Cats typically walk sideways because they are exhibiting fear or they are being threatened. It could also be a sign of defensiveness, intimidation, or a health condition such as vestibular disease. It may also just be part of a cat’s or kitten’s favorite postures during playtime.
Vestibular disease is a condition in which a cat suddenly develops incoordination, falling or circling to one side, involuntary darting of the eyes back and forth (called nystagmus), a head tilt, and often nausea or vomiting. These clinical signs usually appear suddenly, often in less than an hour.
Cats jump sideways usually when they’re startled
This is because the world is a strange place and they must learn to differentiate what is safe and what is a potential threat. Cats will arch their backs in these moments to make themselves appear larger and more threatening.
A cat sideways hop can mean that your cat is in a playful mode although some may also consider it a form of intimidation. This particular cat movement and posture is usually observed among kittens although adult cats also manifest it.
The arched back and sideways run is practical and instinctual as a fear response and so just about every cat may take this position when they’re suddenly startled and feel threatened, regardless of their individual personality. But when it comes to playtime, some cats just find the crabwalk more fun than others.
The most common reason cats experience the zoomies is pent-up energy. Cats rest and sleep for a majority of the day to conserve energy for short, very active periods. Without intentional exercise and activity, your kitty will need to find a way to get that extra energy out, resulting in a case of the zoomies.
The cat may be experiencing a transitory problem with its vestibular system—the complex arrangement of nerves and other components that governs its sense of balance and coordinates the movement of its head and eyes. Such a disorder and its alarming manifestations are typically temporary and ultimately harmless.
Strokes in cats occur when blood flow to the brain suddenly gets interrupted, often due to a blood clot. Signs of a stroke in cats include stumbling, pressing their head against a hard surface, and weakness. Strokes in cats require immediate and sometimes ongoing treatment to give your cat the best chance for recovery.
The reason behind your cat suddenly walking like a drunk could be that she is suffering from vestibular disease. Loss of balance can occur when a disease or injury disrupts the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear. The vestibular apparatus control your cat’s balance and coordination.
Cats raise their backs when you pet them to signify that they trust and appreciate you. This indicates that they like your gestures and appreciates what you are doing. They may also raise their backs to amplify the pressure as it aids in transferring their scent through the anal glands and as a way to verify the scent.
Cats typically perform this bunny-kick move when engaging in aggressive play or when they’re attacking their prey (i.e., your arm).
Your Cat Stares at You to Show Affection
Cats can use staring as a nonverbal way of communicating. Even though a long, unblinking stare may not be the best way for humans to show affection, when your fur baby does this, it may mean they’re showing love to their favourite owner.
Why does my cat arch its back when it sees me? Your cat is arching it’s back when it sees you as a friendly happy greeting. One more reason is invitation for play, food solicitation, asking to be petted, or simple attention seeking.
Cats walk in front of you mostly because they want you to do something for them, like feed them. They also might hear something in the wall and are scared and want you to investigate for them. Or they could be curious about what you’re doing. Of course, they could want attention.
They can see very well in low light, however — a skill that gave domestic cats’ ancestors an advantage over their prey. As American Veterinarian explains, cats’ large corneas and pupils, which are about 50% larger than humans’, allow more light into their eyes. This extra light helps them to see in the dark.
When a cat poops, it stimulates a nerve in their body that gives them a euphoric feeling, which might explain why your cat gets the zoomies. The nerve that’s being stimulated is called the vagus nerve, and it runs from the brain throughout the body, including the entire digestive tract, Shojai said.
Frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs), also colloquially known as zoomies, scrumbling, or midnight crazies, are random bursts of energy occurring in dogs and cats in which they run frenetically, commonly in circles. They usually last a few minutes or less. It is not known what causes animals to engage in FRAPs.
The head tilt and stumbling often improve over a seven to ten-day period. Most patients are completely recovered within two to three weeks, although some will have residual symptoms such as a head tilt or mild “wobbling” for life.
Symptoms of Ataxia in Cats
An ataxic cat may look like they are drunk, with a wobbly gait, swaying, and increased drowsiness. They may also have more subtle symptoms, such as a mild head tilt or a curling under of the toes while walking.
If your cat suddenly begins urinating outside the litter box, straining and crying while producing little urine, or begins grooming the genital area excessively, contact your veterinarian immediately. Occasional vomiting of food or hair is normal. Repeated vomiting may indicate that something is seriously wrong.
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.
If a cat is tilting its head frequently to either side of the body (away from its orientation with the trunk and limbs), this is an indication that the cat feels imbalanced. The cat may even struggle to retain a balanced posture and fall.
Cerebellar Hypoplasia, also known as CH and wobbly cat syndrome, is a neurological disorder that causes sudden jerky movements, uncoordinated motion and loss of balance. In a CH cat, the brain does not develop properly.
Not only will cats rub their own scent on one another, but they’ll also sniff their companions to confirm their identity, to see what they’ve been up to, and to generally just say “hello.” That includes their butts, which also contain glands that are rich with scent information.
Headbutting is a way for cats to mark you with pheromones and bond with you. However, sometimes headbutting can be a way for cats to seek attention. As a general rule, cats like to be scratched under the chin and on the head, so a cat may just be presenting their head to you for some attention and good scratches.