Why does a non aggressive feral cat hiss at me before approaching his food?

  • I'm feeding a feral cat. He still hisses at me before approaching his food, but no other signs of aggression (e.g. flattened ears, lashing tail). Now allows me to scratch his head briefly. Unsure whether this is  typical feral behavior or if something neurological is going on. Seems if cat was rabid, he would be in decline after a ~2 months. Thoughts?

  • @Constance Jeske Hi Constance, I believe because you are feeding him - he is slowly building up his trust towards you. And thus now, he is allowing you to touch his head for a moment. Feral cats avoid human contact but can become more comfortable around humans who feed them - but, will prefer to remain detached in the long term. 
    Also, just a thought: a scared stray cat can be misjudged as a feral, as the fear and/or defensive aggression he might display could be indistinguishable from the fear and/or defensive aggression displayed by a feral cat. However, given some time, most frightened stray cats will stop displaying violent fear to humans - while feral cats are most likely to only have extremely fearful and defensive responses to humans. Much like any wild Bobcat or Lynx would. 

Please login to reply this topic!