Why Do Cats Wiggle Before They Pounce?

Have you ever watched a pouncing cat's ritual? We explain why they wiggle before pouncing!

Understanding cat anatomy

When a cat walks around the house, they use alternating legs (front right with the back left and vice versa) until they spot their prey — or, in most cases a toy.

When they prepare for their clandestine attack, your feline will crouch down and wiggle their hind quarters while pressing their paws into the ground to help balance. Then, they will use her hind legs to propel themselves through the air.

In other words, your cat doesn't just shake their bottom to look cute or make you laugh — it actually helps ground them for the big launch, just like a runner at the starting block.

The True Nature of Cats

While a pouncing cat does look cute, this behaviour finds its roots in the wild.

Just like their ancestors, domestic cats have an innate hunting instinct. They're predators at heart and love acting out these instincts through play.

Take a look at your cat the next time they pounce on a toy. They’ll attack, claws will extended, they’ll flick the toy into the air and shake it, to make sure it has been incapacitated. This mimics the behaviour of a cat in the wild catching dinner — it's all part of feline nature.

Understanding the roots of this behaviour can help us better appreciate our cats and understand what makes them tick.



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