Is hissing at cats bad?

sweetiecat3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
2,721
Reaction score
1
Location
US
Whenever somebody comes over - friends, relatives, parents....And the cats scratch at furniture, they hiss at them to try to get them to stop. So, I kind of fell into the habit of doing that, but just for a couple of weeks. Then I thought it may be kind of mean to do such a thing. I have heard elsewhere that hissing at a cat is NOT to be used in training, and to do so is like a direct threat to the cat, like ganging up on them or saying you're going to hurt them, or that you hate them, or that you are better than them. But on here, I've heard a couple times that is SHOULD be used for training the cat.

Nowadays, I only do it if they are doing something EXTREMELY bad, or if they are fighting and are hurting each other, which is rare, so I don't do it very much.

So basically my question is, is it okay to make a hissing sound at cats if they just scratch furniture? Or should the hissing sound not be made at all, because it's just a very mean thing to do?

I know there are many opinions and theorys (kind of) on this issue....I guess there may be no clear answer, but any behavior experts or trainers, or people with a strong opinion on this out there?
 

obi

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Jan 7, 2005
Messages
540
Reaction score
1
Location
CA
The idea behind hissing is that you need to speak the cat's language in order to get them to understand. Making a loud noise (yelling, clapping) startles them and is unpleasant, so they may stop doing it only because they don't want to hear the unpleasant sound again. Hissing, on the other hand, is cat speak for "knock it off, dude!" so they know that it is actually a "bad" thing to do, not just that if they do it a bad noise will result. Mom cats hiss at their kittens sometimes, just like human kids get grounded. It isn't mean. It's teaching without hurting.
 

denice

Advisor
Staff Member
Advisor
Joined
Feb 7, 2006
Messages
14,891
Reaction score
7,707
Location
Columbus OH
One of my cats got into a really bad habit of play biting my hands even though I always initiated play with a toy. Someone told me to pick him up by the scruff of his neck and hiss at him while putting him on the floor. They told me this mimicks the mother's discipline and it worked very quickly.
 

bab-ush-niik

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Jan 17, 2006
Messages
574
Reaction score
2
I've used hissing on my cats before, and it does seem to work. I reserved it for times when they were being aggressive (either swiping at a person, antagonizing the dog, or hissing at other cats without instigation). It does cause them to stop, and it worked a lot better than just yelling. Yelling seemed to just cause them to move the aggressive behavior to another room. Hissing got them to stay where they were and make an attitude adjustment.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

sweetiecat3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
2,721
Reaction score
1
Location
US
Thanks everyone for your replies. So I guess I'll try making a small hissing sound when they get into trouble again and see how it works....
 

coaster

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
May 28, 2005
Messages
5,174
Reaction score
7
Location
Wisconsin
Hissing at cats isn't bad, I just save it for when I really want to make a point.
 

jane_vernon

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Messages
3,413
Reaction score
1
Location
Sydney, Australia
Hissing in a cats head just means "Back off before I REALLY get angry!!!"

So I think its a perfectly acceptable way to get a cat to stop doing what its doing.
 

lilleah

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Nov 18, 2005
Messages
1,877
Reaction score
2
Location
Bright & Sunny Florida
I also Hiss, but only when I know I dont want them to that ever again. Because it really gets thier attention, and they will walk away from whatever they were doing because they are like "whoa..That really sucked" lol..
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #9

sweetiecat3

TCS Member
Thread starter
Top Cat
Joined
Nov 14, 2005
Messages
2,721
Reaction score
1
Location
US
Originally Posted by lilleah878

I also Hiss, but only when I know I dont want them to that ever again. Because it really gets thier attention, and they will walk away from whatever they were doing because they are like "whoa..That really sucked" lol..
Yeah that's how my cats react....
 

KitEKats4Eva!

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 11, 2005
Messages
6,394
Reaction score
16
Hissing is talking to cats in a language they understand. In that way it is actually LESS cruel and more appropriate to do so. But, just as cats don't hiss at one another for every little thing, what you're doing is correct - selectively hissing for the real `no no' stuff, and redirecting for other less important things. Well done. It's perfectly acceptable.
 
Top