Why Do Cats Wiggle Before They Pounce? [ Here Are The Reasons ]

It is a treat to watch our cats cutely wiggle their butts before they pounce for an attack. While it is extremely fun to watch them, the following question must have come to your mind once or twice. Why do cats wiggle their butts before they pounce?

Well, there can be many reasons behind this behavior. As it is impossible to come to any concrete logic behind it, we can only speculate the reasons. From judging their potential prey to planning their move, anything is possible when it comes to wiggling their butts.

In this article, we will look at the various reasons that can make the cat wiggle their butt before pouncing.

Then we will also take a look at their old ancestors and see the similarity in their attaching schemes. So, let us begin with the potential causes.

Why Do Cats Wiggle Before They Pounce?

There can be quite a few reasons the cats do their cute butt-wiggling ceremony before they pounce on potential prey. It is a toy most of the time, but hey, we wouldn’t like it if the cat brought a dead mouse to our feet.

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Good Traction:

Many scientists believe that the butt wiggling is nothing but judging their hold on the ground.

If you notice closely, the cat is also moving their hind legs very slightly so that it can dig into the floor underneath.

You might argue that the cat would still do it on a hard floor, but they are doing it instinctively at that point.

If you look at the act of pouncing, it is quite different from their normal running.

When the cats are running, only one of the legs is touching the floor. But during pouncing, both the hind legs are used, and as a result, they need to make sure that they have better traction.

While many scientists and experts believe it to be true, there are other potential reasons as well.

If they are pouncing on a slippery surface, their balance can go bad, and they can fail in their hunt. As a result, they try to find a firm ground underneath.

Warming Up:

Even though cats have been doing the same butt wiggling for hundreds of years, they still need to warm up before performing it.

When cats perform this act, they are exerting a lot of pressure on their hind legs. Several muscles all across the body are involved in this process.

So, even the most finessed performers need to warm up before they perform.

You can associate this activity with many of the things that pro athletes do.

For example, you may have seen the baseball players waving their bats while preparing for the ball to come. Or, high jump or long jump athletes jumping up and down before they start their run.

Butt wiggling might be the same kind of warm-up that cats do before they pounce on a target for success.


When a cat is about to jump on prey, there is a lot of adrenaline involved.

They are excited to the brim in anticipation of what is to come next.

Cats even can visualize themselves devouring their sweet little prey. All this excitement has to go somewhere, and many experts believe that the excess adrenaline causes the butt wiggling.

If you want to draw a parallel with human excitement, think about when you used to jump in excitement after your parents brought something for you, and you can’t wait to open the present. Butt wiggling might be that for a cat.


When it comes to cats, there are several activities that they do on instincts.

May it be scratching other surfaces or drinking from only freshwater. Scientists could not wrap their heads around whether this behavior is instinctive or learned.

It can be instinctive because the big cats often perform this behavior as well.

You might have seen lions do this before jumping on the prey or cheetah wiggling before going for a sprint.

So, it is not very hard to imagine that cats pass this behavior onto the next generation for hundreds of years, and now we see house cats do this as well, although they were never distinctively taught.

Why Do Cats Wiggle Before They Attack?

It is not entirely clear which one of the above four reasons is responsible for this behavior. A cat wiggling before they attack and before pouncing, maybe for the same reasons.

No matter what, you should know that the behavior is entirely normal, and you can only stare and admire when they are doing this cute butt-wiggling regime.

Do Big Cats Wiggle Before They Pounce?

Yes, big cats like lions, tigers, jaguars, cheetahs also wiggle their butts before pouncing on live prey.

Not only does it give them an advantage on surprising their target, but it is also useful as the attack becomes more effective due to extra energy. So, your little house cat might not be just alone in doing this.


Cats wiggling their derrières before pouncing or attacking is completely natural behavior on their parts.

As there are quite a few reasons behind this, we cannot pinpoint one of them. Whatever the reason might be, it looks too adorable, and all we can do is watch and admire.

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