Pet Keen is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Can Cats Fake Limps for Sympathy? And Why?

red tabby cat in pain walking on grass outdoor

Cats are mysterious creatures. Most of the time, we don’t know what’s happening in their heads. We assume they’re judging us 90% of the time, and frankly, that’s not far from the truth.

But every now and then, cats are transparent. They tell us exactly what they want in their own funny way. Most cats will paw or meow at you when they want to play. Other cats walk all over you, lay down on your computer keyboard, or run around the house like the crazy cat it is.

And some cats fake limp for attention. Yes, you read that right! Cats will fake injuries just to spend quality time with you. It’s sweet and funny at the same time. But why  is this? Let’s dig into the science behind this behavior. But first, we have to show you something hilarious.

divider-cat

This Viral TikTok Answers Our Questions

It was only an idea, but now we know it’s true. This cat proves our point that some cats fake limps for attention.

In this viral video, you see an adorable orange tabby cat named Edward picking up his left paw as if he’s hurt. The owner takes the bait, offering Edward all kinds of pets. Edward loves the attention but hilariously forgets that he’s faking an injury and starts walking normally.

Edward goes back and forth with this charade and often forgets which paw is supposed to be “broken.”

The owner makes it clear in the comments that Edward is perfectly healthy and happy. He only wants the spotlight for a few minutes—no need to worry! The owner also perfectly captioned the video saying, “He’s Such A Drama Queen.”

It may not surprise you that this TikTok received over 10.5 million views and 2 million likes.

Healthy Cats Act Sick for Attention

cat sleeping on owner's lap
Image Credit: Karpova, Shutterstock

Despite what we say about cats, the truth is that they actually want to spend time with us. They really do love their owners, and they’ll do anything for attention, especially to tell us when something is wrong.

A study done in 2011 confirmed that healthy cats act sick when upset. This study evaluated two groups of cats: one set of healthy cats and one set of cats with Feline Interstitial Cystitis (FIC). The study found that both groups of cats experienced the same illness behaviors in response to their surroundings.

Both sets of cats could reduce stress levels with a strict feeding, playing, and cleaning schedule. Ultimately, the study showed that cats show their stress and discontentment by playing sick. This is one of their ways of grabbing our attention.

How Do You Know if Your Cat Is Sick or Faking It?

If your cat started limping when it seemed fine a second ago, there’s a chance your cat is signaling for you to fix something. Still, it’s worth checking just to be sure.

Gently hold your cat’s paw and softly rub it. Your cat should show you signs of pain, like gently biting you, pulling back, and licking the paw excessively. This is a good indicator to take your cat to the vet.

If your cat doesn’t show any of these signs, odds are your cat only wants attention. Give your cat some love and see what it does. Talk to your veterinarian if you’re not confident your cat is okay.

Enrich Your Cat’s Surroundings

tabby cat on a cat tree in a room
Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock

Enriching your cat’s surroundings is the best way to help it through a tough time. You can accomplish this in a few different ways.

First, start your cat on a routine. Cats are creatures of habit and feel at peace when they know what to expect. The best routines include feeding, cleaning, and playtime.

Play a game you know your cat loves. It’s a great way to spend time with your cat, and your cat can show off its hunting skills! Playtime only needs to be about 15 minutes of vigorous play. You can add cat trees and shelves for your kitty to be vertical. Undoubtedly, your cat would appreciate a place to climb and scratch.

And why not add a cat garden while you’re at it? A small cat garden is a massive perk in a cat’s life. Cats love chewing and sniffing plants, and there are plenty of plants and herbs your cat can safely chew on besides catnip.

divider-cat

Final Thoughts

We all knew cats were cryptic, but who knew they would fake illness for attention? Truthfully, it’s not that surprising. But it makes sense why they do it. They understand how mysterious they can be, so they use different forms of communication to get our attention.

When you think about it, it’s genius!

Sources
 

Featured Image Credit: lagunabluemolly, Pixabay

Our vets

Want to talk to a vet online?

Whether you have concerns about your dog, cat, or other pet, trained vets have the answers!

Our vets
Did you know: an average of 8 cat foods are recalled every year?
Get FREE Cat Food Recall Alerts, exclusive content, insider pricing, care guides, sale alerts & more! Sign up for our Kitty Club!
Get FREE Cat Food Recall Alerts Get alerts