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Home > Cats > Why Your Cat Is Running Sideways: 5 Likely Reasons

Why Your Cat Is Running Sideways: 5 Likely Reasons

Norwegian forest cat is running arched its back

Cats are curious creatures. You may be watching your cat tamper with a catnip toy, or play with their siblings, when suddenly their normal demeanor morphs into a surprising little sideways hop. After the laughter is over, you may wonder what caused your cat to act so funny. Although running sideways can occasionally be a sign of aggression, most times it’s an expression of excitement or playfulness.


The 5 Reasons Why Your Cat May Suddenly Run Sideways

1. Something Startled Your Cat

Everyday activities such as turning on the vacuum cleaner or restarting the dryer can potentially startle your cat. Another animal might have even triggered their amusing response, such as the dog popping out from around the corner or spotting a neighbor’s cat outside.

Black cat in fear and aggression
Image By: NZ3, Shutterstock

2. They Want Your Attention

Some feline shenanigans stem from the desire to be noticed, especially if you’ve been recently distracted from their charms. Running sideways certainly attracts our attention. At least it’s better than knocking the vase off the table…again.

3. Your Cat Has the Zoomies

A sudden burst of energy may propel your cat across the room. Scampering sideways across the floor could be an expression of this unexpected excitement, or it could also be an attempt to regain their footing if they took that corner a little too quickly.

Tuxedo cat running at high speed indoors
Image By: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

4. Your Cat Is Angry

Whoever wrote, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” must’ve never been the object of their cat’s anger. As sweet as they can be, no one wants to be on their cat’s bad side. An arched back with raised fur coupled with an intense hiss signal that your cat is angry. Turning to their side and puffing up their fur makes them look intimidating and much larger than they appear from the front. If you’ve upset your cat, give them a moment to cool down. Don’t try to chase after them. If they’re truly upset, they could bite or scratch you. Wait a few minutes and then try to console them with their favorite toy or snack once their anger has cooled.

5. They’re Excited

Especially as kittens, cats often hop sideways when they’re playing. It’s a maneuver that they use when play fighting other kittens and they may even bounce sideways in response to seeing an exciting toy. As adults, cats may still run sideways occasionally when they’re playing or chasing something.

Munchkin Cat Playing
Image By: otsphoto, Shutterstock



Although it looks funny, running sideways isn’t a cause for concern. An arched back with raised fur, however, may be a sign that your cat is feeling angry, especially if they’re hissing or growling. It’s always a good idea to let them cool off if they’re upset so that their behavior doesn’t escalate into aggression. Otherwise, enjoy watching your cat’s antics and make sure you capture it on video.

Featured Image Credit: Elisa Putti, Shutterstock

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