Why do cats stand on their hind legs?

We can’t deny that it’s one of the cutest sights in the world, well, along with these adorable kittens.

But don’t you wonder why your cat does something so seemingly unusual?

Well, today we’re going to talk about the reasons why your cat mimics a meerkat so successfully.

Read on to learn all about why cats stand up on their hind legs!

Why do cats stand on their hind legs? Because they can! Kidding! There are actually a few potential reasons for their meerkat impressions. Check them out!

Why do cats stand on their hind legs?

Cats exhibit many behaviors that humans find baffling and unexplainable.

I think that our pets do something weird just to sit back and watch as we scratch our heads what’s going on.

Standing on their hind legs might be just one of them. However, cat experts have something to say on the matter.

So, let’s discuss six possible scenarios where your cat sometimes stands this way.

Check: how to teach your cat to stand on its hind legs

#1 Kitty is trying to look bigger

on hind legs

I’m sure that you’ve seen at least one catfight during your life.

You’ve probably noticed how cats puff up their tails and try to appear more vicious to scare away their opponents.

Well, standing on the back legs is another survival tactic that cats use when they feel in danger or threatened by a predator.

They do it to appear bigger than they actually are and to deceive or ward off predators or perceived predators.

In other words, it’s a message saying, “Look at me! You don’t want to make me angry!”

This behavior might seem funny to humans, but it actually works on some predators as much as you have a hard time believing it.

READ MORE: Why Cats Lay on You?

# 2 Kitty is excited

There is nothing more adorable or fascinating than watching kittens chase each other around the house.

You will notice that sometimes a kitten stands up briefly in an upright position on its back legs before jumping on her sibling.

The same happens when she is playing excitedly and throwing a toy around. It’s all part of the game!

# 3 Kitty is curious/scared

Standing on her hind feet can also mean that you have a scared or curious kitty on your hands.

I remember when I started printing documents with the cat in the room. Kitty had never before heard the printer working, so she was completely baffled.

She rose on her back legs and observed it for a minute before hiding under the desk.

I’ve also seen this behavior when there are strange noises outside, and the cat wants to check it out without being seen.

I often call Kitty a “meerkat” when I see her doing this trick because she reminds me of Timon from The Lion King.

So, Kitty might be curious about what is happening around her, but she is too afraid to come close to check it out. Instead, she will perch on her rear legs to assess the situation.

Related: Why Does My Cat Follow Me?

#4 Kitty wants attention

Kitten + homemade pasta = entertained kitten + no pasta.

Cats are affectionate creatures that love attention, even though many people think otherwise.

The truth is that they like to be petted but on their own terms.

So, when the cat is rubbing her head against your leg and standing on her back legs, it’s a clear sign that she wants you to look at her and pet her.

She is actively asking for your attention. Do it, or you might not get another chance!

#5 Kitty is Bunting

burger dance

Bunting is a form of social bonding for cats. It’s also another way that your cat asks for attention.

Also called the head boop or head butt, this behavior is a way for cats to mark and exchange scents, letting the world at large know that they’re friends.

Bunting creates a group scent that signifies a close bond, which means your cat is telling the world how much she loves you and that you’re a part of her group.

Related: Why Do Cats Sit Like a Loaf?

#6 Kitty Wants a Treat

Let’s imagine something for a second. You’ve left a bucket of delicious chicken wings on the table.

What would your cat do when she smells it?

Yes, that’s right.

She will try everything possible to get it, including standing on her back legs to reach the table.

The same thing happens when you try to give her a treat.

She quickly stands on her back legs and takes it right out of your hand, barely missing your fingers.

Sometimes even the sound of the bag treat is enough to get her to stand up and check what you’re holding.

I’m giving you a bit of advice. You can use this to your advantage and train her to stand on command if you want to impress your friends.

#7 Kitty is a Munchkin cat

You’re probably already familiar with those cute videos of Munchkin cats standing on their hind legs.

A reason exists why these adorable cats spend so much time sitting or standing like this.

They have a genetic mutation that results in short, stumpy legs. As a result, they have a low center of gravity.

#8 Your Kitty is George the Cat

George the cat is one of the most famous examples of the Munchkin cat.

He has a legion of fans because of his tendency to sit on his rear legs.

That’s because of his short legs.

Most likely, he sits like this because it’s the most comfortable position, and also because it’s very easy for him to do.

Normally proportioned cats will have a harder time maintaining a position like this because their center of gravity is higher, making it more difficult to remain in that kind of upright position for long periods of time.

Cats like George have a low center of gravity, making it far easier for them to sit like this.

#9 You Have a Special Needs Cat

Some cats born with disabilities also might learn to compensate by standing on their rear legs and hopping around like kangaroos.

Munchkin cats like George, cats born with radial hypoplasia, and cats born without front legs or that have had to have their front legs amputated will all often adapt to their mobility issues by standing or walking on their back legs.

Just like these little guys Roux and Roo.

A post shared by Roo (@roothekangaroocat) on Both were born without properly formed front paws, but they still live a full life.

Isn’t that amazing?

Both were born without properly formed front paws, but they still live a full life.

Isn’t that amazing?

#10 Kitty Has Radial Hypoplasia

This condition is a malformation of the long bones of a cat’s front legs. This condition results in front legs that are shorter than normal and often twisted.

To compensate for this deformity, many cats will stand on their rear legs to make movement easier and more convenient.

So Many Reasons Cats Stand on Their Hind Legs

From the stumpy legs of the Munchkin cat and radial hypoplasia to head boops, survival tactics, and other behavioral cues, there are many factors that can cause a cat to stand on its rear legs.

Whatever the reason, they look cute and irresistible. If your cat stands on its back legs, we’d love to see it! Take a photo of your cat standing on its hind legs and share it with us!

What do you think about this peculiar cat behavior? Why do cats stand on their hind legs according to you? Tell us below!

Grigorina S
Grigorina S

I’ve grown up surrounded by animals – dogs, cats, cows, goats, sheep, and horses and that has shaped me into what I am today – a crazy cat lady who always has a place for one more cat (or a dog). I’ve got two female cats – Kitty and Roni, and two tomcats – Blacky and Shaggy, but I also feed my neighbors’ cats when they come for a visit. I just can’t say no to them.

I discovered that writing is my vocation early in my school years. Since then I’ve taken part in several literature contests – writing horror and fantasy short stories and novellas.
For the past three years, I’ve been an ELS teacher, pouring my heart into showing children and teenagers how important English is for their future and trying to educate them how to treat their pets with care.