Cat parents can agree that their furry friends standing on their back legs are adorable and oftentimes even very funny.
Have you ever wondered why cats will stand on their hind legs and if there could be any underlying medical conditions causing this behavior? There are many reasons cats stand on their rear legs, and it’s usually not something worrisome.
Keep reading to learn more about why cats stand on their hind legs sometimes.
Why Do Cats Stand on Their Hind Legs?
There are a variety of reasons our cats may enjoy perching on their hind legs.
Sometimes it can be something as understandable as curiosity, but at other times it can be a sign of something going wrong within your cat’s body.
This topic has been studied by cat experts for years. This list contains some of the most probable reasons your cat stands on their hind legs.
Common Reasons Cats Stand on Their Hind Legs
#1: Your cat could be excited!
Cat behavior can sometimes be baffling. Cats will constantly do things that make us either shake our heads, laugh, or just be straight-up confusing…to us, at least.
One of the things your cat may do when they are excited is jump, stand on their rear legs, and get the “zoomies.” This is common silly cat behavior.
Cats often enjoy standing up on their hind legs when they are playing with a toy or each other.
This is sometimes called being like “kangaroo cats,” as they seem to impersonate kangaroos with their configuration and hops.
This behavior is very normal amongst kittens who are learning, growing, and experiencing the world.
Cats show their excitement in many different ways, and many are very entertaining to watch.
#2: Your cat could be curious or scared of something.
Cats are fairly small animals, and when they become scared or curious about something, they may stand on their hind legs.
This is partly due to a survival tactic that may be used to help them listen and assess whatever is going on, or it may just be a reaction to being startled.
This could be similar to how humans react by jumping when scared or frightened by a loud noise.
#3: Your cat is trying to play an intimidation game.
Oftentimes, when our cat feels threatened, the natural thing for them to do is to make themselves appear as large as possible.
I’m sure you have noticed passing cats hissing and raising their spinal cord at one another paired with fur standing on end.
The same thing can happen, except with the cat choosing to stand to intimidate its competitor. This can be especially common amongst outdoor cats.
#4: Your cat may just want your attention.
We all know that cats enjoy having their legion of fans to run to whenever they want a rub or treat. Your cat may be doing something silly, like standing on its hind legs in order to get more attention from you.
One of the surefire signs your cat may want attention that could lead to standing on their legs would be the cat giving you a head bump to try and get more pets.
This behavior is known as “bunting” and is a social behavior in cats where they share each other’s scent.
#5 You own a Munchkin cat.
The social media scene has taken off with videos of Munchkin cats sitting or standing on their legs and holding their front paws up as if they are begging or waving.
#6 Your cat smells something and is investigating or wants a treat
Cats’ noses are very keen. They can smell things we normally can’t.
That being said, they can smell our dinner even better than we can, and this can lead to your cat trying to get a tasty treat by standing on its hind legs.
One of the cutest sights is a curious cat who has taken hold of a smell they particularly enjoy. They will climb and clamber onto just about anything if they are interested enough!
#7 Your cat could have an underlying condition.
One of the rarer reasons that cats may stand on their back legs could be due to a number of health issues.
Health Issues Your cat could have:
- Soft-tissue damage or a problem with their spinal cord, such as spinal disease.
- Congenital defects (especially if the behavior has gone on for a long time.)
- Blood clots or heart disease (or another heart condition.)
- Radial Hypoplasia- When the long bones in the front legs are malformed. The front limbs will usually be shorter than the cat’s hind legs.
- Neurological conditions
Your vet will usually perform a physical examination. This may include your vet drawing blood, looking for signs of illness, and seeing if any underlying causes are missed.
Some cats may have a genetic predisposition to walk on their rear legs. If they stand on their hind legs too long, it can lead to rear leg weakness.
#8 Your cat may be a special needs or disabled kitty.
Another one of the possible causes for a cat standing in an upright position would be that they are a special needs cat or may be disabled.
Many times senior cats especially can develop issues or disabilities. Such cats need extra care and vet visits.
Some cats may be born with a disability that can promote or exacerbate walking on their hind limbs.
Other times, cats can be born without front limbs, and this will cause them to hop around or move in another style of eye-catching movement.
Can I train my cat to walk on its hind legs?
There have been many people who have “trick-trained” their cats to do many different things.
One of the most common tricks taught to cats is to ask them to stand on their rear legs on command.
First, work on gaining your cat’s trust, then encourage them with treats to perform tricks. Adding in clicker training or other methods may help speed up the process.
What if my cat stands on their hind legs too much?
Generally, you do not have to worry about your cat stressing their back legs out unless they have a medical condition or disability.
You will want to discuss these concerns with a vet you trust to make sure you have ruled out any disabilities or conditions so you can provide your cat with the right support.
My cat stands on their hind legs while waiting for feeding. Is this normal?
Yes! This is normal behavior. Some cats meow while waiting for an anticipated meal, some stand on their legs and beg, and some do other things.
You may not be able to change this behavior as it stems from being excited. Cat training has become much more popular over the years.
Will older cats stand on their hind legs?
Of course, with age, it is harder to do physical things for a cat just as it is for a human.
So while there is nothing about ‘age’ that would suggest an older cat may or may not stand on its hind legs you will probably see it less often than in a younger cat.
Why does my cat stand up when it wants to be petted?
Your cat may stand up because it loves you and wants your attention!
A Cat Standing on Its Hind Legs is Normal
There are so many possibilities when it comes to reasons your cat may be standing on their hind legs.
From something as silly and entertaining as trying to get more of your attention to being curious or even just wanting a treat.
Unfortunately, there are times when standing on their hind legs can be a symptom of something much more serious.
It is always a good idea to have a vet take a look at your cat if you are worried about their behavior.
We wish you the best of luck with your cat, and if you have any funny cat-standing stories, we would love to hear them!