It was a beautiful rainy day. I just made myself the tastiest tea ever and I sat by the window so I can listen to the rain. My favorite book was next to me, and just as I was opening it, I glanced at my kitty. “She’s such a cutie,” I thought. But then it hit me! “Wait! This is new… Why is my cat running sideways?!“.
After that, I didn’t care about my tasty tea, relaxing rain, or my favorite book anymore. All I could think of was the reason behind my cat’s unusual behavior. “Is she okay? Does every cat do that? What does it even mean? Should I do something? Do I need to worry?” These were just some of the questions I had.
So I called my friend who has 3 cats. She picked up and I yelled, “Molly, oh, thank God you picked up! Listen, Pearl (my cat) is running sideways. Please tell me I shouldn’t worry!” And she just started laughing. I figured she wouldn’t laugh if I needed to worry about something, so I finally took a deep breath.
Then she said most of her cats did that and they never had any health issues. But that wasn’t enough for me. I still wanted to know what’s the reason behind that super move. Is my cat a trained secret agent? I hope she wasn’t sent to me because of that movie I tried to download illegally.
Anyways, I wanted to find the answers to my questions, and I did. Now I want to share my knowledge with you so you don’t need to spend hours researching about it. Here’s everything you need to know about cats and their ninja-running move.
Why is your cat running sideways? 8 possible reasons
I worried a lot thinking that there was something seriously wrong with my Pearl, but it turns out there are actually many other reasons for her unusual behavior. So, I’m gonna unravel them right away so you don’t stress about it anymore.
When you think about it, we also behave according to our mood. So it shouldn’t be surprising that cats do the same. Here are 8 possible reasons why your cat is running sideways.
1) She wants to grab your attention
All of us sometimes feel like we lack attention. It can be from your parents, partner, siblings, friends, or even ourselves. It’s just an ugly feeling of loneliness that stays there until we finally get the sprinkles of attention we were hoping to get.
Animals are not much different than us when it comes to this. And that’s especially true if we’re talking about cats. They will love you, and cherish your existence. But only if you do the same for them. If they feel like you’ve stopped giving them as much attention as they want, they will do something about it.
Most of the time, they’ll throw tantrums like little kids. But sometimes, they might start acting strangely. So if you see that your cat is running sideways, it’s possible that she’s trying to grab your attention. And since you’re reading this article, I would say she did a pretty good job.
2) She’s playful
As parents or animal owners, we tend to worry about every little change we notice. That comes out of the fear that something bad might happen to the ones we love the most. And because of that, our brain sends us only negative outcomes that make us more and more stressed.
It’s difficult to deal with those emotions, but they sometimes help us. How? Because they motivate us to learn more about possible health issues, problems, and things our cats like and dislike. That way, we get to understand them better, especially after all the research our fear has made us do.
One of the most common reasons for a cat to run sideways is that she’s simply being playful. Maybe you remember when you were a kid and you made little cakes and cookies from mud. Back then, it made perfect sense to you, but now it just seems weird and pointless.
Maybe we don’t see sideways running as a super fun activity, but our kitties usually do. If you want to check whether it’s true or not, give her a toy and you’ll see that she’s ready for playtime.
3) Your cat is scared of something
Even though it’s most common that she’s playing or trying to grab your attention, it’s still possible that some other reason is hiding behind your cat’s sideways running. It’s also likely that she’s scared of something or something negatively surprised her.
When animals are afraid of something, they like to make themselves appear bigger. That way, they feel more powerful as they believe other animals will see them as stronger and more dominant. Maybe you didn’t know but we also push our shoulders back and stand a little taller when we feel threatened.
Big cats are predators, but their smaller cousins (like your kitty) are aware that they can also be someone’s prey. And from the moment they are born, they learn many tricks that can help them fight, protect themselves, and appear more powerful to other creatures around them.
When cats arch their back and puff up all their fur, they hope it will make them look larger. And they add one more special move into their defense mechanism. Sideways running! But why? It’s actually very simple. Moving targets are always more difficult to catch, and your kitty knows that.
So if you notice that your cat is running sideways and you’re sure she’s not playing or grabbing your attention, check around your house to see whether there’s something that might be scary for her. You’ll save both of you some unnecessary stress.
4) She’s angry
Every cat owner knows that making your kitty angry is the easiest job in the world. Of course, none of us do that on purpose, but sometimes it feels that anything we do can make our fluffballs go mad. Then they get ready to attack us even though we’re pretty sure we did nothing wrong.
Well, since your cat can’t talk, most of the time, you don’t even know why she got mad and why you need to suffer from her deep scratches. It’s also possible that you’re not aware that she’s angry until you try to cuddle her, and she turns into a ninja with super sharp claws.
However, if you see her running sideways while she’s all puffed up, hissing, and overall aggressive, then you can conclude that she’s angry about something. Don’t blame yourself immediately. Maybe she just failed to catch a fly she was hunting the whole day or she chose an uncomfortable sleeping position.
What’s important is that she won’t stay angry forever, and her sideways running isn’t pointing to any more serious problems. It’s just about her mood swings. Just give her some time and space, and she’ll be fine.
5) She’s trying to avoid something
Cats are very good at noticing things you don’t see or figuring out the intentions of other animals and people around them. They are very quick on their feet and very skilled. No surprise they get compared to ninjas often. Kitties can jump, run, climb, attack, and hide pretty well.
If your cat is running sideways, then she might be trying to escape something. Maybe there’s something on the floor that bothers you. But it’s more likely that she’s running from you or someone else who’s trying to pick her up or cuddle with her.
