Cat Hissing at Visitors

by Ronnie

Our cat is normally very outgoing and affectionate to me, my husband and 3 year old daughter. She does sometimes give us a nip when we pet her, but the main cat problems occur when we have company.

She hisses at everyone who enters. She will even sit near them and when they go to pet her, she will hiss, and has even struck out with her paw. She has been spayed and is four years old - we have had her since she was a kitten. She has also "growled" at people when they come to the front door and will stare them down when they enter. What can we do to stop this?

Reply from Liz (Editor): I'm pretty sure these cat problems are caused by your kitty thinking she's the family's protector. She's trying to protect your home - and you and your family - from "invading" humans who, as far as she is concerened, are a threat and not welcome! It's actually quite endearing when you think about it, but is obviously a real nuisance when you want to invite people over.

This page on the website gives some guidance on how to deal with this problem. The type of cat described on this page isn't exactly the same as yours, but the solutions to the behavior are the same:

Dominance Driven Angry Cats

Besids the advice on the above page, you can let your cat know that her behavior isn't acceptable. If she growls, hisses or swipes at a visitor, say "No" to her, once, loudly, then pick her up and put her out of the room. You can let her in a bit later, but if she repeats the behavior, say "No" again and put her out again. If she's good when she's with the visitors, however, praise her and give her lots of attention. The repetition of this will reinforce the good behavior and discourage the bad.

You may never get rid of these cat problems completely, but you should at least be able to modify her behavior enough so that you can have people round without worrying about how she will react.

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