Can Cats Walk Backwards? Here’s The Truth You Should Know

Cats are fascinating creatures, and they never fail to awe us with their uniqueness. They occasionally amuse us with new tricks and tactics.

Their graceful strides and ability to balance their bodies is undoubtedly a topic of interest. This might raise a fascinating question in your mind: Can cats walk backward? Well, let’s find out the answer.

Can cats walk backwards?


Yes, cats possess the ability to walk backward. They can take straight steps in the backward direction, using their tail to balance the body.

They also look over their shoulder to see any obstruction in the back to prevent an accident. But, cats do not like to walk backwards, and such a situation is rare. They usually walk backward only when they are scared or trying to get away from a problem or an object.

What does it mean when a cat walks backwards?

Cats walking backwards can be a symptom of an underlying disease like feline cognitive dysfunction. It could mean that their body and brain coordination are disoriented, allowing them to walk in the usual way.

Though walking backwards comes naturally to the cat, they are rarely seen doing it.

It is simply an instinctive behavior, but there might also be specific underlying issues behind your cat walking backwards.

Reasons why your cat is walking backwards

There are several reasons due to which a cat might walk backwards:

1. The cat is scared

Your cat might walk backward if it is scared for some reason. If an object or a small animal lands on the cat’s body suddenly, there is a good chance that it might get shocked.

Walking backward comes as a natural reaction in such situations, as the cat tries to get away from the situation.

Since they have good peripheral vision, walking back helps them escape a situation without causing a major commotion.

2. Feline Cognitive Dysfunction

Also known as Dementia, this condition is known to cause disorientation in the cat’s bodily functions. It is quite common in older cats, but some young cats might also have the condition.

It is somewhat difficult to diagnose the disease, as some of its symptoms are similar to other feline disorders.

The cat’s brain ages faster when suffering from this condition & can lead to forget many activities and might disrupt the coordination between the brain and the legs.

If your cat is suffering from Feline Cognitive Dysfunction, it is likely to walk backward and trip at times.

3. Feline Infectious Peritonitis

It is a type of viral disease caused by a feline coronavirus. The Feline Infectious Peritonitis has two types: dry and wet.

The dry form of this disease primarily affects the cat’s nervous system, which could lead to disorientation, and hence it starts to backward.

It has several other symptoms like loss of balance, change in the cat’s behavior, occasional seizures, etc. This disease has no known cure and can even be fatal for the cat.

However, with proper healthcare, you can extend the lifespan of your cat.

4. Feline Vestibular Disease

The cat body’s vestibular system is responsible for maintaining balance by keeping the body and head correctly oriented and adjusted with gravity.

It alerts the brain whenever the cat moves and performs actions like sitting, lying down, running, etc. But, if the cat contracts the Feline Vestibular Disease, its vestibular system fails to work efficiently.

They cannot identify any abnormal movements or positions, resulting in the cat falling or tripping constantly. This disease also impacts the way a cat walks, and they might even start to walk backward.

5. Seizures

If your cat has recently suffered from a seizure, especially a partial complex one where it had an altered consciousness, there is a possibility that it might have started to walk backward from time to time.

They suffer from disorientation during the recovery process, which is often responsible for such an action.

Seizures in cats can be caused by the ingestion of a poisonous substance, diabetes, pest infestation, thyroid, or a severe infection.

Common symptoms of seizure are involuntary body movements, excessive salivating, taking their steps backward, etc.

6. Ingestion of a poisonous substance

If your cat ingests a potentially hazardous substance like rat poison, alcohol, yeast, etc., it can have many harmful impacts on its body.

It directly affects the nervous system leading to confusion, disorientation, seizures, and even death in severe cases.

It can lead to the cat walking backwards, mainly because of their confused state and disoriented body movements.

The effects of the poison start to show after about 2 to 12 hours of ingestion. However, its toxicity can be reduced by administering an antidote at the right time.

Do all cats have the ability to walk backwards?

All breeds of cats have a similar muscular structure, which gives each of them the ability to walk backwards.

Even at a very young age, they possess the ability to walk back.

This proves that it isn’t an acquired characteristic but an instinct. They can take their steps backward due to their bone and muscle structure, especially in the limbs.

Is this a disease?

No, walking backwards is not considered a disease in the cat. Although they are not seen doing such a thing often, it is quite natural for them to walk backwards.

You should not be worried much if they walk back sometimes.

However, if your cat starts to take their steps backward frequently, it can be a symptom of an underlying disease. It is best to consult a veterinarian to find out the cause of such a phenomenon.

What can you do about it?

If you find your cat walking backwards once in a blue moon, you should try to enjoy the scene.

They might be doing so out of fun and enjoyment, or might be trying to escape a situation. It might merely be a show of their intelligence to you and others present in the room.

You can check for any fleas or pests on its body to ensure that it is not irritated and stressed by anything. If the behavior persists throughout the day, it is best to check what they consumed that day.

They might have ingested some toxins without your knowledge, which might have left them disoriented. You need to administer an antidote to neutralize the effects of the poison.

If your cat starts to walk backwards all of a sudden, and it persists for an extended period, they might be suffering from a disorder that has affected its nervous system.

If you doubt that it might be suffering from a disease, it is best to consult a veterinarian. The doctor would run some tests and examine the symptoms to determine the possible reason behind your cat walking backwards.

He/she will advise you to administer certain medicines to the cat, which you need to do accordingly. You should also ensure that they get a healthy diet and plenty of exercise during this time.


A cat walking backwards is a scene to behold. It will surely entertain you, but you should be a little concerned as well.

It is best to take the advice of an expert in a situation where the cat consistently keeps walking backwards.

You can also check for other symptoms that might indicate a particular disease. Take proper of your cat, and do what is necessary to ensure that your beloved kitty stays happy and healthy.


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