Feeding the Neighbor's Cat and He's Hissing at Me!

by Cathy
(Maine)

Hissing Cat

Hissing Cat

I've been asked to feed our neighbor's 3 cats and one of them is hissing very loudly and growling at me. Every time he comes near me it frightens me. What can I do to let him calm down and know that I'm not an intruder. Please help!! Thank you!!! Cathy



Reply from Liz (editor): I feel for you with these cat problems - you're trying your best to look after someone else's cats and getting a load of aggravation in return!

This cat is trying to defend his home - you're right when you say he sees you as an intruder.

I don't know how long you're looking after the cats, but if it's only for a short time, I wouldn't worry about trying to solve this. The more you can ignore it, and the less bothered you can appear to be about it, the better. Don't speak to him, look at him or try to approach or pet him when he's doing this.

When cats hiss it's largely just a show of bravado - they're saying "don't get too close to me, I'm really scary!" The cat will be extremely unlikely to actually attack you unless you try to pet him or get too close to him when he's hissing. My guess he's hissing from a distance anyway - he's basically scared so will be very unlikely to get too close.

If the hissing is really bothering you, try distracting him when you go into the house. You can do this by getting a handful of dry cat food treats (for example) and throwing them to an area well out of the way of where you're sorting out food bowls, litter boxes etc. This will not only distract him, it will also hopefully make him start to realize that you're not an enemy.

If you're likely to look after him again and you don't want a repeat of this, it may be a good idea to visit your neighbor's house several times when they are present. That way, the cat will get used to you, realize you're not a threat and be more likely to accept you in the future.

The following pages on the website will give you more pointers on dealing with these types of cat problems. Best of luck!

Aggressive Cat Behavior

Cat Hissing

Dominance Driven Angry Cats

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