressive inside our house, when playing outside he is still acting like himself and still goes to go visit my neighbors cats whom he gets along with very well. We have taken him to the vet and he has even gone under anesthesia to rule out any health concerns. All which came back as negative. Both Cats are males and have both been fixed, the neighbors cats he plays with are also male and also fixed, that is why I initially got the male kitten as he does not play with any female cats. I really am at my wits end as my cat used to be such a happy cat he always cuddled with us and took any opportunity to be close to us. I am worried he will never be the nice cat we were used to. Please help me.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on November 23, 2017:
If he never acted that way, it may due to something medical. Mention this to your vet maybe you touched him in a way that hurt him.
Jade on November 21, 2017:
I was holding my kitten and I was making sure all the doors where closed as I walked down the hallway he growled and me owed at me then jumped out my arms and shaked his head with his mouth open I went to him a minute later and he hissed and tried to claw at me it was very strange he has never ever clawed at me before. My cat had also had a swollen face yesterday and his tongue is hanging out could this affect anything? He's going to the vet tomorrow
Freska on November 01, 2017:
I have a all grey cat and tonight me and my son was playing in the bed and next thing i know my son gets scratched on the back of his thigh and two places on his stomach my cat then jumped down on the floor and started meowing in a high pitched voice dont understand why this happened this is the first time this incident happened. Im worried and my son was crying and felt
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 19, 2017:
Jen, how about let your dog sleep in a crate or closed play pen?
Jen on October 16, 2017:
My rescued pit picked two kittens when I fostered about 15 months ago. She loves her kittens and is a great mom. Lately her kittens are bullying her stealing her food and treats. Were semi ok with this but her kittens will jump and attack her while she's in REM sleep and my poor 80lb pit has gotten hurt twice already. Her lil' monsters just attack her on the couch or bed even in her crate. She loves them and is incredibly tentive to them but how do I keep her safe she would be crushed if I rehomed her babies. Any suggestions?
Janet on October 02, 2017:
My 1 yr cat used to love playing with my 3yr now she just hiss's not just at her but everyone else in side the house when they get close to her and hates everyone that walks thru our door. HELP. I don't know why her attitude changed.
Julia on September 14, 2017:
My 1yr has just started hissing, isolating herself An going number 2 out of her box An has gained weight An only once to be around my son
firstname.lastname@example.org on September 11, 2017:
Why is my 3 year old cat growling and hissing every time she plays with this certain toy of hers
brianna on September 11, 2017:
i have 6 cats my one cat hannah attacks my other cat all the time even when they are doing nothing she has been doing that sunce i first got her.
eddie on September 08, 2017:
We recently brought home our new born from the hospital and ever since our cat has been very aggressive. He will walk up to the baby or my fiance and just hiss at them. he doesnt do this to me. any idea what the cause of this sudden behavior could be?
Debbie neophytou on August 02, 2017:
I have 3 house cats 2 are 4 years old the younger one is around a year old a stray i rescued in january and took her to vets to be done,they were no problems with the older two cats now all of a sudden both the older cats attack the youger onei have no idea why..all 3 cats have been done,please help
Kimothy on July 24, 2017:
And I now have the pleasure of adding that we just went upstairs to go to bed and noticed that the older cat peed in it - which is something that she's never done before.
Kimothy on July 24, 2017:
Hi, we took in a female cat a little over a year ago. She's been fixed and has had all her shots and has been a very friendly/lovable cat. About six months after we got her, we adopted another kitten that was only about four weeks old (had to be bottle fed at first). The older cats was very stand off-ish for the first couple weeks but as time went on, they became very close and were always together. However, our younger kitten managed to get herself pregnant before we though she was old enough to be fixed and had four little kittens two weeks ago. Our older cat has not shown any acknowledgment of the kittens but it very aggressive towards the new mother. In fact, she barely even acknowledges my husband and I. Is there something we should be doing to help our older cat relax and once again accept her adopted sister?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 03, 2017:
Kandice, can you take your cat to the vet? Being in the cage already should make it easier. This would be a good start so to exclude medical problems and then you may need to consult with a cat behavior specialist if no medical conditions are found.
