Why Do Cats Raise Their Butts When You Pet Them

Why Do Cats Raise Their Butts When You Pet Them?

If you have ever owned a cat or spent time with one, you may have noticed a peculiar behavior – the infamous cat butt wiggle. This phenomenon occurs when cats raise their hindquarters in the air while being petted. While it may seem odd to us, there are several reasons why cats exhibit this behavior.

1. Scent marking: Cats have scent glands located on their cheeks, paws, and tails. By raising their hindquarters, they are allowing their anal glands to release pheromones, which mark their territory. This behavior is instinctual and serves as a form of communication with other cats.

2. Greetings and affection: When a cat raises its butt towards you, it is a sign of trust and comfort. By exposing their most vulnerable area, they are showing that they feel safe and enjoy your company. It can also be seen as a way of inviting you to pet them more.

3. Stretching and relaxation: When a cat raises their butt, they are also stretching their back muscles and relieving tension. It is a natural stretching behavior that helps them relax and feel more comfortable.

4. Sexual behavior: Female cats in heat may raise their hindquarters as a mating behavior. This is a way to display their readiness for mating to male cats. Neutered cats may also exhibit this behavior as a remnant of their sexual instincts.

5. Playful behavior: Cats often raise their hindquarters during playtime. It can be a part of their playful antics, where they wiggle their butts before pouncing on a toy or chasing after something. It adds an element of excitement to their play behavior.

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6. Preparing for grooming: Cats are known for their meticulous grooming habits. Raising their hindquarters can give them better access to those hard-to-reach areas, such as the base of their tail. It allows them to groom themselves more effectively.

7. It feels good: Cats have specific areas on their bodies that they enjoy being scratched or petted, and the base of their tail is one of them. By raising their butt, they are positioning themselves for a more satisfying petting experience.


1. Is it safe to scratch a cat’s butt when they raise it?
Yes, scratching or petting a cat’s butt when they raise it is generally safe and can be enjoyable for them. However, always be mindful of their body language and stop if they show signs of discomfort.

2. Can all cats raise their butts?
Yes, most cats can raise their hindquarters. It is a natural behavior that is observed in various breeds and mixed-breed cats.

3. Is it appropriate to touch a cat’s raised butt?
While some cats enjoy being touched in that area, others may not. It is best to observe their reaction and respect their boundaries. If they seem uncomfortable or agitated, avoid touching their raised butt.

4. Should I be concerned if my cat doesn’t raise its butt?
Not all cats raise their butts when being petted, and it is perfectly normal. Cats have individual preferences and personalities, and not all behaviors apply to every cat.

5. How can I make my cat more comfortable when being petted?
Observe your cat’s body language and pet them in areas they enjoy. If they raise their butt, it’s a good indication that they are comfortable. Experiment with different strokes and pressure to find what they prefer.

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6. Why does my cat raise its butt but then move away?
Sometimes, cats raise their butts to indicate they want to be petted but may move away if they have had enough. Remember to respect their boundaries and give them space when they signal that they are done.

7. Can this behavior be a sign of a medical issue?
In most cases, the cat butt wiggle is a normal behavior. However, if your cat suddenly starts excessively raising its butt or displays signs of discomfort, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian to rule out any medical issues.

Understanding why cats raise their butts when being petted can help us better communicate with and care for our feline friends. Whether it’s a display of trust, a stretch, or simply enjoying a good scratch, it’s just another fascinating aspect of their unique behavior.