Cats are known for being able to twist their bodies into all kinds of shapes. They are able to fit through the tiniest of gaps in the door, and seamlessly weave through obstacles and furniture.
However, the way cats can change their body shape does not just say a lot about their determination. It also says a lot about how they actually feel.
Cats will use their bodies as a way of expressing themselves, as well as a way to communicate with other cats and their owners.
In this article, we will explore in more detail the meaning behind a cat’s arched back. So, if this is of interest to you, read on for more!
What Does It Mean When A Cat Arches Its Back
There are many reasons why cats arch their backs. Let’s check out this list in more detail!
Reason 1: Stretching
A cat can arch its back because it is stretching. This usually happens when a cat has woken up from being asleep.
Reason 2: Being Playful
One other reason a cat may arch its back is that they are being playful! A cat may arch its back when it is playing with you, another cat, or its favorite toy.
A good indicator that your cat is arching its back because it is in a playful mood is if the arched back comes along with pouncing and hopping.
If a cat has a close relationship with you, then they are likely to show you affection in this way. It is a good indicator that they are comfortable in their environment.
Reason 3: A Defense Mechanism
A common reason that a cat arches its back is that it is afraid, and is therefore being defensive. If a cat arches its back in this way, it feels threatening and is trying to make itself look bigger and more threatening.
Piloerection may occur if this is the reason for a cat’s arched back. This is when a cat’s hair stands up from its body in a bristle-like way. This response comes from the nervous system of the cat and is not voluntary.
As well as arching their backs when they feel threatened, cats may also bare their teeth, yowl, or hiss.
How To Read A Cat’s Body Language
If you see a cat arching its back, then it is important to know why. This involves checking out the environmental cues and inspecting other aspects of the body language of your cat.
For example, if your cat has just woken up from a nap, then it is likely it will stretch, and this is the cause of its arched back.
If your cat has an arched back in a comfortable environment where there is no visible threat, then it is likely because they feel playful. Other indicators of this are pouncing and skipping.
However, if your cat is making an odd noise, acting defensive, and raising its back, then it is likely that it feels threatened and this is why its back is arched.
Cats are more likely to feel defensive if another cat enters the backyard or someone new comes into your home.
How To React To Your Cat When It's Back Is Arched
Your reaction to your cat's arched back depends entirely on the reason why their back is arched.
If your cat has an arched back because they are stretching, then there is not much you need to do. Although, it may be nice for you to stroke them.
If your cat is arching its back because it is in a playful mood, then you should play with it! If there is no other cat in the house they can play with, then you can encourage them to play with toys or with you. Most of the time, cats are quite happy to play by themselves.
If your cat has arched its back because it feels threatened, then you should try your best to remove the threat. So, if your cat is afraid of another cat in your backyard, then you should shoo this cat away.
However, it is often best to not approach your cat if it has arched its back out of fear. This is because when piloerection has kicked in, cats can be aggressive. So, when you approach them, they may view you as a threat, too. Consequently, they may attempt to bite or scratch you.
How Are Cats Able To Arch Their Backs So Much?
Cats can arch their backs a lot because they have a very flexible spine, we definitely could not do the same as they can! The reason cats have a flexible spine is so they are able to escape, leap, hide, and climb in the wild.
It is very natural and normal for a cat to arch their back, and they are able to do so thanks to their flexible spines - a result of needing to hide, leap, climb, and escape out in the wild!
Cats will arch their back for a plethora of reasons. For one thing, an arched back is a cat simply stretching after a nap, and you do not need to do anything except stroke them.
Cats will also arch their backs because they want to play, so you should find them their favorite toy or play with them yourself. Alternatively, if you have another cat at home, then they can play together. Cats are typically content to play alone, though!
Cats also arch their backs when they are afraid as a defense mechanism. They do this so they appear bigger to whatever they feel threatened by, whether it is another cat in the backyard or a person in your home. When this happens, you should remove the threat.
However, you should also stay away from your cat, because they may have gone into piloerection and could bite or scratch you as a result because they see you as part of the threat.
At Love4Cats, our practice involves consistent collaboration with licensed veterinarians and reputable industry experts. However, it's important to note that the content provided on Excited Cats is not intended as veterinary advice. While we strive to enhance your understanding of feline care, the information presented on this blog should not replace professional veterinary guidance.