Stray cat hissing when I go to feed her

There's a stray cat that's been coming around and I've been feeding her. The other day I went to put the food on the plate and she hissed at me for no reason. She has done this several more times.

I gave her food today and she didn't even eat. Is she sick?

Answer by kate
Hi, well if she is a stray or feral cat then her behavior towards you is perfectly normal. A hissing cat means that they are afraid of you and are trying to warn you off from coming any closer. if you are trying to befriend her then it can take quite a long time, the secret is to build her confidence and trust in you and she must do that at her own pace and must come to you. Any attempt by you to get near her or touch her will be seen as threatening behaviour so just continue to feed her and then move away from the food and some distance and just sit there, hopefully over time she will become less afraid of you and you will be able to closer to her or she may even come to you. But there are no garnatees with a feral cat that they will ever accept human friendship, it all depends on the individual cat.

Good Luck

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Hissing cat
by: Anonymous

I’ve been feeding a ferrle cat for 2 years now. She is much more comfortable than in the past and waits outside for her dinner every night. When I go out, she meows then makes the meanest hissing face and sounds. I don’t know much about cats, do you think she’ll come after me one day? I care about her/him and just made him a home for the winter. I put some catnip in it and hope he’ll use it. Any suggestions? Thanks.

STILL HISSES at me... the feral or homeless cat I've fed daily for 2 years!
by: Otherwise sane highly-allergic cat cohabitator


Have a previously non-chipped homeless cat, now very well loved! Took about 6 patient months for her to trust enough to come near & finally choose/be happy to stay inside house. She is very sweet & never hissed at people.

[Am highly allergic to cats & symptomatic even with allergy shots, so not looking to adopt more cats but they seem to find us animal lovers...]

The hissing cat:
He appears older. Has been eating very well out back for 2 years now, at least once per day. But STILL frequently hisses at me, even if my arm just carefully slides buffet platter out onto deck. Has allowed me to stroke head while eating a couple times, tho I would not attempt to pick up (for vet visit at least). Had wondered if he's not quite right in the cat-head, but perhaps 2 years of daily feeding exposure can't overcome what may be a long, hard feral life of survival by trusting no one.

Then again, 2 years hasn't been long enough to overcome my startle reflex at his sudden hisses! It's still unnerving and sometimes frightening.

Hissing cat & her kitten
by: Marie

I started feeding a cat and then realized she has a baby. I feed them both but the mama is really wild and the baby wants to come near me but when it's mama is near it acts just like its mama. Why is that? The baby will feel more comfortable with me when its mom is not around. And the mama hissed at me when I go to feed her every time but she's right here waiting for me to feed her & even waits for me at my door.

Hisses when fed, but despite that allows stroking
by: Bronwen

I've been puzzled by a young full tom who comes to be fed several times every day. He is sitting leaning against the glass back door first thing nearly every morning.

When I go out with the food he sometimes hisses at me before I put it down. But once it is down, he goes to it and allows me to stroke him without flinching or twitching, and no hissing.

(I have three other cats: two neutered, who are in or out until night; and an 11-year old neutered tom who has to be a cared-for outside cat because he sprays constantly in the house and even my legs given a chance. This neutered tom and the stray full tom seem to get on, or at least tolerate each other, at quite close quarters.)

We started feeding this stray, if he is one, because was have to feed our outside cat outside, and this stray would come and clean up whatever was left and wander around the house in circles yowling loudly.

Lunchtime today (second feed), he spat at me three times as I was outside putting the food in the bowl, each time leading in with a short miaou:"Miaou-hiss; miaou-hiss; miaou-hiss" but went to the bowl without fear and didn't react when I stroked him several times. He had in fact stepped inside the house as I was opening the sachet: I said No, firmly, but he paid no attention and I had to go in and stand in front of him to steer him outside. He didn't hiss then.

Why does he not seem to mind being stroked? It's almost as if he has feline Tourretes and doesn't know what he's saying.

My main worry is that although he lets me stroke him I believe I won't be able to pick him up to get him to the vet (is he chipped? what about jabs? etc) or kennels. So when we go away he will go hungry.

The advice here is not to attempt to touch such a cat, but that's not been a problem so far.

Any thoughts on his behaviour? I want to continue with softly softly, but I don't think I'll make enough progress before we go away.

hissing feral cat.
by: Ben

i feed a feral Cat who had two kittens about a year ago, so i feed them as well. She always hisses at me and curls her tail on her back, but one of her kittens has become very friendly and actually meows and comes to greet me when i pull up outside the house, and has started to let me stroke her. But the Mother follows still hissing. I think maybe thats just how she is and its just natural for her. i blink my eyes at her and she blinks back. like a mutual smile. She comes very close but if i go to stroke her she hisses and moves away. So thats my signal to not try it. But the kitten is friendly.

by: Anonymous

Steph, do you get closer to the cat than your husband?

I get more hisses than my mother who is the other less frequent feeder of ours but whereas he will get fairly close to me (see an earlier post) he keeps a good few yards from her.

Speculation of course but I'm wondering whether that although getting closer might mean more trust, the cat might also feel the need to give out more warnings because he is closer?

Feral cat
by: Steph

We have a 21 year old indoor cat and a feral cat that adopted us during severe winter weather 5 years ago. Feral cat has been hissing at me more and more lately even though I'm the one that feeds him/her most of the time. He/she never hisses at my husband. Any clue why this happens?

by: Anonymous

I've been feeding a feral tom for about 2 years. His latest approach is to stand a few yards in front of where I put the bowl (the previous way, he would walk round and stand behind the where I put the bowl hissing as I approached). I walk a yard towards him as he hisses, h backs off a yard, faces me and hisses again. This is repeated 3 or 4 times until he gets behind where I put the bowl.

I stood still for a while this morning when he got to the proper place. To my surprise, he decided to approach me. Even that had to be accompanied with hissing!

He's an odd one. We've tamed and kept feral kittens and an older cat who I'm pretty sure had known life with people before (abandoned?) becoming feral but I'd guess this one has gone 5 or more years from birth without knowing people. I doubt he will ever become really friendly but he's interesting.

Inside cat got outside
by: Anonymous

I recently brought a stray cat inside my home it was outside for at least two years that I'm aware of, it has been 6 months inside, though quite fond of me, the cat got out after searching for hours I found her and it took me quite awhile to get her back inside, I managed to get her in and now she seems different, stares out the window alot and doesn't seem to be attached to me like before.. what happened?

taken in stray but she does not like my female cat
by: wendy

I have two cats brother and sister aged 2 , they are good together, then we took on a stray ,female tsbby, pretty cat,and can be loving,but not with my female cat, chases her off and she is so scared of her, hides, the boy cat tolerates her ,only just! I just want them to get on, the stray cat we found out later was left when this family moved home! We dealt so sorry for her, but feeling more sorry for our original cats, they are really soft nice cats,don't no what to do? Help

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