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Do Savannah Cats Hiss?

Savannah cats can make a variety of normal house cat noises, depending on their mood. They have both domesticated cat and wild serval genes, and this greatly affects their behavior. This leaves many prospective owners wondering if Savannah cats hiss like wild cats.

Savannah cats do hiss, just as a regular house cat would. However, their hiss does sound slightly more sinister than a normal cat’s, thanks to the exotic genes they have from their wild serval parent or ancestor. Therefore, a Savannah’s hiss can sometimes sound like a snake’s hiss.

There are many reasons a Savannah cat may hiss, and you should know what to do if you hear your Savannah cat hiss. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about these interesting pets and what their hissing can mean.

Do Savannah Cats Hiss?

Savannah cats do hiss, just as any normal domesticated cat can. Wild servals also hiss, but their hiss can be louder (and scarier!) than a regular house cat’s hiss. Therefore, both parents or ancestors of a Savannah’s can hiss — and this hiss is then passed down to Savannahs.

While every Savannah cat is different, many owners have realized that Savannahs (as a breed) have a very interesting hiss. In fact, many owners state that their hiss sounds louder than a regular house cat’s, and can even sound more like a snake’s hiss than a cat’s hiss. This is thanks to their wild serval parent or ancestor.

However, every Savannah is different. They can make different noises at different frequencies. So, while many Savannahs have a unique hiss that sounds akin to a snake’s, don’t be worried if your Savannah’s hiss sounds like a normal cat’s hiss.

Other Angry Savannah Noises

Savannahs can hiss for a variety of reasons, though they often hiss because they are angry or feeling very threatened. However, Savannahs can make other noises when they are angry that are worth mentioning. Savannahs are known to growl (almost like a dog) when they are angry or want something.

Every cat is different, so some cats make more noises than others. Some Savannahs may growl all the time; others may growl only rarely. It really just depends on the individual cat and their individual actions. Some Savannahs may growl slightly at something like the doorbell or when they’re playing with their toys. These growls aren’t usually too aggressive.

Other Savannahs may growl at predators or when they also feel very threatened. These growls are aggressive and should be taken seriously. Once you understand the noises your Savannah makes — as well as their body language — it will be easy to understand how your Savannah is feeling when they growl or hiss!

Where Did Savannah Cats Learn To Hiss?

Nobody really knows where Savannahs or domesticated cats learned to hiss. There are a few common theories, though. Many believe that cats first learned to hiss when they weren’t domesticated by listening to a snake’s hiss. To fight off their own predators, cats began to try to imitate a snake’s hiss to scare their attackers away.

So, a Savannah sounding like a snake isn’t too farfetched then! Through many, many centuries, cats just started hissing because of this, and now it’s one of the common noises they can make, depending on the situation they are in. Cats aren’t taught to hiss by their mother. Rather, it’s instinct.

All cats are unique pets. Some hiss more than others, and some don’t hiss at all. However, even if you’ve never heard your Savannah hiss, this doesn’t mean they can’t hiss. Instead, it just means that they haven’t had a chance to. And when you learn why cats hiss in the first place, you might be thankful that you haven’t heard your Savannah hiss yet.

Why Do Savannah Cats Hiss?

For the most part, Savannahs hiss when they are feeling threatened or very stressed, though these aren’t the only reasons they might hiss. Often, a Savannah’s hiss is the last noise they make before they feel they have to attack. This hiss acts as the last warning to the animal or person who is annoying or scaring them.

This doesn’t mean that your Savannah will attack, though. Instead, they may just be yelling or warning the person or animal who is causing them so much grief. Pay attention to your cat’s stance and overall body language to learn if they’re about to attack or not. However, if your cat doesn’t hiss often and all of a sudden does, deescalate the situation as quickly as possible.

A hiss often means that your Savannah is feeling threatened and is deeply unhappy. Remember, cats first started hissing as a way to scare off their attackers! They learned to imitate a snake for a reason. However, this might not be the only reason your Savannah is hissing, especially if they seem to have a lot of wild serval traits.

Hissing When They’re Happy

Many Savannah owners have stated that their cat hisses when it’s clear they’re not annoyed or feeling particularly threatened. Instead, they act more like a serval and hiss as a form of communication from time to time. Slowly, you’ll learn more about the noises your Savannah can make and what they mean. Understanding your cat’s body language is also key to understanding their hissing.

Sometimes, Savannahs may hiss at you when they want attention. If you’re minding your own business and all of a sudden your Savannah runs up to you and lightly hisses in your direction, this might just be a sign that they want all eyes on them. But always check their body language before you ever try to pet or touch them.

Other times, your Savannah may hiss when they’re happy and attempting to communicate with you in some way. Again, you’ll be able to understand what your Savannah wants the more you pay attention to their body language. These happy hisses aren’t usually a full hiss, either. When your Savannah is upset and hissing before they attack, you’ll really understand the difference.

What To Do If Your Savannah Is Hissing

If your Savannah starts hissing, and if it’s clear this is a response to something or someone that is making them feel threatened, then there are a few things you can do. First, you should always try to deescalate the situation as soon as possible. A lot of times, this means removing the animal, person, or object that is causing your Savannah so much stress.

Never touch your Savannah if they’re hissing at another animal or person, even if they’re not hissing at you. This may stress them out even more and they could end up lashing out at you, especially if they don’t know what’s going on. Instead, pick up and remove the animal that’s stressing them out.

Always have a place in your house where your Savannah can run off to when they are upset and hissing. All Savannahs need a place where they can be alone and feel safe — and where they can destress quietly. Sometimes, this is a whole room. Other times, a bed they can crawl under does the job well. Savannahs also tend to love having cat trees or condos to climb up on.

What To Do If Your Savannah Is Hissing at You

If your Savannah is hissing at you, let them go off to be alone. They might be stressed about something you’re doing, or even something you’re wearing. Cats are fickle creatures and sometimes may become stressed out or scared by something small, like you wearing a hat or sunglasses. Give your Savannah the space to run away and hide, and therefore destress.

If your cat is frozen in place and won’t stop aggressively hissing at you, you might have to slowly leave the room instead. Remember, Savannahs can hiss as a last resort before they attack — and you definitely don’t want that. Savannahs don’t normally attack their owners, but if they’re feeling threatened for whatever reason, you want to deescalate the situation quickly.

So, whenever your Savannah is hissing, remove the reason for their hissing, even if this reason is you. If your Savannah has run off to hide after hissing, give them enough time to destress and be alone. Don’t go looking for them. They’ll come out of hiding and back to you when they feel the threat has passed.

Final Thoughts

Savannah cats can hiss, just as domesticated cats and wild servals can hiss. However, because of their hybrid nature, Savannahs have a hiss that sounds slightly different to a regular house cat’s. In fact, their hiss often sounds like a snake’s hiss — which is definitely a little scary if you’ve never heard them hiss before.

Savannahs will hiss if they feel threatened, and sometimes this hiss is the last sound they make before they attack. However, if you have an early generation Savannah that has many serval traits, you might hear your Savannah hiss when they want attention. Learning your Savannah’s body language can help you understand if they’re angry or just lonely!