Upside Down Hiss
Our cats would hardly hiss before June.
They would chase each other, and wrestle, and meow in that manipulative, adorable, trilling way, but hiss, no. And never spit.
June doesn’t speak their language. She likes a distressed meow, and loves the super-scared kitty whale-call, particularly if it’s paired with a puffed-up tail.
To a cat, this means “I’m freaking out!” To June, this means, “We’re about to play tag and I’m it.”
But she gets the hiss.
I work with June, of course. I praise her for leaving them be. We do “be nice” bonding sessions, where we all sit quietly in close proximity. The animals take turns being praised.
It is a long road to mixed-species bliss. Sometimes the cats bait her. They’ll prance by her over and over, waiting to be chased.
For the longest time, Boris—the feisty grey tabby, and leader of our household—just wanted her away from him, about 3 feet away, no matter what. He communicated this in hisses, spits, and swipes. The swipes really worried us at first. But thankfully, over time, they went from “I mean business” side swipes, to these half-hearted, “I’m just going to paw the ground to send a message,” swipes.
And now, the hisses are winding down as well.
Yesterday Boris and June were in the windowsill doing their Garfield and Odie routine. Boris was stretched out in supreme sunbeam comfort in the far left sill. June was also stretched, to her full length, in the right sill. Every 30 seconds or so, she’d inch ever so slightly closer.
Finally, when her nose hit the 4-inch mark from his, Boris, who was now upside-down, sunning his white belly with all four legs in the air, let out a very soft hiss from his lounging position. “Would you stop annoying me already? I’m trying to get some sun.”
It was cutest hiss I ever heard.
Plus, June stopped.