Cat that has HISS-y fits - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-23-2004, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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Cat that has HISS-y fits

Hi, hopefully someone here can give me some advice. We have a female cat that's going on 4 years old. She is spayed. She HATES women and kids. She hisses at any woman that comes over. It doesn't matter if you're 10, 30, or 60 years old. You WILL get hissed at. She hides in our bedroom when kids are around. We have tried things such as giving her a stern "NO" when she's hissed. She's even gotten put in the bedroom with the door shut for 20 min. or what have you. She hates that. when we have had women over she will sit across from them on the floor and just stare them down. It's almost freaky! This usually happens after getting scolded for hissing.

This cat loves the guys. She's their best friend. She's a 'Daddy's girl'. She follows my husband everywhere he goes, she's always with him. When we're watching tv, he's who she goes to for attention. I'm only good for her when he's not around. LOL!

She doesn't have as much of a problem with boys (children) as she does the girls. Other than this hissing and growling problem she has she is THE perfect cat. No lie. She doesn't jump on the counters or dressers. I have never known a cat that's been so well behaved than she is.

At her last checkup the vet said she's healthy. We've never brought this problem up to the vet cause even though she's had this problem with women and kids since we've had her, it hasn't been to this degree. The only thing we can think of is it's her personality. Just like not all humans like each other.

We want to have kids one day and getting rid of her is the LAST thing we want to do, but we also can't risk her possibly biting a kid. You know how kids are with animals, pulling tails, ears, carrying by the neck. Our other cat, who's almost 3 years old, you can do whatever you want to him and he just takes it. He actually will go right to the kids and play with them, letting them do what they want. And he's never grown up with kids. He loves it when kids come over. LOL! Yes, the male cat is neutered in case you're thinking that could be part of the problem.

Anyway, my husband said it'd be like giving up a kid if we had to give her up. Those 2 have such a bond that I know it'd break her little heart to leave her at a shelter, much less ours. Giving her to a friend or family member isn't an option. You can suggest giving her to a 'male-only' household, but most bachelors have moms, sisters, 'girl'
friends, etc that come over once or twice. so they'd be having the same problem we are with her. If we HAD to get rid of her the shelter would probably put her down cause she'd be 'a danger' cause no one can really have her with that problem. As I said, this cat is perfect. Everything you'd want in a cat, with the exception of this hissing and growling.

Sorry this is so long, but I just wanted to lay everything I could think of out on the table so you guys can get a good idea what's going on. Thanks for any advice.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 01:59 PM
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Have you tried contacting an animal behaviorist? Ive seen some feature on Animal Planet. One was connected with a vet school. They might have answers for you.

Ive never heard of something like this before. Would be interested in hearing what you find out. im sure there are answers for you. Good luck
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-24-2004, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sure there are answers to this strange behavior, but finding it is the challenge. I've looked online and some of them are tied in with psychics. I personally do not believe in psychics, so I won't go that route.

The sites that did list just regular behaviorists charge $100/hr. roughly! I did tell my husband that I want a woman behaviorist if someone was to come to our house and deal with Simone. She hates women, so maybe she'd pull off her little fits and they can see first hand what she does.

We often wondered if she wasn't mistreated by a woman? I don't think I mentioned that when we got her at the shelter they said she was a male. Well, a UTI at the Emergency Vet showed that he is a SHE. So, there could have been a screw up with the paperwork at the shelter and we read the information of another cat when we picked her up? You know how you can read if they like other cats, dogs, or need to be an only cat? So, I wonder if the correct information on her is she does not do well with women and children?
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 07:21 PM
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Well, I've read that Hissing is actually an expression of fear (and that is my experience with hissing). So, It sounds to me like your cat is afraid of women as opposed to hating women.