Kandice dietz on July 01, 2017:
My cat flipped out on me and my cats.. ate my finger off! She's been in a cage all night, this morning she is still growling still still aggressive.. I'm scared to death and so are my other cats to let her out! What should I do
Ash on May 20, 2017:
My husband and I recently took in a cat. We have a cat already and she was curious about the new cat. However, this new cat hisses and growls anytime we are anywhere near it and if we get close she either runs away while still growling and hissing or tries to attack us physically. With our other cat, she isn't friendly at all. Even though our other cat is trying to just get to know the new cat and try to be friendly and feel her out,
Concerned cat parent !!! on May 15, 2017:
Hi am seriously concerned for my cat I let him hmgo outside the other day and because he's too scared to leave my property I thought he'd be fine and he was till the other day something spooked him and he came running inside fluffed up eyes wide and meowing I went to comfort him and I usually pet his head and pat his butt but when I part his but he made a sort of howling noise hissed and scratched me badly afterward he became very defensive and every time I came near him he would howl and I knew to satay away after a full day of avoiding him the next day he was back to normal but when he ran out when I went to go get something he was out there less then a minute and became like a wild animal again I trapped him in my shed with food and water but I don't know what to do with him I'm scared if he accidentally escapes again he become aggressive again what is wrong with him ?
melissa kimplin on May 03, 2017:
I have a older cat and a one year old monster lol . He has to be separated from my female both are fixed . He hunts her down and then will pounce on her which it does hurt her she has a bad back and has lived through a lot . So I do on occasion when it is quiet let them both out at the same time . Ebony my older kitty will be minding her business and Sam the terror goes on his hunt . He will do good for about a hour then you see the switch in his head go off and its water bottle out just in case . what can I do
Ouarda Filali on March 20, 2017:
I have two cats that are around 6-7 months old, I went and got them vaccinated with their booster shot, but I added a leukemia shot. Day after They would hiss and meow whenever I try to examine them.... any help?
bunny ohannon on March 09, 2017:
We found a kitten (8weeks old maybe) in our backyard. It was very hungry and dursty we feed and gave water, also washed him. That was about 18month ago. Needless to say, he moved in. We had him neutered, chipped and got all the shots. We love the cat, he goes out between 10 pm and 12. He runs around all night comes home at 6 am, we're we let him in and feed him, he sleeps all day. Recentlyrics he attack my husband feet and caves until he draws blood.he don't like to be petted to much. If we don't let him out he gets wild, he runs allover the place meows none stop. What can we do my husband is about ready to get rid of him .
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 10, 2017:
Hi Pamela, you will need to gain his trust. One if the best ways is through not forcing interactions as of yet and letting him know that you are the one feeding him and you won't harm him. Move slowly, try to avoid making loud noises, talk to him in a calm voice. He'll figure things out eventually! good luck!
Pamela on January 06, 2017:
I just started fostering my neighbors cat because my neighbor is having to move and can't take him with her. He is a year old fixed. He is a very sweet cat, but when he came to my house he has been hissing, growling, and hiding and batting. I know that it is probably just the fact that he is in new surroundings and is terrified. But I want him to understand he is safe.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on January 04, 2017:
Sounds like a stressed cat. You can try Feliway and using a counterconditioning program where you use tasty kitty treats (try different kinds and find the one that she responds to the best, maybe even pieces of tuna or dried fish) to create positive associations with the cleaning. Use gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself, but be very careful! Cat bites and scratches can become easily infected. When your cat is sleeping on the couch, sit besides her, and you can try to show cotton ball and give treat, show it again, treat, then progress slowly to moving cotton ball near face/treat cotton ball near face/treat. Try not to hold her, this may make her more distrustful. Try to work on making the cleaning as pleasant as possible so that she doesn't need restraint. Lots of time and work, I know.
CameoFace on December 31, 2016:
I adopted a "breeder Persian", 4 yrs, had 5 litters. Had her 3 weeks. All of a sudden she won't let me groom her at all. Refuses to let me hold her and wipe her face with cotton balls. She must be cleaned each day (nose/eyes). She aggressively refuses to allow me to hold her and has scratched me violently twice. She is sweet and gentle otherwise. Any advise? I don't think she is socialized much.
Saweela on November 19, 2016:
Hello I have a question about my seven month old brother kittens. Both of them were very friendly but today I let both my kittens go out and enjoy themselves, one of them came early (which one is little in size) and second one came little late(the elder one. He was born before the little one). After coming home, the little one suddenly started to bite and attack him. The elder kitten didn't fight back instead he tried to run away from him. I separate the little one many times but after some time he does the same thing over and over again. My brother said to me that the little one wants to play with him but the elder brother don't feel like playing. Just like when elder one used to attack him and the little one didn't like it. I asked my brother to take the elder brother to his room since I will take care of the little one. But at 4 AM he came to my room again and the little one started to attack him again. I managed to make the little one stop fighting and was able to put both of them together in bed. It's 5 AM and their sleeping peacefully again like they always did right next to each other.. But still why is he attacking? If you can help me please.
