Why Would a Cat Randomly Hiss at Just One Person?

A hiss is your feline friend’s protective strategy.
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While it may seem random to you when your cat hisses at one person, there’s cause behind your cat’s action. Hissing often arises out of some type of fear, which puts the onus on you to determine what’s troubling kitty about this particular person or situation.


A cat hiss is an aggressive act. If your house guest was petting your cat, she may hiss to indicate she’s through being petted. Or she may hiss from fear if she perceives the new person as a threat. Finally, if your cat wasn’t socialized as a kitty, she can hiss at new people. This one random person may very well be the tip of the iceberg. Only time will tell whether kitty hisses at others, and under what circumstances the hissing occurs.

Why Cats Hiss

When a cat feels threatened by something, such as a dog walking by her yard, or someone, such as your house guest, she mimics an animal far more dangerous than she is to frighten the intruder away and protect herself. Quite often, it works. Your house guest probably won’t go near a hissing cat. If he does try to pet or engage your cat, scratching and biting may follow. In short, hisses can’t be taken lightly and are not play behavior.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions cause hissing, including dental problems, arthritis, nervous system diseases and a hyperactive thyroid. If your cat has just started hissing randomly when being handled by one person whom she’s never shown fear toward before, she may very well be in pain. Take kitty to the vet for a checkup to see if the new hissing behavior has a very real physical cause.

What to Do

In the moment, cat hissing can increase tension. Move into another room to allow your kitty space to calm down. If you’re unsure what caused the behavior, check with your vet to rule out medical conditions. A vet or a professional cat trainer can help you work with a fearful or poorly socialized kitty to minimize future hissing, should it occur. If you know your kitty hissed from over-petting, just tell your friend not to pet her.

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