Arched Cat: All You Need to Know About Your Cat

Are you a cat owner struggling to understand what your cat is trying to say when it does certain body stances? Cats are one of the most flexible animals as they can squeeze themselves through tight spaces and jump up almost nine times their height. More so, cats can twist their spines while stretching. These body stances portray specific emotions you need to learn as a cat owner. Fortunately for you, this article will explain what an arched cat is and what message an arching cat is attempting to convey.

Table of Contents

Why do Cats Arch Their Backs? 10 Reasons

Cats arch their backs as a result of specific cognitive and habitual reasons, which include;

  • Your Cat Is Fearful Or Sensing Danger

Cats tend to arch their backs when they anticipate danger, to appear bigger as they try to identify the threat. 

Cats tend to become aggressive during this state, and if agitated, they might scratch you. 

So, avoiding them when in this state is advisable, even if you have the best rapport with your cat.

cat on alert

(cat on alert) 

  • They Are Playing

Cats also tend to arch their backs when exhibiting their playful side. The arched back might be in light of playing along with a human, another feline, or a toy. 

When playing with another cat, they tend to move towards them side-on while circling them and making attempts to approach them.

Two cute cats

(Two cute cats)

  • You’ve Hit the Spot

A cat will arch its back when you hit the right spot as a sign of alleviation and comfort. When scratching or petting your cat, this is a good sign that it appreciates your touch. 

In most instances, the feline will turn in circles and curve its back to give you easier access to the sweet spot.

Petting the cat

(Petting the cat)

Warning Unknown Cats Or Dogs To Back Off

In other instances, your cat might arch its back to signal unknown dogs and cats to back off. 

Arched backs are an adaptive behavior used by cats when they need to protect their territory and assets from other cats or dogs. 

Arching makes the intruders perceive the cat as bigger and will not retaliate easily. 

A cat is wary of other animals

 (A cat is wary of other animals ) 

Display Of Aggression

Display of aggression is another instance where a cat will arch its back to signal hostility while approaching an intruder. 

This reaction incorporates hissing, piloerection, and snarling or wailing at the adversary.

 A cat arches its back when feeling furious or in contention with another cat.

An angry cat Stock Image

(An angry cat Stock Image)

Simple Stretches

Cats often stretch their spines to keep their muscles and ligaments in shape by arching their backs.

Felines stretch by broadening each of the four limbs while upstanding and curving their back.

(Simple stretch cat)

Expressing Excitement Or Happiness

In other instances, cats arch their backs when in excitement and walk sideways in a circular manner. The behavior comes hand in hand with a raised tail. 

The next time you see your cat arching its back and wagging its tail, know it’s happy and content.

  • Showing their Butts

Another reason a feline might arch its back is to show its butt to seek attention. 

Therefore, when you notice your cat is trying to show its butt, the cat wants to be petted.

A cute kitten

(A cute kitten)

  • Experiencing Abdominal, Joint, Or Back Pain

When experiencing abdominal or back pain, cats arch their backs as a form of stretching. It relieves them of any pain they might have in their spine.

  • Urine Marking

Cats stand with an upward, shuddering tail and somewhat curved back while passing a little volume of pee. This behavior is urine marking, which is a way of promoting sexual openness. 

What Does a Cat Rubbing and Arching Back Mean?

Cats use their bodies to communicate how they feel and if they are in any form of distress. 

  • Arching Cats Rubbing Against You

Cats arch their backs and rub against you when you apply a lot of pressure during petting. 

However, when your cat is rubbing its head against you, that is a sign of affection and contentment.

Touch the cat

(Touch the cat)

  • Arched Cats and Rubbing Against Objects

A cat rubs against an item to understand what it is and if it can play with the object. It acquaints the cat with where the object has been and what to expect. 

In the process, the cat picks up any scent left on the object by other animals that might have played with the object.


The pointers mentioned above are some of the reasons why you might observe your car arching its back. You must notice the unique body language exhibited by a cat when it’s trying to communicate something. 

It will enable you to understand your cat better and coexist comfortably.