Just like us, our cats like to be alone from time to time. And if you chose to “bother” her when she just planned to spend a few hours on her own, she might start running away from you.
As I said, they are very good at noticing intentions. So if she’s in pain and she notices you’re getting ready to go out, she might conclude that you’re planning to take her to the vet. And who likes going to the doctor?
6) You have guests
No matter how brave your cat is, she’ll still often get scared of the smallest things. It can be a sound she hates, a bigger animal near her, or someone new who’s entered your home. If your cat doesn’t know that person, she might get scared or annoyed by them.
Why? Because cats are very territorial and they will see those guests as invaders. Especially if they decided to sit somewhere near her spot. Every kitty has their favorite spot in your house, and if someone gets too close to it, they get very annoyed.
Then you might see them getting ready for an attack or sideways running to avoid any encounters with new humans in her home. She believes that her actions will show the “invaders” that they shouldn’t mess with her because she’s ready to defend her owner and also her comfy chilling spot.
7) Your kitty feels energetic
And now we’re going back to some positive feelings your kitty might be dealing with. Is there anything better than waking up fully energized and ready to conquer the world? If you’re like me, then it rarely happens as my kitty wakes me up millions of times, but hey, it still happens from time to time.
And I’m sure you’ve experienced feeling energetic too. Well, your kitty can feel the same way! Sometimes she’ll wake up feeling like her (and your) home is the most beautiful place on Earth and her owner is the best person ever. Then she’ll look around and realize that there’s so much space for her to explore.
The night of good sleep and her comfy bed helped her feel energetic and now she needs to spend all that energy. She’ll jump around the house, cuddle with you, eat, drink, and play, but also run. And since she’s in a silly, goofy mood, it’s very possible that your cat will run sideways too.
8) She might have the zoomies!
Have you ever heard about zoomies? Every cat owner has had a chance to experience them, it’s just that maybe you weren’t aware that they have a name. Let me explain it to you and I’m sure it will remind you of something that happened with your kitty.
Zoomies look something like this. Your cat will start running from one side of your house to another, she’ll even include a few jumps and climbs in her marathon. Those actions might seem so fast that it feels like your kitty just turned into Flash Barry.
One more thing that they often do when they have the zoomies is sideways running. Why? It’s simply because it seems like a fun thing to try out. When cats are in full-on zoomies, they won’t focus on one thing for more than a few seconds. Instead, they will shift their focus very often and very quickly.
Should you worry when you see your cat running sideways?
And of course, everyone asks the same question “Should I worry when I see my cat running sideways?” Luckily for you, I’m here to answer everything that comes to your mind. So, should you worry about it or is it just an activity that shouldn’t keep you up at night?
Most of the time, there’s nothing to be worried about when you see your cat running sideways. It’s just a normal part of her life because cats are very playful and they like to try out new things.
Now you know it’s possible that they do it as a fear response, but even if that’s the case, you shouldn’t worry unless there’s a real threat somewhere near your kitty. Luckily, house cats don’t usually have to deal with some big scary threats.
2 possible health issues behind “the sideways run”
Most of the time, you don’t have to worry if you see your cat running sideways. But there’s still a slight, miniature chance that there might be something wrong. Don’t be like me and panic as soon as you hear that there’s a possibility of a health issue.
It’s very unusual that running sideways points to a health problem! However, I still want to mention 2 possible issues because I want you to learn as many things as possible. That way, you’ll always know how to react when you notice a change in your cat’s behavior.
Cats that suffer from feline diabetes have low blood sugar or prolonged hypoglycemia. And that might cause them to lose coordination in their muscles. If we’re talking about the most serious cases, felines may even suffer nerve damage in their legs and feet.
Don’t immediately worry thinking that sideways run means your cat is definitely suffering from feline diabetes. It’s just one of the symptoms that can be connected to uncoordinated movements, which can point out this health issue.
It’s best you watch out for other symptoms and pay attention to how often it happens. If it’s just an activity she goes back to from time to time, then you can be pretty sure it has nothing to do with any of the serious health issues.
2) Vestibular disease
Cats’ ears help them control balance and help them with orientation. However, sometimes one part of the ear that is called the vestibular apparatus stops working correctly, and then your cat might start acting weird. That’s because she won’t be able to balance herself as she did when everything was fine.
Some of the movements you might notice are sideways walking, running, or even hopping, circling, and tripping over the things around your house.
The same symptoms might occur if your feline is having a bad ear infection of the inner or middle ear. But you’ll easily differentiate those two because a cat who’s dealing with the vestibular disease will be much more uncoordinated.
Is running sideways common for all adult cats?
Just like every person is different from each other, our cats are too. They have their own style of communication as well as different hobbies. That means that something that seems fun to my Pearl, is not going to be fun to your fluffball.
However, most cats can be seen running sideways from time to time, especially because it’s a common fear response, and also a way to tell you that they’re ready for playtime.
So, not every adult cat does it, but most of them do! Don’t worry, your kitty is not a trained secret agent who’s there to call the authorities if she sees you watching a TV show on a free website.
I hope you’ve found every answer you were looking for. The most important thing to remember is that seeing your cat running sideways isn’t something you should worry about. You can always contact your vet if you feel like she’s been doing that for much longer than she should be.
Luckily, most of the time, it’s just about your little kitty having fun and being in a playful mood. Now that you know all of this, you can finally rest and drink that morning coffee in peace. Enjoy it!