Ever walked into a room to find your cat sitting against a chair or a wall like a human? Ever casually glanced in your cat’s direction to catch them looking back at you, sitting up?
Cats admittedly sit (and sleep) in all kinds of funny positions, but this one may just take the cake. It looks at best only semi-comfortable, and makes zero sense to us, actual humans. Is this just a cat’s way of imitating us, or is there some logic to the cat-sitting-like-human position?
Why Is My Cat Sitting Like a Human?
To be perfectly honest, we have no idea why cats sit like humans. It may just be comfortable and they may be resting their backs, or they may in fact be copying us. According to cat logic, this sitting position is perfectly acceptable, and favored by many felines.
As humans, we may never be able to truly understand why our pets do what they do. Cats are somewhat notorious for being absolutely pigheaded and doing precisely as they please, so we shouldn’t wonder they assume all kinds of weird positions.
The sitting-like-a-human thing is often a result of grooming. Or stretching. Some cats just like to assume this stance, and will give you that dirty stare when you burst out laughing upon sight of them.
Here’s what I think may be the reason(s) cats sit like humans:
They’ve Seen You Do It
There is some scientific evidence to show that cats mimic and imitate humans. A very small study has shown that cats, under specific circumstances, do in fact copy what their owner does.
The same may be happening in our very own homes as we speak. Since cats are obviously intelligent enough to understand some of our behaviors, and since they have made the connection between our arms and their front paws, they may be sitting like humans because they have seen us do it numerous times.
This may be their way of bonding with us, or they may just want to learn something new. Either way, we could actually be the cause of this behavior.
They Are in Similar Company
If you notice your cat is sitting like a human when surrounded by other two-legged companions, they may just be looking to blend in and be a part of the larger group.
You can witness similar behavior in cat groups as well, when they all assume a similar position, like the cat loaf for example. Kitty see, kitty do seems to be the logic in this case.
While we may perceive this position to be highly uncomfortable for our felines, the truth is that we have no idea how flexible they actually are. Their backs do in fact bend that way, and they certainly don’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort.
Sitting like a human might just be the most comfortable respite possible. Looking silly does not also immediately mean our feline darlings are doing it on purpose. It may just be #catlife.
They Are Resting Their Back
When cats sit like humans and lean against something, they might be resting their back. This does seem much more comfortable and cozy than the sitting-upright-with-no-support position.
While we don’t necessarily consider it a cat’s natural instinct to lean against something, cats are experts in finding the comfiest and coziest spot in the house (to the extent of making you get up from it), so leaning their back in a situp is probably extra relaxing.
It is also undoubtedly easier to lean back against something than hold your body weight upright by sheer muscle strength. The same applies to humans: we prefer to lay back and relax on the couch too.
They Trust Their Surroundings
Getting on all fours from this sitting position will take a while. Your cat is certainly able to be quite quick about it and hop to if needed, they may be sending you a trust signal when they sit around like a human.
Since their belly is exposed, which is their most vulnerable area, your cat is clearly feeling very comfortable around you and in their home. They don’t sense any threats nearby that would require them to stay alert and on their toes, so to speak, and can enjoy some vulnerable time sitting upright.
They Want to Feel Safe
Some cats also may just feel safe when sitting up. It may give them a good vantage point and allow them to observe their surroundings, while at the same time protecting their back. No one can sneak up on them from behind, and they can groom themselves while also keeping one wary eye on the rest of the space.
They’re Cleaning Themselves
Cats can spend up to five hours a day grooming themselves. Given their high personal hygiene standards, you will understand that they simply need to be able to reach every inch of their bellies and chests. And some tufts of fur are truly only reachable from this crazy sitting up position.
If you happen upon your cat sitting like a human, you may be interrupting a grooming session. They may also have recently finished a leg of cleaning, and are now too content and lazy to shift positions.
They Were in the Middle of a Stretch
Cats will also end up in the funniest positions when stretching and bathing. I personally love the “one leg pointing straight up like a ballerina” pose that accompanies washing their privates. From there, a cat can easily sit up like a human.
There is also the “pushing all paws out in front and stretching while yawning before placing front paws on eyes” stretch, which can also result in a situp.
They Are Just Plain Lazy
Whatever the reason for getting into the sitting position in the first place, a cat may at times simply be too lazy to move from it. This is perfectly understandable, as cats need to conserve their energy for the more important tasks: making sure there is nothing dangerous on your plate, pawing your keys off the table, chirping at the local pigeons.
They Want Some Attention
Cats have learned a long time ago that we are suckers for their funny and odd behavior. And they have mastered manipulating us into getting just what they want.
When they sit up, we tend to coo and aww, take a photo, come over and cuddle, or at very least start speaking in our cat-specific tone of voice. You know, that low, rumbling, cutesy voice we only use when talking to cats? Just me?
If you tend to reward your cat’s weird positions with attention, they may now be assuming them simply to get you to notice them. Quite the clever trick, isn’t it? Instead of coming to you, all they have to do is contort their bodies a bit, and there you are, ready to shower them with love.
They Want to Cool Down
Finally, your feline may just be trying to cool down a bit. Since their belly doesn’t usually get all that much air, especially not while the cat is sleeping, this may be their way of improving ventilation.
Cats will normally seek out the warmest parts of the home, but they can overheat, especially after strenuous physical activity. If your cat has just had the zoomies (perhaps after going to the bathroom) or has been chasing their favorite ball around, they may be doing a bit of stretching and cooling down, like any athlete would.
Is It Normal For Cats to Sit Like Humans?
It is perfectly normal for cats to sit like humans, and is no cause for concern. It may be very funny and appear strange to us, but it’s perfectly acceptable cat behavior.
Most of the odd shapes your cat gets itself into are absolutely normal. All you have to do is enjoy their antics and take as many pictures as you can.
Here’s Otto doing an amazing human-like sit. Go say hi to him!
Wrapping It Up
If your cat is sitting like a human, give yourself a paw on the back. They apparently either feel safe enough to be vulnerable around you, or have become master manipulators and know exactly how to get your attention.