Why Do Cats Arch Their Back?
City Kitty answers: It's a well-known Halloween symbol - a scary, black cat with his back arched way up high and his hair standing up even higher. But it's not scary to you, because your cat at home does the same thing.
Here's what will make me instinctively arch my back as high as it will go.
- I love it when you're stroking me, so I arch my back and push into your hand. I'm really saying, "Oh, that feels so good. Do it some more." I guess it reminds me of the good old days, when mom used to groom my back.
- I arch my back to stretch out the kinks, especially after a nice long nap.
- Now I don't want to hear you calling me a "scardy cat", but I arch my back when I'm frightened, threatened, or angry. It's my way of saying, "I'm big, I'm mean, and you'd better not mess with me."
You may have noticed that when I arch my spine in this situation, I ALSO fluff out my fur as far as it will go AND turn sideways. I'll probably add in some hissing and snarling too, because I'm trying to give you the full, intimidating picture of how tough and aggressive I really am.
Have you humans ever tried to arch your own backs - maybe when you have a back ache? It doesn't stick out very far, does it. That's because you only have about 34 vertebrae in your back. But cats are able to get a very high arch, because our spines contain nearly 60 vertebrae which fit together loosely, giving us incredible flexibility.