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Welcome, Crazy Cat People!
Why is my Maine Coon hissing at me? Maine coons are supposed to be friendly, sociable gentle giants but what about when they hiss? What does it mean? Does hissing mean your Maine coon is angry and about to attack?
I have spent my life observing cats and learning about their behaviour and have used my knowledge of our feline friends to answer your question!
As a general rule, when a Maine coon hisses, it often means they are experiencing fear and maybe feeling intimidated; it could also be a sign of chronic pain or discomfort. A Maine coon who hisses frequently could be chronically stressed, and it’s important to get to the root cause of the problem.
Later in this post, I delve a little deeper into why Maine coon cats hiss, why they hiss at a particular person and more importantly how to deal with this behaviour should it arise!
So Keep reading crazy cat people to learn more!
Check out the featured post in this series that looks at just how vocal Maine coons are and how to deal with over-vocalisation! – Click here to read now or bookmark for later
Why do Maine Coon Cats hiss and growl?
First of all, I would like to say that hissing and growling should not be a common occurrence in a Maine coon.
Maine coons are one of the friendliest gentle breeds of domestic cats. Yes, they are large but don’t mistake them for being aggressive due to their size. They truly are gentle giants so if they are hissing at you then there is a problem.
So let’s have a look at why a Maine coon may hiss or growl.
Hissing is normally a warning sign – It’s your cat telling you I don’t like what I’m experiencing or what you are doing and I am warning you because I don’t want to bite you or hurt you. I have the ability to hurt you but it’s not in my nature!
I did a Poll in a popular Facebook group to find out the nature of a Maine coon and if aggression was a common trait the results are below!
|My Maine coon is super friendly
|My Maine coon is friendly with one person
|My Maine coon can be aggressive
As you can see Aggression is not a common trait at all in Maine coons, they are generally very laid back felines. So if they are hissing at you then you know that there is something wrong!
Cats cant unfortunately speak about how they are feeling so it is important to get to know your cat and what their individual vocalisations mean.
Why does my Maine Coon hiss when I pet them?
This can be a common reason why your cat may hiss. Maine coons love to be petted and stroked by their owners.
They are serious suckers for affection!
However, cats hair follicles can start to register petting as pain if they are stroked too much or in an excitable way. Don’t worry they generally will not bite you straight away they will give out a warning sign which if you don’t detect in their body language you will know because they may begin to hiss.
Cats can become over-stimulated too with new people around and conflict in the home, so look out for the signs of stress and give your cat the space they need to cool down.
Why do house cats hiss at each other?
Hissing amongst your house cats can be a common issue. All cats including the loving and gentle Maine coon can be territorial.
It is common for cats to hiss at each other from time to time. Cats need to have space in the home that they can call their own, they need individual space. Territorial aggression can be easily treated by making sure cats have multiple litter trays, scratching posts and beds. Cats are not always fans of sharing these essential items.
It is also a good idea to design your home with your cats in mind, creating vertical space with wall mounted cat shelves and lots of places to jump up high can provide lots of space for your cats to claim as part of their domain.
Hissing may occur when a new cat is introduced to an already established feline household, this is common until all cats have established territory and got used to each other being around.
Why does my Maine Coon Cat only hiss at one person?
Maine coons can tend to be wary of strangers. They are very friendly but they are also highly intelligent and they know not to give their trust away easily.
If a stranger tries to approach them when they are already feeling wary and fearful then hissing may be a natural response.
Strangers in the home should not push themselves on your Maine coon. It’s okay to hold out a finger to let your cat do a scent investigation on them if needed and to offer them treats but to go straight in for a stroke on a cat who is already fearful may be a recipe for disaster.
Another common reason for them to hiss at one person maybe jealousy. This again is not a common behaviour in Maine coons but can be an issue if the cat was poorly socialised as a kitten or they have a tendency towards insecurity.
You may want to read my post ”Do Maine Coons Get Jealous” which details why cats get jealous and more importantly how to deal with this behaviour! Click on the link to check it out!
Your Maine coon can pick up on conflict in the home
Maine coons have a naturally high level of intelligence and I firmly believe cats can feel emotions, they are natural empaths.
If there is conflict in the home between family members or between you and your spouse then your Maine coon will be able to sense and feel these emotions.
This may be a reason why your cat is acting scared and fearful. Remember hissing is a sign that I am stressed, scared and please back off and leave me alone!
Resolve the conflict in the home not only for your sake but for the sake and sanity of your little fur babies too!
Your Maine coon may be hissing due to pain!
If it is out of the usual for your Maine coon to hiss and they do this when you touch a certain area of their body and there is no other known cause your cat may be in pain.
For any sudden changes in behaviour, it is always a good idea to take your cat to a qualified vet to be checked over. Your cat may be experiencing several different health issues. In older cats, it could be a sign of arthritis but I am in no way a vet so let the professional check them over.
They may hiss at you if your bugging them
We all have bad days when we dont want to be fussed and we want to be alone. Your Maine coon is no exception!
Some days they may not want to be picked up or touched and it’s important to respect their boundaries when they feel this way.
Of course if your Maine coon starts to feel this way every day then there may be another problem but if it’s a one-off then dont worry too much. They may have just had a bad nights sleep and feel cranky. A bit like me until I’ve had my 3rd cup of coffee in the morning!
How do you train a Miane Coon to stop hissing?
When your cat is hissing the first thing you need to do is get your cat detective hat on and get to the root cause of the issue and this will go a long way in helping you understand your cat’s behaviour.
I hope that by reading this post you can understand the root cause of the problem so you can begin to act appropriately. Remember that your Maine coon will rarely hiss out of aggression and it is normally due to feelings of vulnerability and fear.
The first thing I would advise is to give your Maine coon some space before you reassure them. Just allowing them to cool down properly before you re-assure them will prevent them from acting out in any way towards you.
Never scream, yell or chastise at a cat who is hissing, they will not understand and will learn to associate you with negative emotions and chances are the yelling will only serve to increase their stress even more.
Here are some other tips to help stop hissing!
- Introduce major changes slowly over time
- Make sure there are enough resources for each cat in the home
- Consider getting pheromone plugins such as Feliway that help reduce cat stress
- Again, please get any new behaviour checked out by a vet to rule out health conditions.
If there are new changes in the home such as new pets or new people then this can be a stressful time for your Maine coon and this could be why they are acting out.
Once they have calmed down please make sure you show them just as much love as before the change occurred, they may just need a little love and reassurance that everything is going to be okay and that they are still your favourite.
As always take care of yourself and your little fur babies!
Mark (The Crazy Cat Man)