Why Do Mother Cats Hiss At Their Kittens

Why Do Mother Cats Hiss At Their Kittens? 12 Hidden Reasons

Most likely, your cat is hissing at her kittens because she is scolding them for being bad, she is stressed out or worried, or she hasn’t seen them in a long time and doesn’t know who they are.

So, now you know. Could this lead to violence, though? How can you make sure this doesn’t happen? How long does it take for this behaviour to stop?

What Does Cat Hissing Sound Like?

Hissing is a common thing for cats to do. It sounds like a snake hissing or air leaking from a car tire. Feline behaviourists say that cats learned to hiss by imitating snakes as a way to stay alive in the wild.

When a cat hisses, it lets out a quick burst of air from its mouth and makes a hissing sound. If you get close enough, you can feel the cat’s breath coming out of their lips when they hiss.

A hiss could also change depending on what was going on. A hiss can be anything from a silent, open-mouthed gesture that shows displeasure to an angry hiss with full-on spitting. The following things happen when something hisses:

  • Mouth open with tongue curled
  • Ears flattened
  • Back arched
  • Hairs standing on end (also called piloerection)

Why Do Mother Cats Hiss At Their Kittens

Main reasons why your cat is hissing at its kittens

As was already said, there are many reasons why your cat acts the way it does. But here are some more details about the main reasons:

1. They Are Trying to Teach Their Kittens

Most cats are very good at taking care of their kittens. So, they put a lot of love and care into everything they teach.

But sometimes, a mother cat might hiss at her kitten to teach her something. So, if you see your cat hissing at her kittens while she’s trying to teach them something, don’t worry; it’s normal.

2. They Are Scolding Their Kittens

Kittens are a strange group. Because of this, they might cross borders when they aren’t supposed to. If this happens, the mother cat might find them and hiss at them.

For example, if a kitten plays with the mother cat’s tail, it might get angry. During this stage, the cat, like a human mother, may scold their kitten to put them in a place.

3. They Have Been Separated

If you take a kitten away from its mother, the mother may think that the kitten is a stranger.

So, they will start hissing at them and acting like any other cat would.

4. They May Have Stress or Anxiety Problems

Stress and anxiety affect a lot of cats. It happens a lot. So, if your cat always hisses at her kittens, you might want to take her to the vet and have her checked out.

She might be worried or stressed, which might or might not be because of her kittens.

5. Mother cat is just tired

If the mother cat is tired, she might get angry and hiss. When you think about it, she does have a lot to do. They need to be fed, cleaned, watched, taught how to use the litter box, and so on.

So it’s normal for her to get tired and tell her kittens to take a break when she hisses at them. Don’t think this is a big deal. It’s just a short time while she takes a break.

6. Because of weaning

Weaning is when the mother cat teaches her kittens how to take care of themselves and moves on to food for adult cats. As they get close to the end of this phase, she may hiss at them.

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This is because she is telling them that they are no longer being fed milk and that they need to take care of themselves. In the end, you need to go your own way and move on.

7. Time to hunt for food

When the mom cat is ready to look for food, she may hiss at any kitten that tries to follow her. The warning says, “This is something I have to do on my own.”

She knows that these kittens are still too young to hunt. So it’s just a reminder to relax and wait until she comes back with food.

It is similar to people. Has your mother ever told you, “Wait here; I’m just going to the store to get some food?” Come back later?” It’s basically the same thing.

8. Telling them it’s time to leave

When the kittens reach a certain age, after they have been weaned and can take care of themselves, the mother cat may hiss at them to leave.

This may sound harsh and strange to us humans. And really, it’s for us. But this is how cats act all the time.

9. Hormonal imbalance

Sometimes, a mother cat’s hormones can be out of whack. This can make people worry about her ability to take good care of her kittens and other things.

But in very bad cases, this could cause cats to have phantom pregnancies. Even though they are not pregnant, they are having similar symptoms, including signs of labour.

10. Unexpected changes in routine

Small things, like a new visitor or family member, can sometimes make your cat feel uneasy. When this happens, it can sometimes get angry and hiss.

This could be meant for you or for her kittens. And, unlike the other reasons, this one might be hard to spot.

Why? because you haven’t changed your mind about anything important. But to your cat, it’s everything.

11. Invading space

When your cat is just getting used to its own space, having kittens around can be annoying. In other words, it might bite or hiss in this way. It might grow out of this as it gets used to the new kittens.

Some cats, on the other hand, have trouble getting past it. And for those, you need to find ways to add more space or come up with a whole new plan.

12. Lack of exits

After the invasion of space, there aren’t many ways out. So, if you think it’s best for your cat and kittens to be kept in a cage in one place, This might not be true.

The mother cat might like some time alone every now and then, or she might like it if her kittens could go for a short walk.

Could Your Cat Get Violent Towards Her Kittens?

A mother cat can hurt her kittens if she wants to. As of now, there are no good reasons for this.

But hormone changes and stress caused by changes in the environment, like a lot of noise or having too many cats, are two of the most common reasons.

What Should I Do If My Cat Hisses?

In the short term, move away from a hissing cat to avoid getting scratched or bitten.

