The effect of the frosty, merciless intensity in a cat’s eyes just before it pounces on an unsuspecting bird is somewhat ruined by how cute its little bum looks, wobbling in the air.
There is no single explanation for this habit (also because there isn’t a massive need for research on the subject). But like kneading, relaxing in sinks, and dozens of other confusing cat behaviors, experts have some theories.
As Live Science reports, it is possible for cats to try to create traction between their hind legs and the ground to reinforce their leap. Feeling calm is especially important as they jump off two paws at the same time.
“When cats pounce, they basically have to use both hind legs to propel themselves in order to take off completely. Usually cats alternate their hind legs when walking, but when jumping or jumping they use the two together, ”veterinarian Katie Grzyb told PetMD.
It could also be less about her legs and more about the floor itself. Shifting your weight from your hind paw to your hind paw a few times can help you verify that the surface you are on is firm enough to pounce off of it. Or cats could just make the same small adjustments humans make before a big muscular effort.
“It seems that you are preparing your muscles for a big move while you are strategizing – with tiny movements of your feet and back legs – much like a golfer does when he stands on a tee or a batsman,” veterinarian Meghan E Herron told PetMD.
Excitement could also be a factor. Cats enjoy the hunt, and jiggling a little can be their way of venting some of that extra energy before going on to kill. Whether the shake before the jump has an impact on the success rate is just as good your guess as ours.
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