Cindyw61 on October 04, 2016:
We have 2 neutered male cats that we have had for 5 years. They are not litter mates but when we adopted them they were in the same cage. They have gotten along great all the years that we have had them. About 2 months ago a neighbors cat that is an indoor/outdoor cat wanders on our deck while my cats and I were out there. We have a gate at the top of the steps and the other cat was nose to nose with one of ours and they were both VERY upset. So, I did the natural thing and picked up both of our cats and put them inside right away. Then a second later one of them started to chase the other and the one being chased ran under my bed, and the sound was horrible with the hissing, growling and horrible screeches! So, I seperated them, for a day or so. Let them get used to each other again thru a crack in the door. Then they were friends again, till the cat came back (I have talked to the owner about this situation). Then it happened all over again. I did the same thing, then they were friends again. The cat came back for the 3rd time and it happened again but this time I put a different cat in solitary for a couple days, the one that was so aggitated and hissing. I finally forced the issue for them to become friends again, and it worked. The next time it happened the other cat was not involved outside that I know of. Something got triggered, a memory or something and they were on the outs yet again. The cat that is doing all the hissing is also the one that keeps trying to hide. The other cat doesn't do anything, just looks at the one that is upset. He does chase him a little bit or he seems like he is trying to maybe corner him, but not all of the time. Today I let them out on my deck, they love it out here when it's nice out. The growling hissing one soon settled down and they were friends again. The minute I let them in.........the growling hissing cat was again growling and hissing at the other one that he had just been grooming his face! What in the world is going on? It's like a switch went on when they went inside and he became mean again! Currently, they are out on the deck, curled up in a chair with each other! Ugh! I give up, as to what is going on here. I am desperate to find a solution. :-(
camillab on September 29, 2016:
We have a 2 year old cat we were given as a present. The original owner told us that he had had a difficult start in life as he had been abandoned by his mother. He has always been somewhat anxious and gets startled quite easily. He doesn't like strangers but we've learned to manage that. What is difficult is that he can suddenly attack one of us in the family (usually me - the only female) for no apparent reason or when I make a sudden noise. The bites have been quite severe and I've been warned by my doctor that cat bites can be really serious and that we should consider getting rid of him. The thing is our oldest son (14) is very attached to him and would be incredibly sad if he was gone. On the other hand our younger son (11) is a bit scared of him and afraid to do the things he would do if the cat were not there. We don't know what to do - any advice?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 28, 2016:
Andrea, perhaps first start with a vet visit for both cats, just to make sure there is nothing physical going on.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 28, 2016:
Haley, be careful holding your other cat when your cats are angry with each other as you may get a re-directed scratch or bite,I would use gloves just to be safe. If your other cat has seizures, these could have scared your other cat causing stress and a reason to attack. You can try tossing some treats to your other cat every time you hold the other cat. This may teach that "good things happens"when she holds the cat.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 28, 2016:
I feel for you kkramsey as my cat went through the same thing some years back. She was checked by the vet and all was fine, but she still had these episodes. I tried Feliway, it helped a bit, but it didn't make them go away. For a while I was convinced it was the carpet making her nervous as she sometimes got shocked by static, but I really never knew what was the trigger. All I knew is that she very stressed and chasing her away or cornering her, seemed to make it worse. If I still had my cat today, I would have tried using high-value treats. In your case, you can try bending over very slightly and letting a few treats fall to the ground so that she thinks bending over isn't threatening, gradually bend more and more letting more treats fall down. Be cautious though, I know many people getting scratched by their stressed kitties. I hope this helps, if your kitty is too stressed, she may not want to eat though, or you may have to try something extra yummy like dried fish or liver. Good luck!
john on September 11, 2016:
my fiancé and I have had 2 kittens they are both about 11 weeks old and we have had them since they have been weined... they have been fine up until yesterday and one cat is just not having it while the other cat tries to play with her... they are sisters and its honestly kinda sad cuz the cat that wants to play just stares her down with a sad look almost... idk whats going on with her but she has just been a royal bitch to her sister... shes fine if we pick her up and stuff we can pet her but when we go to put her down and her sister decides she wants to play she gets pissy and scratches at her and hisses and growls... help me please!
