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6 Reasons For Cats Standing On Hind Legs

6 Reasons For Cats Standing On Hind Legs

Our wonderful felines manifest many adorable, but also some odd behaviors. Sometimes they do things that we can’t figure out what the reason behind them would be!

Perhaps you have seen your cat standing on hind legs. This unusual behavior caught your attention, and you can’t help but be curious.

Why does this happen? What’s the reason behind cats standing on hind legs?

Of course, you don’t need to worry, since there is always a good explanation for why a cat does something,

In this case, there are six common reasons for your cat to stand like this. Let’s explore them!

1. Noticing A Threat Or A Prey

cat standing on hind legs and looking up

Cats are naturally dominant creatures.

If you have multiple cats in your household, and would like to know which one of them is the dominant one, look for the one that hoards toys and foods, and the one that tries to mount other cats!

A cat standing on her hind legs could also be seeing a threat and manifesting her dominance by trying to look intimidating. It could also adopt this stance to get a better view of another cat or even a dog it spotted from a window, for example.

Furthermore, your cat may assume this standing position upon catching sight of potential prey, whether it’s a bird, lizard, or rabbit.

Despite cats being domesticated today, they still have their intense prey instinct, and always react upon seeing potential prey.

You can see a cat standing on her hind legs in the video below.

2. Attention Seeking

Anybody who doesn’t own a cat might think these pets are super independent and self-sufficient, but I think all cat parents would disagree, at least to some extent.

Cats do need our attention, and to interact and socialize with us. They can’t use words to say this to us, but they can show us their desire for attention by doing some weird stuff, such as standing on hind legs.

If you see your cat standing like this, she probably wants you to give her a minute of your time.

Maybe she just needs you to play a bit with her, or to give her some nice pets.

Your cat is probably okay with being home alone for some time. But, she will also be happy to see you coming back!

This will mean it’s time for your special time together, and that, once again, you will direct all of your attention to her.

3. Stretching Out

cat standing on hind legs on a couch

This standing position could point out to nothing but a cat enjoying a nice stretch!

Some cats can display funny sitting positions, such as sitting as humans, to stretch out, while some others will stand on their hind legs to get the same pleasure.

Live Science explains how cats love to stretch out because this feels good for them and helps increase their blood flow.

Moreover, stretching helps them to reactivate their muscles after a period of inactivity, like after a nap.

Therefore, this is actually a pretty good thing to see in your cat!

4. To Get Food

You probably keep your cat’s food and treats in a certain place, and your pet is aware of it. 

Every time you head in the direction of this place or your cat notices you looking like you’re about to delight her with her favorite treat, she might rise up on her hind legs.

You might have caught her up doing this even though you were not planning on giving her any food at the moment!

Therefore, your cat could stand on her hind legs to get the food herself.

You should be careful here, because you don’t want your cat to get obese. This is a significant issue nowadays, as many domestic cats are grappling with weight problems.

VCA Animal Hospitals explains that cats are considered obese when they weigh more than 20% above their ideal body weight.

Obesity can shorten the cat’s lifespan and make her prone to other health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, urinary bladder stones, and osteoarthritis. 

Therefore, you should monitor your cat’s diet and ensure she doesn’t receive an excess of treats, whether from you or by accessing them herself.

5. Out Of Curiosity

black kitten standing on hind legs by a plant

Felines are naturally very curious. If they saw or heard something interesting, they might get on their hind legs to see or hear it better.

Also, some cats just love to be part of every activity their owners are involved in, so, they will use this standing position to check out what their loving humans are doing.

It’s super fun seeing our furry friends acting like this!

6. Out Of Excitement 

Your cat might also just be excited.

Perhaps she’s playing with her favorite toy, or you or any of your family members just arrived home, and your furry companion is so happy to have you around.

Standing on her hind legs is one of the numerous ways your cat shows she feels excitement over something.

Are Certain Breeds More Prone To Standing On Hind Legs?

Standing on their hind legs is usually a spontaneous action that cats do in response to something in their surroundings.

However, the truth is this occurrence is most likely to be seen in certain cat breeds, particularly in Munchkin cats.

Owners of Munchkin cats are more likely to see their cats standing on their hind legs than others.

Ann-Kathrin Struck and her associates [1] explain how Munchkin cats have all four legs shorter than those of a standard cat as a result of disproportionate dwarfism.

Therefore, this kitten has shorter legs as a result of a genetic mutation. This doesn’t prevent them from climbing and jumping, but they are a lot more prone to standing on hind legs than any other cat breed.

You can see one adorable Munchkin kitten standing like this in the video below.

Should You Be Worried If Your Cat Stands On Her Hind Legs?

No, not really.

Actually, I know some cat owners that even want to see their cats standing like this, so, they try to achieve this by attracting their pets with some tasty pets to stand up!

Therefore, in general, there isn’t anything wrong with your cat standing on her hind legs, especially if she does this for an obvious reason, and this lasts only about a couple of seconds.

However, if you notice your cat stands like this for longer periods of time, and if she does it very often, you might want to discourage her from standing on her hind legs.

This standing position could be too much stress for a cat’s hips, especially if she’s at an advanced age.


From noticing a threat or prey to showing their excitement over something – there are multiple reasons for cats standing on hind legs.

This is an interesting position and all of you would probably be surprised when seeing it for the first time!

So, you might realize that your cat stands like this every time she sees another cat outside, or when she wants to check out what you are doing.

You might also want to know more about common causes of bowed legs in cats. See you there!


[1] Struck AK, Braun M, Detering KA, Dziallas P, Neßler J, Fehr M, Metzger J, Distl O. A structural UGDH variant associated with standard Munchkin cats. BMC Genet. 2020 June 30;21(1):67. DOI, Retrieved July 28, 2023.