If I were you, I'd try to work with her to overcome her fear. Are there any women that she likes? When strange people come over, put her away in a bedroom or somewhere where she feels safe with the door closed, unless the guests are willing to help her overcome her problem. If it's a good female friend, maybe she'll help. If the cat is staring the friend down then she should not look at the cat. The cat is trying to say that she is not afraid and will not be pushed around. (Staring being a challange sign). Given the hissing, I would assume she is trying to convince herself of that fact. When this cooperate female friend is there, put some yummy cat food or treat a few feet from her and then ignore the cat. Over successive visits more the food closer and closer. Only give this treat when female friends are visiting. Something great, like tuna. Just make sure the friends make no threatening moves toward the cat. Slowly, very slowly, the cat should adjust to females and realize they aren't a threat.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 07:50 PM Thread Starter
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Kitty's Mom

Good suggestion. I've kind of wondered that myself. We're wondering if maybe Simone wasn't mistreated by women sometime in her first 2 years of life. If she hasn't been mistreated, then why is she afraid of women? It's not like the women that come over are overpowered with cologne or anything.

I also forgot to mention that my Dad's girlfriend's 2 girls came to stay with us. One time for 8 days, another time for like 4 days. Both times she hissed anytime the girls walked by. She wasn't even used to them after that length of time. They're 16 and 13. The 13 year old is very mature for her age. Well, we tried the treat deal, and I would have them give the kitties their tuna. Anything to try to break the ice. In fact, one time was rather funny, but frustrating at the same time. As I've said, she is a "Daddy's girl" and always prefers my husband for her attention. We have a sectional, and instead of just walking over to where he was and getting on his lap, she insisted on jumping up on the 13 year old's lap where she's sitting at the other arm of the sectional. She hisses at her, walks across the lap of the 16 year old, hisses at her, and proceeds to my husband. LOL! We laughed but were annoyed that she had to do that. I mean, she's the one that did it, so she has no reason to hiss. It's not like they picked her up or anything. She is a cat that insists on sniffing you before you pet her. The girls would do that and she might headbutt their hand that it's ok to pet her, but then she'd hiss when they do.

I did tell my husband though, that maybe if the girls were staying with us for like a mth. or a whole summer that maybe she'd get used to them and wouldn't hiss anymore? Also, when we have kids, a newborn baby is around all the time. By the time that baby is old enough to start crawling and chasing after the cats, she'll probably be used to a baby being around. Most of the 'babies' that are coming over to our house are 2 year olds that are noisy and like to grab at the cats. So, she's probably feeling threatened by the fact that they're being dumped on her as opposed to just being around all the time. Know what I mean? Just an idea.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 08:53 PM
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My mother has a cat that does almost this exact same thing! She's going on 10 years old, and i have to say she's gotten much better about it over time. However, her hissing was with kids, or any stranger she didn't know. I'd be holding her, and if someone walked up to her that she did know, she'd hiss. She wouldn't bite, or scratch, she'd just hiss and walk away (or run for that matter). We always thought it was the weirdest thing, because she grew up (we got her when she was 6 weeks old) with us (i'm now 21).

All i know is that it got better with age, and i believe i agree with the person that stated it's more out of fear then being aggressive.

Hopefully she will grow out if it. If you do find any answers I'd be very interested in what you find.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-26-2004, 10:35 PM Thread Starter
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I found the following on the internet:

Occasionally, a cat that is friendly to family members is consistently aggressive to people who are visiting. Such cats do not exhibit fear or defensive behavior when a visitor enters but boldly approach and threaten (hiss, swat at, and chase) the stranger. This type of aggression may be restricted to the home; when the cat is in another environment, no aggression to strangers occurs. Aggressive behavior of this kind is uncommon, and we have had little experience treating it.

This is so true. Simone is fine at the vet and when women at the petstore approach her, but at home....

Also, she is fine with people coming to visit. She is fine with women being in the same room with her, but if they walk by or come near her, she hisses.

Another thing I read was to let the threatening person feed the cat or play with them with a wand or some sort of toy. We have done this. She is fine with women playing with her and feeding her. It's just when they come near her or walk by. Or when she insists on walking on them and hissing.

Sorry I seem to drag this post on and on. I'm just trying to give you guys every possible scenario that has happened or that we've tried. This way you guys may have some suggestions or ideas. Or maybe even have been through this yourself. Thanks for your help!
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