sam on September 05, 2016:
How do I stop my cat from biting me and attacking me cause he's bin doin it since he was a kitten from when I got him and he kps attacking my other cat alot aswell
Erzsebet Bathory on August 31, 2016:
I have adopted a kitten that is approx. 4-5 months old. He is very, very aggressive. There isn't any one category of aggression that fits him. He growls at me whenever I look at him and talk to him, he is aggressive when playing, like he is really attacking the toy, he can't stand to be petted, or even touched. He growls constantly. He attacks my legs when I walk by him. I notice that he is less aggressive and threatening (but not by a whole lot) with males. This kitten came from a household that had a toddler and I'm wondering if he was tortured by the child. There seems to be no medical reason why he is this way. It's as if maybe he doesn't know how to make any other sounds other than growling, which I'm sure is not true. I said this to give you an idea that he growls constantly when I am around him, and never displays any other kind of behavior. He never meows or purrs, or displays any kind of positive behavior. He eats just fine, and his litterbox habits are fine. Please help!!!
Andrea on August 12, 2016:
I have a brother and sister cat that have been together for 8 years and have been best friends that love eachother. Out of the blue the sister cat has become very aggressive to the brother and is hissing and attacking him. It scares me because I've never seen them be like this and I don't want him to get hurt. It's just out of the blue. I don't know what to do and it is stressful for the boy because he doesn't understand.
haley on August 05, 2016:
my cat binxy (who we have had for 8 years) has all of a sudden be acting very aggressive to our other cat Christopher (who we have had for 3 years) they were aggressive to each other at first, this we knew! but after awhile it changed into play fighting now almost 3 years since we got him my cat binxy has gotten so aggressive to the point where if I hold the other cat he will growl at me. we don't know what to do, Christopher just went to the vet because of seizures. we got it all straightened out and he's better but with binxy attacking him it makes him stressed and worn out. Might I also add that binxy had always shared a house with at least one other cat...and he was never this aggressive he also has had all his shots (including rabies) i hate to have to do something to make him calm again but he's just not the binxy I had 8 years ago....
kkramsey on August 04, 2016:
A couple years ago I took my cat to the vet just for a vaccination shot. She had a very bad experience while there-was growling and hissing at everyone and everything. It took over a month for her to calm down get back to her normal disposition. Since then, every now and then something will trigger her and she will revert back to the hissing and growling-really ferocious and threatening. I've been so afraid of her that I have to scare her out of my bedroom and lock her out just so I can get some peace and have some time where I'm not terrified she's going to lunge and attack me. It's been quite a while since her last episode and I thought enough time had passed that it wouldn't happen again. But last night something triggered her and I had to lock her out of the room again. In the middle of the night she was clawing at the door and meowing so I attempted to let her back in. When she walked in the room, I pet her a little and she walked around nervous like, meowing, but when she jumped on the bed, she immediately began growling and hissing at me again so I had to chase her back out of the room. This morning, as soon as she saw me she began growling and hissing at me again. (Plus she had left pieces of poop all down the stairs for me.) Any ideas on what can be causing this behavior? I have noticed that if I lean over her (i.e., if I'm reaching for something), that can trigger it. Most importantly, what do I do when she's exhibiting this behavior? I'm scared of her and don't know what to do.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Sounds like a stressed cat and redirects towards you or anybody nearby. I would try to get him desensitized and counter conditioned to the noise of crying as it seems to be a trigger. Every time the baby cries from a distance, feed your cat something your cat loves, like a bit of sardines, dried fish or some other smelly treat your cat loves. When the baby stops crying stop feeding the treat. The purpose is to get your cat to associate crying with the treats. However, problems may be seen further down the road, when baby grows and starts crawling, then your cat may need the same procedure done while the baby crawls at a safe distance behind a baby gate if needed. Always keep an eye on baby and cat and never keep them alone unsupervised.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on July 06, 2016:
Rabies is transmitted through a bite with a wild animal, so the most important question is: has your cat been in contact with any animals that could have bitten or wounded her?Any contact with the saliva of some animal? Is your cat indoor only? Most vets won't vaccinate when a cat is pregnant. Does the aggression happen though only in the presence of the kittens? If so, you may want to keep the away from her and see if the behavior persists in their absence. There are chances that as whelping nears, she wants her kittens to be safe and is looking for a whelping spot with no other cats or kittens interfering. Adolescent cats are already big so she may see them as posing a danger to her litter.
