Cat Hisses When We Bring Her Inside Our Apartment

by Sarah
(Zurich, Switzerland)

Our cat has taken to hissing and guttural growling when we bring her up from the shared basement of our house. Yes, like the internet meme, she's a basement cat! When she manages to get outside, she goes through the hissing and growling / caterwauling thing again.

She is 2.5 years old and this is a new behavior. We cannot exactly leave her outside (foxes, cars) or in the basement (we share it with 5 other units). How do we nip this newfound hissing in the bud?

Reply from Liz (Editor): It's quite unusual for a cat this age to suddenly start hissing this particular way when she hasn't done previously.

Does she hiss whenever you pick her up or is it just when she's in the basement or outside? If she's now hissing whenever she's picked up, inside or outside the apartment, this page will give you some ideas on the possible causes and solutions:

Cat Hissing and Growling at Whole Family

If she's hissing purely because she doesn't want to come back in, you need to persist with getting her back in when you want to - i.e. she needs to learn that her aggressive behavior won't get her what she wants.

If she's not actually attacking you, if you have the nerve you could just carry her upstairs, ignoring her hissing and growling. If that's a bit too scary (and if she's unpredictable I wouldn't recommend it), you could take a cat basket with you and put her in that to bring her back upstairs. Once she's back in the apartment and calm, give her lots of fuss and attention so she learns that coming back inside is a positive thing.

A potentially easier way to overcome this would be to entice her back with a treat. I know this may seem like it's rewarding bad behavior, but it's preferable to giving in to her aggression. The treat can be something really small, just enough to get her back inside without a fuss.

Best of luck with solving this and thank you for your question.

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