Do Bengal Cats Hiss

Do Bengal cats have the ability to hiss?

  • October 3, 2023

There are always so many questions out there about Bengal cats. Some of them can be quite difficult to answer and others are very simple to answer. One such question we see a lot is whether or not Bengal cats hiss like other domestic cats. In this article we will answer that question for you and we hope that you will find the information helpful. In this article we’ll cover:

  • Do Bengal Cats Hiss?
  • Where Did They Learn to Hiss?
  • Why Do Bengals Hiss?

Do Bengal Cats Hiss?

This is one of those simple questions about Bengal cats. The resounding answer would be yes. Just like any domestic cat or wild cat, Bengals do hiss. It’s one of their main vocal abilities that they’ve had since as long as they could walk.

When your Bengal hisses you may find it almost comical when you look at that beautiful face that was once serene turned into a contorted version. Their mouth open wide with a sneer as their ears flatten down, back arching and tail fluffing out in a puffy plume. However funny it might seem to you, this hissing sound and the posture is nothing funny to your Bengal. This is because when your cat is hissing it means they are generally on defense. These sizzling sounding vocalizations are warning you to stay clear and to stay away from them. If unheeded, those huffing almost snake like sounds could lead to something far more serious. So, you might want to take that hissing sound a lot more serious since your cat means what they’re trying to express.

One good way to keep your Bengal cat from feeling uncomfortable and hissing is the Feliway diffuser kit.  We recommend this heavily as we’ve heard of it working well for those Bengals easily irritated.

Where Did They Learn to Hiss?

If you listen closely to a cat when they’re hissing you probably think right away that it sounds pretty much like that of a snake. There are a lot of feline behavior experts out there that actually believe that cats may actually have developed this hissing habit by imitating the sounds of snakes in the wild. It’s nothing new for another species of animal to learn to mimic others as a survival tactic out in the wild. The snake’s deadly and distinctive hissing noise definitely gets others to notice in hair-raising fashion. Everyone from humans to horses and all other animals in between.

By borrowing from the snake’s vocal warnings, cats are able to send their own signals of mixed emotions. It can tell those around that they may be scared but they’re ready and willing to attack anyone or anything they believe could be a potential enemy. It’s your cat’s own version of that sports idea saying the key to any good offense is always a good defense.

Any cat on defense, whether it’s a mother cat who is defending her little ones from unwanted attention, or the house cat that bravely confront that new vacuum cleaner is a cat that is a tangle of very taut nerves. Most cats who are determined to protect themselves hopes that their hissing is going to be good enough to keep safe.

Why Do Bengals Hiss?

This probably the hardest question to answer about Bengals and their hissing habits. The reason for this is that there are so many different reasons for them to hiss. It’s important for both you and your Bengal that you know what these reasons are so you can better understand your Bengals mood.

Something very important to understand is that for humans it can be easy for us to confuse playing with aggression. This is especially true when cats are younger because they tend to play pretty rough. However, despite all the mock battling while playing, hissing is never a part of that playful activity. Generally hissing is reserved for just two different emotions: anger or fear. So, if your Bengal is hissing at you, they are definitely not playing around with you.

Even though playing can be quite rambunctious with gentle biting, pouncing, swatting and chasing activities, hissing is never a component of feline rough playing. Even if one cat bites the other one a bit too hard, there rarely is no hissing attached to it. It simply turns into a lesson learned and they generally just stop playing.

Warning Signal

Often when your Bengal starts hissing they could be trying to send you a warning or maybe even a threat. It often means they are really upset about something and if the hiss is pointed at you, they generally want you to go away. When a cat is hissing, they can be extremely dangerous and it’s best that you give them the space they are asking for. If you approach a cat that’s hissing this to them may seem like provocation. Just like a snake, it’s best you stay clear.

Irritable Mood

Sometimes a hiss can be a way for your cat to let you know that they simply are not in a good mood. For instance, if you try to pet your Bengal and the response is a short hiss, they might be feeling like they are being overstimulated. Often this is because they may not feel like being social right then and it’s best that you honor their wishes.


Just because a cat is hissing doesn’t always have to mean they are being aggressive. Sometimes it’s an indication that your cat is frightened and simply is trying to protect themselves against whatever they might see as being a problem. This could be because they believe that something or someone is trying to hurt them and they are just hissing instinctively out of simple self-preservation.

Other Hissing Prompts

Even if your Bengal is extremely mellow, of course that’s not too common with Bengals, your Bengal may react negatively to any new arrival to their perceived territory. For example, if you bring home a new cat, dog or some other pet, it can leave your Bengal feeling threatened by them. They might perceive the newcomer as a real threat. They may believe they’ll steal their food, toys and most of all your attention. The new arrival sends your cat into a ready to rumble mode and the hissing is telling the newcomer to back off if they know whats good for them.

Often cats will hiss at people they are not familiar with who enter your home. Along with being a stranger, the person might be carrying in their own pet scents on them. This can make your cat feel uncomfortable because they don’t know them and they will advertise through hissing that they’re not too happy to meet them.

Cats often get very stressed out when confronted with extreme change and new experiences which can trigger a bout of hissing. All you have to do is spend a little bit of time at an animal shelter where newly arrived cats are being examined and you’ll think that you’re in a snake den with all the hissing. These poor cats are using hissing as their way to communicate their confusion, unhappiness, fear, and their willingness to lash out if they need to. Your Bengal will do the same thing if their environment is changed extremely.

Here’s a short video of a Bengal cat hissing.


How to Handle the Hissing Fit

If your Bengal is having a hissing fit, the best thing you can do for the both of you is to just give them a chance to calm down. If you are trying to introduce them to a new cat or dog, always supervise these interactions. Make sure to keep them safely apart until your stressed out Bengal has adjusted to the new changes.

Most important thing, give them space and try to ignore the hissing. Try not to yell or stare down your cat. Allow time do its work and when the hissing fit is over, be there to offer them the affection they more than likely will want after they’ve calmed down.

To avoid the hissing issues in the future, we recommend that you get a Feliway diffuser kit.  These kits will mimic cat pheromones and calm your cat down, no matter what their temperament is.

So, does that help answer your question about whether or not Bengals hiss and why? Please let us know what you think by leaving us a comment below.

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