Kim on July 04, 2016:
I had a baby 3 months ago and our make 6 year old cat has become aggressive. He always has nipped when any part of his body was pet except his head. He has been rubbing against my feet while I am sitting and then turning and trying to bite me while I hold the baby. He has attacked my mother in law when she was alone with the baby ( even when she was not holding the baby) and continuously stalks me or anyone when they hold the baby while she cries. He has circled the baby when she has been on the floor crying. He also attacks the other cat during cries or if she comes near me and the baby. He can still be friendly and loving, it's just starting to concern me with a baby. He safety has to come first. I've tried a calm collar and it didn't work. What can I do? He is loved and getting him a new home is the last resort.
Jess on June 20, 2016:
A lovely cat Catalina moved into our home as we have a hole under our house.. She has lived all over our neighborhood and she is semi wild. She joined our family and I realized she was pregnant.. Her behavior was great.. She had the kittens and we kept two then fixed them at three months.. Catalina was also scheduled to be spayed but I realized she was pregnant again so didn't take her in. Now she is near giving birth, only comes in to eat, and is extremely aggressive to the adolescent kittens. I want her to have safe haven and to get her vaccinated then spayed after the birth. Can she be vaccinated while pregnant and other than the calming wraps do you have any advice? I do fear she's rabid but aggression is the only exhibited symptom and no rabies have been found in my area of late. Thanks for your great work.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 17, 2016:
It can take some time. Some days, some weeks. I would get a Feliway diffuser for the time being.
Susan on June 08, 2016:
Cat just got shaved,he is male. Female cat is being aggressive... how long she going to be like this?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 06, 2016:
I don't think cats would feel "jealousy" that way, perhaps may just want to join the other cat.
CosmoChick on May 23, 2016:
Hi there, it's amazing that you still answer comments after all this time, thank you! Quick question. I have 2 Siberian cats, brothers, grew up together, very good natured. One is super agile and jumps great heights, the other not as brave. I've stopped letting them both out on the balcony because the agile one jumps straight for the railing and gives me a heart attack each time he pretends to be walking a tight rope (9th floor). However, the other day, I let the other cat out for a while, the agile cat was sleeping and didn't notice.
If I keep letting one cat out and not the other, will the one that stays in get jealous, especially if he sees us hanging out on the balcony?
Sarah on May 03, 2016:
My dog and cat have always gotten along she use to sleep with him and rub against him until 3 days ago. We had a rat in the house and the dog went nuts trying to catch it while he was chasing it she ran after him and attacked him to the point that she made him bleed. She has had a litter of kittens 3 months ago but even after that showed no signs of aggression toward the dog she would even leave the kittens to lay with him. I can't get her to stop and don't know what to do!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 07, 2016:
Could be she feels pain there (doesn't hurt to check with the vet if she was OK with that before), or doesn't like to be picked up. Most likely the latter if she was feral and never got used to being picked up. Look up some videos on youtube on how to pick up a cat, so that legs aren't dangling, also would not keep near the face for safety...but prior to that maybe get cat used to it gradually, giving tasty tidbits of food every time you touch her, then move up to pick her up for a second feed treat, then put down, then pick up more etc. Be very careful though you can get really hurt if she aims for the face! Maybe place some SOFTPAWS on her nails to prevent getting scratched.
Anne-Marie on April 06, 2016:
I rescued a feral female cat - she is extremely sweet and craves attention. However, if I pick her up below the front paws (with her facing me and lower part of her body dangling), she would lash out to scratch me in the face - very aggressive. Does she feel threatened?
Kelly on March 31, 2016:
My male cat is 5 yrs old and a house cat. Hes been neutered 4 yrs ago. He has to be the sopiest calm cat going but just recently he's attacked a couple of friends of mine that have been visiting for wks at a time. He is all over them rubbing up against them n then he hisses n attacks them. They don't have pets. When I've stepped in he's gone to attack me and very badly. He makes this weird noise at the same time. I've been in tears cause this isn't my cat at all and don't like him being like this. Hes a very big cat and can jump higher than my head which I've had to protect with a pillow before when he's attacked. Can anyone help in regards to what I can do to get my loving placid cat back to normal? ?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 03, 2015:
Sounds like stress, also a medical condition can cause behaviors as such. Good to see the vet to rule medical conditions out and could be also her kittens are all grown up now and she doesn't want them to nurse anymore.
