I have a kitten about 10-11 wks old. She's very human-friendly, as sweet as can be and very active.

This morning as I was sitting at my desk she was doing the usual routine of running around and jumping on random objects. She tried to jump up on an area she's not allowed on and I did the usual gently block her from going there.

She then, in almost one motion, jumped on my lap, and made the face of a hissing cat (mouth open, teeth exposed, ears down and back, "angry" eyes) and a spitting noise (much like a hiss, but very short, about 1/4 second, with a slight "k" sound at the start) with eye contact, then jumped down and continued running around happily.

I've never seen a cat do this before.

What was that and what was she trying to say?

5 Answers 5


Hard to say. You're relaying what you noticed which could be a partial picture.

I wouldn't give it too much credence though, from the sound of it the behavior was just a spur of the moment thing. Kittens will often play in an exaggerated manner and try to test out boundaries / roles. She could have been saying "How dare you tell me what to do!?!" but the subsequent behavior makes it sound like she was putting on a little act.

Running in circles (the next behavior she displayed) can also be a behavior of a cat who is nervous for some reason (but I don't think that is the case here)

  • Yes, by "running in circles" I did mean her normal play.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 15, 2014 at 6:44
  • It’s funny, I’m re-reading this 4 years later; I’ve had many cats in my life and gotten to know them and this particular grew up to be, by far, the most entitled and belligerent one I’ve ever seen. The spitting behavior actually continues; she will do it in response to any level of discipline, even though she is (mostly) obedient. I guess it’s in her blood, lol.
    – Jason C
    Commented Aug 20, 2018 at 4:17

Yes, cats can "spit" as well as hiss, though it isn't that common. If it looked like this video...then it is a spit.

Jitterbug Does It Again

My guess is that it is just a kind of defense for a little kitten to make surprising sounds to make a potential foe move back in surprise.

  • 2
    Yes! Oldcat Thank you. This is what my cat does, and it is just what Jason C is describing. My cat is 4 years old and he usually does this when he's in a higher place and I or anyone else pass by him.
    – user7221
    Commented May 12, 2016 at 2:30

I know exactly what spitting is, my cat does it ALL the time when she's super happy and excited.. and from reading your post, I see your kitten who loves you also does it. I -used- to think cats only "spat" when they were extremely agitated or angry, but now I am solidly convinced that this is a sign of extreme excitement.

Excitement can be happy fun excitement, frustrated excitement or angry excitement, but there's no question my cat absolutely adores me, more loyal and loving than any dog.. and she's 8years old now and always spits when we play ball, or "gimme dat!" or just play/run around/sing and yell in general.

She gets very happy/excited and runs around as well, puffy tail, ears back, playful "full of the devil" eyes.. She jumps and spits, but if I grab her and pick her up, she's all love and brumbles. She can put all her claws on my face and teeth on my nose at her most excited, but she won't sink them in. If I yell at her playfully, she raises her meow even louder. Then she gets hyper and playful, and starts spitting at the ball she kicks around and attacks. It's super, super cute. She "pretends" to attack my ankles as I walk by, just pouncing on them and spitting.

Spitting is pure excitement, energy level 100%. Just like a little child screaming because they're happy and hyper. Or angry.


I have a male cat, about 8 yrs old and at night he is very territorial. He jumps on my chest and lays down between "the sisters" and crawls up as far to my neck as possible. Then he lifts his head and you can hear the spit coming up from his throat. He leaves a puddle on my neck, purrs, smushes his face all over my face, marking me with the saliva above his teeth. I read somewhere that that was a sign of marking their turf, but the spit is new to me. He been doing it almost every night for a year. He does almost the same thing to my son, minus the spit and gum rubbing. I love that my cat loves me, but the spit I can do with out. I am 56 and I have had many cats. This is the first spitter


My cat is a little over a year old and she spits on me from occasion. In fact, she literally just spat on me a few minutes ago. I was in bed and she was on the headboard above me and all of a sudden, I fell water on me and I look up and there she is, just staring at me. I believe it's just a sign of affection because this cat and I have a great bond with one another. I wouldn't worry about it too much...

  • 1
    This doesn't sound like affection to me... Have you done any research to confirm that? Can you share the links and information with us?
    – elbrant
    Commented Feb 14, 2019 at 2:08

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