People are fascinated by the grace, athleticism, and agility of the feline. Warriors mimic our effortless movements, hunters channel our intense focus, espionage teams mirror our stealth, scientists study our aptitude and dogs, well, they just envy us. But one aspect of our hunting repertoire still remains a mystery. The butt wiggle.
Some say our pre-pounce twerk looks as if we are rotating our tail up like a wind mill and transferring the energy directly to our hind legs. Much like one of those plastic walking wind-up toys, wiggle butt only lasts a few moments. First we crouch low, then our tail starts dancing in a tantalizing fashion, next comes the wiggle with a little hip hop dance finale before launch time as we pounce onto our prey (anything from feet hiding under blankets to a man-eating rodent).
Although formal research has yet to spring on this quirky behavior I did read about one scientist who studies animal locomotion and seems to think he knows why kitty does the shimmy before its ambush.
According to Live Science, John Hutchinson, a professor of evolutionary biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College in London, theorizes that butt-wiggling may help cats press their hind limbs into the ground for added friction (traction) to push them forward in the pounce. Additionally, “it may also have a sensory role to prepare the vision, proprioception, muscles and whole cat for the rapid neural commands needed for the pounce”.
So butt wiggling may simply be giving your cat a physiological warm-up, of sorts, like pre-run stretching exercises. Its importance, however, is marked by the fact that wild felines, even big kitties such as lions, tigers and jaguars, shake their derrières before striking.
Thus, this dance routine has held tight for the past 10,000 years since the house cat was domesticated. Is it just residual cell memory or is it still important? Why has this not been researched before? How can this mystery be allowed to continue unsolved? Are the majority of cats are still butt wigglers or is this behavior being extinguished?
I have a strong feeling that butt wiggle is still very much intact in the vast majority of cats. So here is my truth…cats wiggle their butts out of excitement for the pending kill. Hunting is part of who we are, it is elating, so we want to dance. What is that saying? “Dance like no one is watching” (well that is because they aren’t watching, they are checking their phones). So just join in and do the wiggle butt…feels so good!
Huntington is my name, I am two years young. Yes, I am a good hunter. I was part of a feral cat colony not long ago, but I gave that all up because I love cuddles more than I love living wild. As a former man about town, I get along well with other cats and haven’t met a dog I am afraid of yet. I have decided I want to be a family man now, will I be yours?
I mostly want to cuddle up with people, wiggle my butt and be fed well. Simple things in life, ya know? Make an appointment today to meet and be charmed by me.
Second Chance Humane Society’s Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shops have been servicing San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties for over 26 years. Call 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about our Community Medical, Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, or other services. View our shelter pets and services online: www.adoptmountainpets.org.