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Why Does My Cat Arch Her Back When She Sees Me?

If your cat is arching its back when you see it you may be wondering why this happens, and if it’s normal behavior…

Why does my cat arch her back when she sees me?

A cat may arch its back when it sees you because it scared of you at that moment, playing a game, or just stretching at the time. If it’s a one-off then it’s not likely to be an issue. But, if it’s happening every time you see your cat then there could be a real issue.

So, now you know. But, what is so special about a cat arching their back? Why would a kitten meow then arch its back? What about big cats, like lions, do they do this too? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

3 Reasons why cats may arch their backs:

Why does my cat arch her back when she sees me?

A ginger cat arching its back.

Earlier I briefly mentioned some reasons why your cat may be arching its back when it sees you. Therefore, in this section I will give you more detail on each one:

01. Defensive response

If your cat is feeling threatened it may react defensively by arching its back like this. When it does this it makes itself appear to be bigger to pose a bigger challenge for its perceived aggressor.

Obviously, this is intended for true threats, and it is a concern if your cat feels that way towards you. Therefore, it’s just an off chance, I wouldn’t be too concerned, it may just be feeling jumpy at that time.

But, if you notice it happening all the time then there could well be an issue to look into. For example, it no longer trusts you, or it’s harboring some health issue.

02. Playing

Sometimes you may see a cat do this arching action, momentarily, when they are just playing. In this context, it’s fine and not a concern. But, if you notice it happening too often it may be more than just a game.

03. Tired Stretch

You may have seen a cat stretch before. if you have you will know that arching their back is part of it. However, it is not always arched high, it could be a low arch with its chest close to the ground, and it’s from paws laid down.

This is often seen after they have had a long sleep and want to stretch and wake themselves up.

What is so special about a cat’s arched back?

The cat’s arched back is so special because of the tight angle they can achieve with it. If you haven’t seen it before, it can arch into a tight upside-down “U” shape. This displays how flexible their spine is, and their body is in general.

This is one of the reasons why cats are so nimble and able to scale large fences without an issue. If you compare their flexibility to us humans then you will see there is no real comparison.

How can cats arch their back so much?

Cats are known to arch their backs so much because of their flexible spine. It is very different to us humans with the range and angle they can achieve.

If you have ever looked at a cat and wondered why they are so flexible and able to arch their backs in this way, then now you have an idea of the key to this.

Why does my cat raise her back when I pet her?

A cat may raise its back when you pet her because they are happy and want to push their body against you more. This will not only prolong your petting session but will help to pass on their scent to you.

Cats have scent glands in various locations around their body, such as their face, around their anal area, paws, etc. And, they will choose to mark their scent on their owner to claim and identify you.

Why would a kitten meow then arch its back when I pet it?

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A cat may meow and arch its back when you pet it to pass on its scent. Its scent glands will be used to mark you in this instance and help the cat identify and claim you. The meowing is just a way to provide some feedback and direction to you while you pet it.

Cats know that when they meow you will normally respond. This is one of the theories for cats meowing in general, the belief is they mainly do this for our human benefit and not likely to be used as a true communication technique with other cats.

Other theories suggest the sound of the moew is made to resemble a baby. And, this makes sense because a baby crying always gets out attention, right?

Why is my cat always arching his back?

If your cat may is always arching its back for no reason it could be a health issue or back problem that needs attention from your vet. But, if it’s when it raises from a long sleep, in response to other unknown cats, then this is normal.

Regarding it raising from sleep, as discussed earlier, this is just the way a cat stretches after sleeping. The same was that we yawn (Click here if your cat is) when we wake up, same for a cat, but this is their version.

As for a response to unknown cats, this is just a defensive survival response. The cat will try to intimidate the perceived threat to scare off the cat, or cats.

Do big cats, like lions and tigers, arch their backs?

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Big cats, like lions, will not usually arch their back like domestic cats. This is for two main reasons, it’s not their style and the structure of their spine is very different from a domestic cat.

If a lion or tiger feels defensive or intimidated, they are either likely to run away or face the challenge head-on. Domestic cats, on the other hand, will hope to defuse the situation by scaring off their enemy using these tactics.

Why do cats arch their back backward?

Cat stretching.

Cat stretching.

If you have seen a cat arch its back, but backward, it is likely to be stretching itself. When I say backward I mean, instead of raising its chest higher, away from the ground, its front legs will be flat on the ground with its chest close to or touching the ground.

If this is the case, it’s quite normal, and you will probably see a cat do this regularly because they like to have various naps and sleep all over your home such as on, or under your bed.

Do cats like having their backs touched?

In general, cats do like having their backs touched. But, some may refuse or duck when you try to pet them. This may happen when they are new to you and have a lack of trust. Or, something has happened between you and made it lose trust in you.

However, in both cases, it is possible to change it with time and patience on your behalf.

Lindsey Browlingdon