Cinthia on September 29, 2015:
I have a female cat named minnie she had a litter of kittens 4 months ago last month we took a trip to iowa which is 18hrs away from home she was in a carrier with my male cat and my kittens were in a carrier of their n she was done feeding them and they were eating on their own full time she handled the trip down stayed at my parens house for a month and then we brought her and 3 of her kittens home in the same carrier alone when she got out she was fine and a few days after that she acts weird by not being on the porch where she always has been wont come around her kittens or any of us and she hisses hits and growls at everyone including her kittens what is wrong with her please help?!?!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on June 10, 2015:
The good thing is that they're all very young. They'll need to learn to communicate with each other. The hyper kitty will need to learn when the younger kitties had enough,and the calmer kitties will need to learn effective ways to tell the hyper kitty they had enough. All this should be done without through body language and vocalizations without hurting each other. It takes time for new kitties to adjust to each other and being in a new home. The ones that seem calm, may just be a bit stressed and may open up as they get used to their new homes. I really never saw totally calm kitties. As with dogs, they may through the honeymoon period, where they are a bit shy and reserved, then once they're comfortable they'll start engaging in play. It hard though,to predict how things may turn out in the long run. Your older hyper kitten may have missed out learning how to communicate if she was a singleton or didn't grow up with other kitties, but hopefully being young she can catch up and they can all learn from each other :)
Julie on June 09, 2015:
Hi! I need help really badly. I've recently gotten a 10 week old kitten. Shes been so lonely without other cats so today i got 2 kittens (they had to be sold as a pair) who are 9 weeks old. The new ones are extremly docile and very lazy, while my old kitten is extremly hyper and playful. So far the new ones do not seem to like the kitten. Is there any chance that with two completely different personalities the kittens will get along? I'm just really worried that they will not and i have spent all this money for nothing.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 15, 2015:
It could be she feels safe in her home and doesn't like any intrusions. Like dogs, cats can be territorial too.
laura on April 13, 2015:
My cat hates when i come home smelling like other cats. She hisses and tries to bite me. Is it just because she does not like other cats?
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 08, 2015:
Sounds really a mystery! Since in one attack you were sleeping, I wonder if you were perhaps twitching or snoring and your cat aggressed because felt it was odd? Do you suffer from any sleep disorders like sleep apnea? When you were knitting, can it be your cat wasn't attacking you intently but was behind the couch after a ball of yarn? can it be you were about to fall asleep? or can it be he woke up from a bad dream? did any of his behaviors match signs of feline-hyperesthesia?I hope these were isolated events and that whatever triggered these attacks in those 2 nights is gone.
plz help reply on April 07, 2015:
They saw the vet only 2 wks prior to the attacks (worming tablets n check up) and were given a clean bill of health aswell. at the time my female attacked the male was asleep in my bedroom and did not wake or notice any problem until i got dressed to go to hospital. (i was asleep on the couch) and when my male attacked, the female was locked up because of her attack. (Attacks were almost a wk apart) he was cleaning his Head and i checked him after for any fleas cuts bumps anything and nothing i could find. Both attacks happened while it was quiet and fans, tv lights everything were turned off. We have tiles all thru the house no carpet and leather or wood funiture. and both cats are still fine with eachother they are still playing, eating and sleeping together they have never shown any problems towards eachother. They do not show me any issues they still want cuddles and follow me around and are very loving happy cats. Its only been these 2 night where they have done this (from my view) out of the blue. I have been observing them and they are acting normal like nothing has happened
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on April 06, 2015:
This sounds like a mystery, yet, there has to be a trigger. Since it's affecting both cats, most likely there something that's stressing them out. Even if you do not notice anything, think if you ever left them alone in the house or didn't watch them, can it it be something scary happened in your absence? Since your cat attacked you while you were sleeping, perhaps something scary happened just seconds before? Could there be static in the carpet, upholstery? Any animals they may see from windows? Any stressful events like loud noises, planes flying low? Any air blowing from a fan or somewhere else? Could it be your female attacked you in your sleep and was reacting from your male perhaps jumping up as he did on the couch after licking? Does the skin on their backs ever moved as if itchy and they get irritated from it? Even though they saw the vet regularly, things may change suddenly, so doesn't hurt to give them the benefit of doubt that something medical may be going on, especially if you tell your vet about these behavior changes, he may do a visit more targeted towards medical causes for aggression. It could be one cat has a problem and the other is stressed out from it and is reacting too. What area of his body was the male cat licking seconds before he jumped up? Observe them very carefully, but please be very careful I am so sorry to hear you got hurt so badly!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on March 05, 2015:
It's hard to say without seeing the behavior, the context and the accompanying body language. Since you suspect this particular cat, I would suggest not to leave cat and toddler alone; the cat can even scratch an eye! It could be a case of redirected aggression, from getting aroused, stress of even a medical condition. A vet visit may be a good place to start, and afterward, you may want to consult with a behavior professional such as a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or veterinary behaviorist.
