Cat butt wiggle!

If you've ever seen a cat about to pounce on something, you're likely to have seen that cute little cat butt shake thing before it pounced! So, why do cats wiggle before pouncing?

There doesn't seem to have been a lot of research done in the field of cat wiggle, but there are some theories as to why your frisky feline will do the cat butt shake before launching onto its favorite toy. offers a list of 4 benefits that a hearty butt wiggle might offer your cat before a pounce. The first is that a cat pouncing tests the ground underneath them to make sure it's sturdy enough to support their weight as they jump toward their prey (or maybe your foot under the blankets). A cat wiggling their butt from side to side might be better able to feel how much they can push off of each paw to make sure they can get maximum spring! According to PetMd, butt wiggling might also help them gain traction under their feet as they prepare themselves for the mighty pounce! 

The second thing that could be happening when your cat wiggles its butt could be that the cat is trying to balance itself and that the cat wiggle is a good way for them to judge how far they can spring and make sure they are in the right range to reach their target. A cat preparing to pounce might be planning it's attack using that cute little butt shake!

A third benefit of the wiggle before a cat pounce could be to warm up their muscles. Just like you might jump up and down or stretch before going for a run or playing a game, a cat might be preparing their muscles for action by doing that cat wiggle butt thing. 

And the fourth reason is that it's fun! Catster says that hunting activities cause cat's brains to release dopamine, which is a feel-good hormone. A cat about to pounce might wiggle its butt with excited anticipation of a successful hunt, even if its target is just a feather on the end of a stick, a stuffed mouse or a ball of crumpled paper! 

 Since butt wiggling is so common in a cat about to pounce, you might wonder if it is an instinctive behavior. According to petMD, kittens start to practice hunting at around 6 - 7 weeks, and these hunting behaviors might include the cat butt wiggle (and if there's anything cuter than the cat butt wiggle, it's the kitten butt wiggle!) However, kitten butt wiggles are often uncoordinated, so the proper butt shake technique may be learned from older cats before it is perfected. 

The butt wiggle is not limited to housecats either! The pre-pounce butt wiggle has also been observed in big cats like tigers and lions according to Catster. I'll bet that's cute too, but I wouldn't want to be the target of one of those cats pouncing! 

Cover photo by Ben Griffiths on Unsplash

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