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Why do cats arch their backs?

Why do cats arch their backs

A cat showing a typical arched back posture

A question like why do cats arch their backs tells a lot about the way cats survive in the wild. When a cat encounters a predator, such as an aggressive dog, it becomes fearful and makes itself look as big as possible as a deterrent. It does this by arching its back, stiffening its legs and tail, standing sideways and raising its fur. It may threatening raise a paw with bared claws. It is important for it to stand its ground rather than running away – running away would be a sign it was defenseless and could trigger the aggressor’s hunting instinct. As a result it would instinctively chase and kill it.

Cats may also arch their backs at other cats. If one cat does not fear the other cat it may simply approach it with stiff legs showing anger but no fear. A frightened cat who feels no hostility – feels fear without anger – will arch its back and but crouch on the ground. The response to a life threatening dog therefore involves fear (arched back) and anger (stiff legs).

Why do cats arch their backs

When a cat encounters a threatening predator in the wild by far the best strategy is to stand firm and the arched back shown in the video is key to its defense. Not only does the cat enlarge its appearance but it also hisses and spits as well as flattening its ears. Many experts think that when a cat does this it is imitating a snake. Some even think that wild cat’s markings, when rolled-up in sleeping position, make it look a lot like a snake.  Fact is that any sensible dog would simply not want to get involved with a cat if there was a serious risk of injury however brave it was. For this reason the answer to why do cats arch their backs, and the complex behavior accompanying this, is vital if a cat is to survive for long in the wild.

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