Scared Cat: Cat Hissing

by Brooke LaJoie
(Melbourne, FLorida)


My boyfriend and I went out of town and we left our approx. 1 year old cat with our neighbor. We have left him there before for a week and he was completely fine, however, this time around he began hissing and growling at the neighbors. I honestly have only heard his hiss twice in the past year. One time when the vet was taking his blood and the other when one of my friends picked him up by his neck. He also has been going to the bathroom all over her floor! The only time he has ever gone outside the litterbox is when we did not leave the door open where the litterbox is located at our home and he left us a present in front of the front door. We live in an apartment complex where my apartment is the exact same but opposite as the neighbors. I just found out the litterbox was located in the same small bathroom as his food and I had her move it. She said there is some progress but the cat is still hissing at the baby. Is my cat homesick? depressed? or is this a permenant anger?

Thank you for your help!!

Hi, Brooke

Your kitty probably misses you and his own home terribly. It doesn't matter to him that the apartments are alike or close to each other. Her home is not his home and it doesn't smell like his home and cats HATE change. They need the security of "sameness".

He's not angry. He's scared. Is the baby new? That would explain it right there. Or is the baby older than before and is now able to make more noise or reach for him or crawl after him?

Also, as you seem to know, cats do not like their food near their litter box. So that may have started or certainly contributed to the problem.

There are many reasons, you see, that he is upset. Also, I have to mention that it's possible he has a urinary tract infection either from stress or just because he's a cat. That would make him exhibit these signs as well.

If you're not coming back very soon, and he is still acting this way, a vet visit would be in order. When you come back, if he is not acting normally in his own home, you should have his urine checked.

Again, he is not angry. This is not permanent. He is scared and homesick and a bit depressed. Until you get back, can she get into your apartment to get some dirty clothes of yours or other objects that can be around him that smell like home? Or can he just live in your apartment and your neighbor check on him a few times each day?

You say he's hissing at the baby. That may well be a big part of the problem. Whether the baby is new or not since the last time he stayed there, the child is certainly a different age and acts differently and it may be terrifying him.

Let me know how it goes and write if you have any other questions.


Dr. Neely

Return to Comments about Cat Behavior.