Meghan M. on March 04, 2015:
Hello, almost a year ago my husband and In took in a beautiful rescue cat. Unbeknownst to us, she was pregnant, and after little over a month gave birth to 3 of the most spoiled, loving kittens anyone could ask for. We kept them all, and I love each and every one of them, and they are all so unique. Well, one of the two female kittens, Lazy Bones, or LB for short, is generally the calmest, most docile of the three kittens, out of nowhere scratched my 15 month old on the nose today. Yesterday scratches appeared all up and down my daughter's legs. She did not cry, and there were a couple of them in the room, so I couldn't be sure which one did it, but LB was present during that time as well, so now I'm pretty positive of the culprit. LB is 8 months old now, and aside from the two scratching episodes, she has not displayed any other signs of aggression, and my daughter doesn't appear to be scared of her, not even a little bit. What could be the cause of this scratching? I know my little girl wasn't being rough with her, she wasn't playing with her at all. I love this little kitten, and I don't want to give her up, especially if this is a temporary, fixable thing. Please help! I'm desperate for both my daughter, and LB.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on February 10, 2015:
Have him see the vet to make sure there's nothing wrong with me, he could be in pain, especially if he's always been a love bug and now he's suddenly not.
adry on February 10, 2015:
My neutered male cat, all the sudden, started getting fat and over aggressive. Hes been neutered for a long time, and hes been the best cat in the world. Now he wont let me touch him barely at all and when I do he growls or runs.
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on October 06, 2014:
When animals are stressed those stress hormones linger for some time. Let her stay quiet, try Feliway and limit her exposure to stress events. If interacting with you and your boyfriend further causes stress let her stay alone in a quiet room with food/water until she feels safe to come out.Also, consider having her see the vet if there are chances she may have gotten hurt somehow around the kids.
Leslie on October 06, 2014:
I have had my female cat for about 8 months, and she is 9 months old. She has lived with my boyfriend and I the entire time and has had normal cat behavior. Recently my 3 kids came to stay the weekend for the first time since have had the cat. The entire time they were here she was very aggressive. She would hiss and growl and swat at them. She even started being aggressive towards my boyfriend and I, which is very out of the norm for her. The children left her alone, and she still seemed to be very aggressive towards all of us. They left a few days ago and she hasn't returned to her normal self. She is still aggressive and seems to be angry. I really don't want to get rid of her, but we can't even touch her. I just don't understand what's wrong!
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 13, 2014:
Any way you can put a baby gate or block off the area so he can no longer have access to the staircase? If it's only that area that triggers such behavior, the solution may be as easy as that. Did your previous home have a stairway? If not, it could be he is frightened by it and when you walk there it may seem odd to him seeing you so high and then he may feel threatened by how you move your legs in an odd fashion as you climb up and down.
Alexia on September 13, 2014:
Hello. I have my cat for a year now, since he was born and is a male. We haven't gotten him fixed yet and before he use to play kindly until we moved to a new house. Recently he claimed the staircase as his area and whenever we walk up and down the stairs he would pounce at our feet, but now something worse happened. My father had a friend over with a little girl and she peaked her head to the staircase and he just jumped and attacked her whole head that she had to get stitches. My dad is very insecure about him now and thinks my cat will just randomly attack any of the family member at anytime. Oh and recently he was introduced to catnip to try to calm him down. I don't know if it could be his hormones or just trying be dominant. My dad is refusing to get him checked out by a vet because of money issues and maybe give him away :(
Adrienne Farricelli (author) on September 11, 2014:
Cats don't like changes,and it's evident that your other cat doesn't like the new hairdo, sure your cat is always the same, but from your other cat's perspective he looks different and even smells different since he was at the groomer. You can try Feliway, or feeding your cat tid bits of high value food every time the other cat is around.