Here are some steps you should take:

  1. Give them room to move around and let them hide if they want to feel safe. Do not look at your cat or try to hold it or make it feel better.
  2. Make sure your cat has a lot of places to hide and ways to get away from other pets. Cat condos, cat trees, cat perches, and other high places are great because they give cats safe places to rest.
  3. Give your cat some room to move. Cats often need a few hours to calm down.
  4. When your cat is quiet, get them to come out by giving them food, catnip, and other good things. Toys, treats, or canned food can sometimes help calm a cat down when it’s feeling anxious or stressed out.
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Why Is My Cat Being Mean to Her Kittens?

If you think your cat is being mean to her kittens, think about the following points:

  • Your cat might teach them how to behave if it hisses at them and tries to hurt them. This is also a way to punish someone.
  • Your cat’s kittens may be old enough to live on their own. In this case, the mother cat won’t treat them as her babies anymore, but as grown-up cats.
  • Your cat might have had more kittens and is now crazy about them. She might hiss at the older kittens because of this.
If your cat is just being too mean, you should take her to the vet to see if she is showing any signs of stress.

How Do I Get My Cat to Stop Hissing at My Kitten?

You can get your cat to stop hissing at your kitten by using the methods below.

1. Keep Things Separate

Cats don’t like to share anything, not even their food bowl or bed. So you should always keep different things separate.

To avoid fights, you should give your kitten and cat separate rooms, beds, and even food bowls.

2. Don’t Let Them Interact Much

You should make sure the first time your kitten meets your cat is short and pleasant. You can’t always keep an eye on them, so this may seem like an odd solution. You can try to keep them in a different room, though.

3. Use a Diffuser

Cats can sometimes fight with each other. You can prevent this by purchasing diffusers (click here to read Amazon reviews #Ad).

These diffusers assist both the cat and the kitten in remaining calm and quiet so that they do not fight.

4. Give Equal Attention

Lastly, your cat may hiss at the kitten if she thinks she isn’t getting enough attention. On the other hand, if you don’t take care of your kitten, she might get anxious when you’re not around.

So, it’s important to give both cats the same amount of attention if you want to keep peace and harmony in your home.

5. Slowly integrate them

Some cat owners make the mistake of putting the cat and kitten together too soon. This is when it can get in the way.

To stop this from happening, give them a way to see each other and smell each other without touching. A simple baby gate or a clear barrier in a doorway are two examples.

This will help them get to know each other and give you a chance to watch how they interact in a controlled way. If you see that they are getting along well after a few days, you might think about taking down the wall.

If it acts hostile, growls, or hisses, you need to give it more time. Don’t worry, though. As they get to know each other, it will happen. And, hopefully, this will all be over in a few days.

The most important thing is not to hurry.

How Long Does It Take for a Cat to Stop Hissing at Kittens?

A very angry cat with its nails and claws out.

Cats may need between seven and ten days to get to know each other. But if it takes more than 7 days, you might want to limit how much they can do physically during that time. This will help them feel more comfortable around each other.

You can also give them treats to help them get along with each other.

Can I touch the kittens, or will my mother cat not care for them?

This depends on how close you are to your mother cat.

If you know her well and have known her for a long time, she might not mind if you touch her after the first two weeks of her life.

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Rarely, a mother cat will hurt or kill her kittens if they are touched because she no longer thinks of them as her kittens. Because of this, it is usually best to wait if you can.

At seven weeks old, they start eating solid food, and your touch is very important for their happiness because they need to learn to like being touched by people.

After two weeks, the best way to hold a kitten is to give her attention and love if you have a close relationship with the mother cat.

Let her smell your scent before you pick up a kitten. That way, when you return the kitten to the nest, she will know who handled it because your scent will still be on it.

No matter how many times you pick up a kitten in a day, you should always do this.

Can a Mother Cat Live With Her Kittens?

In spite of what most people think, a mother cat can still live with her grown-up kittens if they all live in the same house.

Why Do Mother Cats Hiss At Their Kittens

Even if she has a new litter, the cat will still let her older kittens nurse.

So, a mother cat can live with her kittens as long as they are well taken care of.

Could a Mom Cat Start Hissing at a Kitten After Being Spayed?

A mother cat may start hissing at her kittens after being spayed (click here if this happens to your spouse). It’s possible that the mother cat can smell the strange smell coming from the kitten. But as of now, there is no clear reason for this.

Is it normal for cats to hiss at kittens?

This is normal behaviour for a cat that has just met kittens for the first time. But in the future, this shouldn’t happen. You should think this will be over quickly, maybe in a few days.

In either case, it’s important to keep them apart and keep an eye on how they get along during this time. This will help you figure out when it’s time to start putting them together.

Do cats get jealous of a new kitten?

Yes. A new kitten makes some cats jealous. This is mostly because when they are first brought together, a new kitten can get more attention than them.

This is not just true of kittens, though. Cats can be jealous of babies, other animals, or even things that don’t move, like a smartphone.

Basically, anything that takes your attention away from them could be seen as a threat to the relationship you have with them.

Should I ignore a hissing cat?

No. Hissing is important to pay attention to. In fact, you should avoid being confrontational in any way. This is because it doesn’t deal with the real cause of the problem.


Hissing is how a mother cat shows she doesn’t like something or is unhappy. It doesn’t matter where it comes from or why it’s happening.

Even though a mother cat hissing at her kittens may seem scary, it is normal. However, if it seems to get worse or happens often, her vet should be called.

If you’re not sure, separate the kittens from the mother if they’re not too young. This will keep everyone safe if she seems too worried. We all need a break from our kids once in a while.

Princy Hoang
See more articles in this category: Cats

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