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Why Is My Mom Cat Hissing at Her Kittens? [Surprising Facts]

If your cat has recently given birth to kittens, you may have noticed that she is not always the sweet and loving mother you expected her to be.

And If this is your first experience with a nursing mom, you may be quite surprised to see your cat hiss at her own babies.

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If you’ve ever seen a mother cat hissing at her kittens, it can be quite perplexing. It seems like an unusual behavior for such a caring mother. But cats use hissing for several reasons

Mom Cats will often hiss to get their babies’ attention. This is to show them how to behave or remind them where the litter box is.

If a kitten strays too far from the nest, a hissing mother will let it know that it needs to return immediately. In addition, cats may hiss at their kittens if they feel threatened by another animal in their territory

 For example, when a kitten approaches another cat or other animal in its territory, it may cause the mother cat to become agitated and defensive.

Also cats are highly territorial and often make loud noises when they feel threatened. For example, if a dog enters the area near the mother cat’s nest, she will likely try to drive it away with a loud noise.

mom cat hissing at her kittens

When it comes to kittens, though, sometimes momma cats use hissing as a way of communicating with them.

It’s part of their maternal instinct; your cat is just trying to keep her babies safe. If you think about it, she might not want her kittens around you because she doesn’t want you touching them while she isn’t there.

Or taking them away from her especially if this is the first time you’ve ever seen the kittens.

Common Reasons Mom Cat Is Hissing at Kittens

  • She feels threatened: Maybe there’s another animal nearby who is making her feel unsafe. Otherwise she may just be hissing to let the other animals know that she doesn’t like what they’re doing.
  • She is uncomfortable: Mother cats sometimes hiss when they want their kitten to stop doing something. Maybe they’re being too rough, or maybe they’re being too needy. Either way, Mom will let them know what’s up with a quick hiss.
  • She feels scared. Cat could be hissing because she feels like she doesn’t have a safe place to retreat to if danger comes. If this is the case, then try giving her something that will make her feel more secure. Things like food bowls or blankets in quiet areas of your home where no one goes much of the time
  • She wants to be left alone. Cats need their space. Mom cats will let their kittens know when they’re not in the mood for playtime by hissing at them.
  • She is stressed out: Hissing may also be a sign of stress (either current or past). If you cannot see any other signs for a medical issue, it could simply be that she is stressed out.
  • She is sick or in pain. If your cat is feeling ill, she may need some time to herself even from her own kittens! This could be because she is not feeling well enough to care for them thoroughly. Another reason could be, she doesn’t want them disturbing her while she recovers.
  • It’s getting close to weaning time

Read also: Can A 2-Month Old Kitten Eat Dry Food

Just like humans, kittens too, go through a transitioning process from which they stop breastfeeding from their mother and start to eat solid foods.

If your mother cat is hissing at her kittens, it might just simply mean that she is tired of nursing them because they have reached the weaning stage and are more likely to stop breastfeeding and ready to try out solid foods.

Why Is Mother Cat Growling at Her Newborn Kittens?

If your cat was acting aggressively towards her newborn kittens, then she probably felt threatened or nervous about something in her environment.

Try to identify what may have caused this reaction so you can take steps to prevent it from happening again or avoid putting her back in that situation.

A mother cat growling at or hissing at her newborn kittens is not uncommon though, and it does not necessarily mean anything is wrong.

While it may seem like an alarming behavior for a mother cat to have towards her own young.

there are several reasons why she may be doing it.

1.      Her kittens are too rambunctious

Newborn kittens can be very rambunctious, and this can sometimes cause a mother cat to feel overwhelmed.

She may growl or hiss at them as a way of telling them to calm down. She may even swat at them with her paw if they’re bothering her too much.

2.      Her kittens are sick or injured

A mother cat could be growling at her newborn kittens because she senses that one or more of them is sick or injured.

If your cat is growling at one of the kittens, you should check to see if they appear to be unwell or in pain.

3.      She’s feeling protective of her kittens

Just like any other protective parent, mother cat wants to make sure her kittens are safe and not near any potential threats.

You should also look out for signs of illness in the mother cat, your cat could have mastitis. Mastitis is an inflammation of the breast tissue that results in pain and potentially fever for your cat. It can also cause your cat to be irritable with her kittens.

It’s also possible that the mother cat is protecting her kittens from something, such as a predator or another pet in the house.

If you notice your mother cat growling at her kittens and you can’t find anything else going on, it’s usually a good idea to take her and the kittens to a vet for more information.

Other Reasons Mother Cat Is Growling at Her Newborn Kittens

It’s never easy to see an animal in distress, but it’s even harder when the creature in question is a newborn.

When you see a mother cat growling at her kittens, aggression; and even cannibalism, can seem like the most obvious explanations.

While both are possible, there are many other factors to consider before jumping to conclusions about what is wrong with your feline friend.

