Home Cat Behavior Why Do Cats Arch Their Backs?

Why Do Cats Arch Their Backs?

by Modi Ramos
1795 views

When we think of cats arching their backs, we usually see this as sign that they are scared. When cats do this to other cats, it’s typically viewed as a challenge to the other feline. We will see cats do this to dogs as well. When cats are afraid, they’ll often arch their backs as a way to make themselves look larger. Their tails will often puff up, too. But this isn’t the only reason why cats arch their backs. Keep reading to find out other reasons why cats arch their backs—one of which is pretty darn cute!

Here’s a Few Reasons Why Cats Arch Their Backs…

When they arch their backs and puff up their tails

Most of the time when we think of this cat stance, we instantly imagine the quintessential Halloween black cat. Cats do this as a means to make themselves appear larger to whatever is making them feel threatened at the moment. Kittens who are learning the ways of the world are much more likely to do this as opposed to mature cats.

Dr. Sharon Crowell-Davis writes on VetStreet.com that, when a cat looks like this, he is basically saying, ‘I’m scared of you but I’m ready to defend myself if you come any closer.”

When your cat puffs up their tail, this isn’t always a bad thing or should be seen as if your cat is scared. Cats can puff up their tails as a sign that they want to play. Pay close attention to your cat’s body language, specifically the direction of their ears. A classic sign that a cat is angry or threatened is when their ears are pointed down and backwards.

why cats arch their backs

Ah, that feels nice!

For an animal that spends more than half of its day asleep, it’s no surprise that they need to stretch a lot to get their body moving. But know that they’re not always asleep when they’re “asleep”, because often times they are simply snoozing. For a cat, they need to rest as much as they do because of their high protein diet. Your cat’s body needs to break things down and it takes a lot of work internally to process that meat they eat.

When your cat has woken up from their most recent cat nap, you will often observe them arch their back as they get the blood flowing and their body moving. And your cat is doing this as a way to get a good stretch. Your cat’s back is VERY flexible, so although it seems like one heck of a yoga move to you, remember that their flexibility is superb. While humans have nearly 34 vertebrae in their backs, cats have nearly 60 so this allows them to really hit that arch shape.

why cats arch their backs

Arching backs can be a weird way they profess their love for you

Of course the quintessential black Halloween cat image comes to mind when we think of cats arching their backs. But when your cat is being petted by you and they arch their backs, this is a weird way they show their love for you. It’s as if their body is saying to you, this feels really good and I want to get even closer.

If you’re petting your kitty and you’ve reached a sweet spot that feels really good to them, they’ll arch their backs because they love the action taking place and want to give you easier access to it. Under normal circumstances, an arched back is a warning or sign of fear. But when your cat is arching back when you’re petting them, this is a sign of love.

This naughty kitty looks ready to spray right in his owner’s kitchen

Arch back when spraying

When a cat sprays, this is when a small amount of urine sprays out to mark a territory. Often times, the tail will make a quivering motion as the urine is ejected on to the desired vertical surface the cat wishes to spray. Cats will also arch their backs when they are about to spray urine onto a surface to mark their territory. For those of us that know this, we might quickly freak out a bit when we see our cats perform this behavior indoors as cat urine is not an easy cleanup.

Cats are territorial beings as we know, so they use spraying as a means to mark their territory and also for sexual marking purposes. Remember, this is much different from the reasons why cats will avoid the litter box. This feline behavior could have something to do with their health, but remember that it’s hardwired into their DNA to behave territorially. And, as we know, some cats are far more territorial than others. If your cat is spraying after being fixed, this is something you will want to address with your veterinarian.

As we know, cats are not fans of change. Have you recently added to your clowder of kitties and your existing cat has started spraying as a result? As mentioned above, cats are territorial beings. They like change strictly on their terms and they cannot protest by way of meows. Therefore, they rely on other means to object to the presence of a new cat encroaching on all their precious things in their home.

Did you learn anything new and interesting about our feline friends? Share this article with other cat owners that you know so that they can learn something, too.

Have you ever wondered why cats love to stare at you? Turns out, it’s not just because they want food! Find out the reasons why here on cattitudedaily.com.

You may also like