What Does It Mean When a Cat Shakes Her Rear?

A shaking rear often indicates a playful mood.
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Understanding the intended message behind feline body language can be confusing even for the most seasoned of cat lovers. After all, kitties are pretty mysterious creatures at times. A simple shake of the rear end, however, usually means that a cat is in a rather lighthearted and animated mood.


If your cat positions her body closer to the floor and elevates her behind seconds before she wiggles it, then it may mean that she's feeling spirited -- and maybe even a little mischievous. She's getting ready to pounce on something or someone, and that can mean you, her prized catnip-stuffed teddy bear or even a fellow household cat. The end goal is to seize the "prey." Watch out, world!

Body Language Hints

When you notice a cat shaking her rear end, some key body language clues may be able to give away her true intentions. If you suspect that your precious kitty is in the midst of "play mode," look for widened pupils, a tail shooting up into the air and both whiskers and ears to the front. Her body also may seem especially rigid and tense. All of these outward factors put together usually signify a playful, pouncing feline.


Within the cozy confines of a home, a cat shaking her rear generally is just playing around and entertaining herself. However, things change a lot when it comes to the outdoor world. If you notice a cat engaging in this behavior outside, she's very likely in the middle of hunting and preparing to capture her prey, whether it's a bird, mouse or any other wee animal. "Survival" mode is very different than "play" mode, of course, although they both come from the same instinct-driven place.


Don't be surprised if you notice your cat always "hiding" -- even if not very successfully -- as she shakes her behind. This covert behavior indicates that she's trying to conduct a surprise attack and she doesn't want to be seen. As much as you may love them, cats are often some pretty sneaky little beings. Classic feline stalking behaviors are definitely not meant to be obvious.

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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