Science Attempts to Understand Why Cats Wiggle Before They Pounce

If you own a cat, you know about the wiggle.

When your little fur ball is gearing up to pounce, he or she wiggles their butt a little bit first.

It only lasts a few moments while the cat is down on its haunches waiting to strike, but it happens every time without fail. And sometimes, the target is simply your toes, hiding under a blanket.

While there’s yet to be any formal research on the topic, John Hutchinson, a professor of evolutionary biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College in London, says, “The short answer is science does not know; the butt-wiggling has not been studied, to my knowledge, in an experimental context.”

However, Hutchinson believes the kitty-wiggling phenomenon may help press the hindlimbs into the ground in an effort to help the cat get added traction to propel them forward. “It may also have a sensory role to prepare the vision, proprioception [an awareness of one’s position and movement] and muscle—and whole cat—for the rapid neural commands needed for the pounce.”

Alternatively, the butt wiggle might just be a sort of aerobic warm-up that has to do with stretching the muscles to assist with pouncing. He also added that “it’s just fun for cats.”

So whatever the reason is for the little pre-pounce butt-wiggle, we’re pretty sure it’s adorable and we’re totally here for it.

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