Cat Sideways Hop

Cat Sideways Hop

A cat sideways hop can mean that your cat is in a playful mode although some may also consider it a form of intimidation. This particular cat movement and posture is usually observed among kittens although adult cats also manifest it. 

What is a sideways hop?

The sideways hop is a favorite movement among young and playful cats. The movement will usually start with a fluffed up tail and legs that are stretched taut. Next, the cat will arch its back, turn the body sideways, and bounce or hop toward you or another cat. The sideways hop is rarely an aggressive movement. If your cat exhibits this in your presence you may be expected to play along and cat experts note that an appropriate response to it is to get down all fours and do a similar hop. 

Some cat owners also refer to it as sidewinding and cats do it intermittently especially if they experience “cat crazies” accompanied by running around wildly at home. This is usually a startling move but is usually no cause for alarm as long as your cat looks and acts normal. However, if the behavior is accompanied by hissing or growling it may mean that your cat is becoming aggressive or agitated. 

Why do cats do the sideways hop?

Cats may appear aloof but they also tend to be affectionate and playful. They have body language and behavior that are confusing but also amusing to see. The sideways hop, for instance, is among one of the entertaining movements that we often observe among cats and kittens. 

Here are the probable reasons why cats do the sideways hop:

Cats do it when there are strangers in the house. 

Some cat owners observe their cats doing this when there are unfamiliar people at home. Cats may stand back high, look at a stranger from her side, and then proceed to hop sideways.  The cats do not seem to threaten the person as they do not show aggressiveness like hissing and growling. 

Cats may do it as a part of play posturing. 

Some pet parents agree that it is part of their postures while at play. Kittens are observed to be doing this when playing with siblings. They usually pose like this when they become excited during playtime and when they start running around wildly they may also do the sideways hop. 

Cats may do this to appear bigger and fearsome.

Cats and kittens may hop sideways as a way of scaring off bigger cats or dogs. This is usually the case when it is accompanied by puffed out fur which happens when a cat hops sideways as the fur tends to stand up. It makes themselves appear bigger and scarier as a means of defense. 

Cats do it as a means of intimidating another cat or dog. 

Some cats may be doing this as a means of intimidating other animals which are larger than them. They will puff their fur so that the fur on the spine will stand on its ends and the tail will look like a bottle brush when it fluffs out. They will stand straight and tall with their legs extended and arch their backs high and as a finale, will turn their body sideways to the other animal in a sideways hop.

The sideways hop as observed among cats and kittens 

Kittens practice their adult life through play and it is also how they learn to interact with fellow cats. They learn how to practice defending themselves and fighting off intruders through playtime which they do by fluffing their fur, arching their back, and hopping or jumping sideways. But while it is their way of play-fighting it is also meant to be a harmless display of tactics and being able to goof around with siblings while practicing how to look large and scary.

Adult cats also manifest these movements and posture but more often in a playful manner. Cats are more likely displaying a happy and playful mood when they are hopping sideways in your presence so be ready with a dangly feather toy because his behavior is more or less an invitation for playtime. 

Why do cats puff up?

Cats usually puff up their fur to express a bad mood or if they feel threatened. They have vivid imaginations and could even puff up when kids annoy them. Anything strange for them could result in puffing up, even inanimate objects like a mirror. Take special precautions when approaching a puffed-up cat. The best thing to do is to remove any threats that could be the reason for the puffing up. 


Cats are naturally playful and the sideways hop is almost always an invitation to join along. For kittens, it is usually a way to hone their fighting skills later on in their adult life while.