Although it can be difficult to figure out what is going on with your cat, determining the cause of the problem will help you find the right solution.

To do this, you need to figure out what has been going on in her life and how she is feeling overall. Try asking yourself some of these questions,

  • Has anything changed in my cat’s environment?
  • Is there any chance that she was recently injured?
  • How old are her kittens?
  • Does she spend a lot of time alone?

Read also: How To Get Kitten to Stop Nursing on Sibling

Mother Cat Hissing at Her Older Kittens

It is perfectly normal for mother cats to hiss at their older kittens as they reach the age of weaning.

Mother cats consider themselves entirely responsible for keeping their kittens safe. That said, she may be doing this if she perceives them to be in danger.

If there are young children or other animals in your house, the mother cat may be sensing a threat to her babies and expressing her concern through aggressive hissing.

If there is no apparent threat, the mother cat may simply be trying to teach her kittens how to behave properly and get along with one another.

While kittens are very playful and energetic, they can still be quite delicate, which can lead to strained relationships between siblings.

If a kitten is being too rough during playtime, it’s possible that the mother cat will feel protective and start hissing  at her kitten as a way of disciplining him or her without resorting to violence.

Sometimes you may notice that the mother cat will even hiss at one kitten while allowing others to continue playing happily.

This is because she considers each kitten different, and she will treat them accordingly based on their personality and behavior.

While mother cats are fiercely protective of all of their kittens. She will sometimes feel it necessary to intervene when siblings fight or play too.

Why Do Mother Cats Attack Their Older Kittens?

Once the kittens reach maturity, they will leave the mother cat’s side.The mother cat may feel threatened by this change in her environment. That could possibly cause her to attack her older kittens.

The first thing that you need to understand is that cats are very protective animals. They don’t like strangers and they don’t like change.

If they were able to stay with their new litter of kittens, they would probably keep them until they were old enough to become self-sufficient adults.

Unfortunately, their litter is only around for a short period of time.

It’s not uncommon for a mother cat to attack her older kittens, especially if she has a new litter. The sudden presence of smaller and more helpless babies in her life can make her feel that she needs to protect them from the rest of the family.

A mother cat may also attack her older kittens if they try to nurse from her. This could be because she wants all the milk for her younger babies.

While you can’t stop the mother from attacking her kittens, there are some things you can do to keep everyone safe and make sure the kittens get enough food.

In some cases, a mother cat will attack kittens when they are moving around too much or making too much noise. A mother cat is likely to see those behaviors as a threat to her new kittens’ safety.

She wants to protect them. So, she strikes at the source of the disturbance which in this case is coming from the older kittens.

Although this behavior may seem harsh, it is actually a sign that your cat is acting like a normal mother.

Also read: Why is Mother Cat Panting While Nursing?

Why Is My Cat Being Mean to Her Kittens?

Whether you’re a first-time cat parent or are well experienced in the ways of cats, it can be heartbreaking and frustrating when you notice your cat starting to be aggressive toward their kittens.

There are several possible causes for this behavior, but more often than not, there’s nothing to worry about.

Your cat may just be trying to teach her kittens some important lessons that will help them grow into strong adults.

Some people worry that a mother cat who is being aggressive toward her kittens might reject them or abandon them.

This is usually not the case. Aggression is just one part of a mother cat’s parenting strategy.

She may spend weeks being loving and caring for her kittens before she starts to push them away.

Some mother cats may even appear less affectionate as soon as their kittens are born, but this doesn’t mean they won’t care for them properly.

The most common reason why mother cats become aggressive toward their kittens is weaning.

At this stage in their development, they begin to eat solid food rather than feeding from their mother exclusively.

A less common cause of fading kitten syndrome is when the mother cat has been separated from her litter for any length of time during the early weeks.

This can happen when a mother cat is moved to a new home before the kittens are weaned. Other times this can happen when the owner takes one or more of the kittens away from their mother.

When this happens, it’s important to monitor the situation very closely. Many cats will not adapt well to this type of separation and may even accidentally hurt their kittens while trying to re-establish contact with them.


There are several possible reasons your cat might be hissing at her kittens. If it is happening suddenly and without warning, your cat could be in pain or under stress.

And, If it is happening only while the kittens are nursing, your cat might feel that they aren’t properly attached to her nipples and need more encouragement to nurse.

If it starts when you approach your cat with a kitten, even if you’ve never witnessed them sharpening their claws on you.

It is likely that the cat feels her kittens are vulnerable and that removing them from the context of the nest will reduce the risk of harm coming to them.

Other times, when a mom cat sees her kittens as more competition for resources, it’s time to step in and offer a little extra one-on-one time to help ease any tensions.

In this case, keep in mind that new kittens in the household can be a disruption on mom cat’s routine. So, give her some space during this adjustment period. On top, don’t make a big deal out of it when she hisses at her new family members.



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