I have to admit that I can't get used to seeing my cats standing on their hind legs without laughing. This position is better known as 'cat meerkating' even though meerkats actually belong to the mongoose family.
I believe that for my cats, there is probably a common sense in such behavior, but I still haven't figured out what this is really about.
Anyway, some experts for cat's behavior claim that they know why cats stand up on their hind legs. Let's try to explain.
Reasons for Standing on Hind Legs Known Only to Cats
1. Cats Want to Intimidate and Repel Predators
As much as cats look fun and comic to us while standing upright on their hind legs, it is quite logical for them to think that they seem scary that way. In fact, the origin of this position is a primary survival tactic and the attempt of the cat to frighten predators when feeling threatened.
It is not rare that your kitty puffs up its tail as a part of this strategy. That way, it tries to present itself bigger and scarier than she really is. In an extreme situation, it may shuffle along sideways while still standing on the hind legs.
I don't know about predators, but if I were shorter and tinier, my cats could convince me that they were dangerous when doing something like this.
2. Cat is Scared but Curious at the Same Time
It is well-known that cats are afraid of loud and sudden sounds, among other things. All my cats hate the sound of a hairdryer, but it seems that Clementine can't decide whether she hates it more or is curiosity stronger than her fear.
Therefore, she stands up on her hind legs as soon as she hears that scary sound. Then, she starts jumping around me in an attempt to catch the device while running away from it at the same time.
I have no idea what is the point of this particular behavior, but that crazy cat repeats the same thing whenever I turn on the hairdryer. It seems that the part of her nature is that the curiosity outweighs the fear, but not entirely. Sometimes these two feelings are mixed!
My furry friend is curious about the noise, but she refuses to come closer since it is afraid. Instead, she picks out the middle solution, stands on her hind legs, and pretends that she is brave. Not bad at all!
3. Cats Want to Reach for Treats
If you enjoy funny videos on YouTube with cats strolling around on their hind legs, you probably want to see your cat in such a pose. In fact, there are a few practical ways to teach your kitty to stand up on its back legs, but my experience says that a few treats are usually everything you need for that purpose.
Once my three beauties hear the sound of opening the bag with treats, they appear next to me in a second. Since there are three of them, I can't put the snacks in front of all of them at the same time.
Therefore, the third cat jumps on her hind legs right away, demanding her portion. Unbelievable!
4. Cats Look for Attention
It is quite a rare situation, but you may see your cat standing on her hind legs while rubbing the head against your leg. My cats do that when I come home after vacation.
Obviously, it is an act of affection and a clear sign that they want to cuddle. If your cat tries to do the same, take your chance and enjoy in such a precious moment.
5. Cats Stand Up for a Head Boop
We can think for days why our cats suddenly decide to jump on their hind legs. The fact is that their behavior is often spontaneous and without any hidden meaning.
Sometimes they want to stand for a head boop and some extra head cuddling and petting. I can’t decide if such a behaving is cute and adorable or just totally insane.
What can I say - I adore when my kitties do that!
6. Cats are Excited
The fascinating thing about cats is that they are capable of using the same gesture in different situations. The same motion can be a sign of both attack and excitement!
I can't remember how many times I have seen Clementine and Josephine chasing each other throughout our house and suddenly standing briefly on their hind legs. The next scene is the attempt to jump on each other's heads.
If you observe your cats, you can notice that they do the same while throwing their favorite toy around.
The pattern includes running, stopping, standing on their hind legs, and jumping over the toy. That repetition of actions reminds me of a carousel, and I find it hilarious.
Objective Reasons for Standing on Hind Legs
There is one exception among cats when it comes to this topic. Munchkin cats are quite specific since this breed naturally have stumpy, approximately 3 inches (7.6 cm) shorter legs than other cats. It is a relatively new breed recognized by the International Cat Association in 2003 among 71 others.
As a consequence of genetic mutation and the low center of gravity, it is not rare seeing these cats standing up on their hind legs. Moreover, it seems that they adore standing that way, looking around, and surveying the world. I appreciate the way they keep their body balanced.
Unfortunately, there are cats forced to stand on their hind legs all the time. Sometimes they are born without front legs or with radial hypoplasia, the disease that prevents the front paws from developing correctly.
For them, standing on the back legs is not a way to make some eye-catching moves, but an essential requirement. The excellent thing is that these kitties can learn how to compensate for this disability.
As you can see, there are numerous reasons why cats stand up on their hind legs. No matter what motive your furry friend has to make such a pose, you don't need to be concerned. On the contrary! Find a fun side of its inclination and enjoy the hilarious scene.