Can Cats Walk Backwards

Can Cat Walk Backwards

There are so many fascinating facts about cats and their amazing abilities. This raises many questions about the extent of their abilities and what they cannot do. If you are a cat parent or cat lover, this article is meant for you. Today, I have gathered information on whether cats can walk backwards. Do you think they can? Cats have been considered smarter than most animals, but they also have limits. Could walking backwards be one of their limitations or one of their amazing abilities? Keep reading to find the answer to this question and other questions arising from the topic.

Cat cats walk backwards? They can. However, this is a peculiar behaviour that should raise concerns. It might be a symptom of a flea infestation, seizure, cognitive dysfunction, vestibular disease, or ingestion of toxic items. On the positive side, cats can walk backwards after being spayed, when scared, or just for fun.

Cats walking backwards can be a result of disorientation, which is a symptom of cat diseases such as feline cognitive dysfunction, seizure, feline infectious peritonitis, and feline vestibular disease. For safety measures, take your cat immediately to the vet if it starts walking backwards for no reason. Your cat might be purring but it is not happy. Most of the time, we tend to forget that cats can also purr to relieve themselves from stress and pain. Your vet will perform a diagnosis and even if there is no cure, providing supportive care will help in recovery or lessen the pain.

Can Cat Walk Backwards

We’ve already discovered that cats can walk backwards, so let’s have a more in-depth look at to why:

Feline Diseases That Cause Disorientation

Your cat may be walking backwards because it’s disorientated or is experiencing imbalance. You should rush it to the veterinary immediately because disorientation is a symptom of certain diseases found in cats. This can help ease your cat’s discomfort or even save its life. Some of these diseases are fatal. Since it’s difficult to confirm why the cat is walking backwards, I highly recommend you visit the vet. Even the diagnosis of the disease by a vet requires several tests and procedures. Feline diseases that could be causing your cat to walk backwards include:

Feline cognitive dysfunction

Feline cognitive dysfunction, also known as dementia, is among the diseases in cats that cause disorientation. The dysfunction is most common in senior cats from about 11 years of age. The older the cat, the more likely it is to suffer from feline cognitive dysfunction. Naturally, the ageing process affects the cat’s brain leading to wandering, disorientation, behavioural changes, and memory loss. When a cat is disoriented, it can exhibit defects such as walking backwards. A cat suffering from Feline Cognitive Dysfunction may not be able to notice that it’s walking backwards and not normally.

Feline vestibular disease

Walking backwards in cats can also be a symptom of the Feline Vestibular Disease. The vestibular system alerts the cat if it is sitting, standing, falling, lying down, or spinning. This is because it is responsible for keeping the body balanced by keeping both the body and the head in the right orientation according to gravity. The system runs from the brain through the inner ear where there are sensors that alert the brain when there is any movement. When a cat has the feline vestibular disease, its brain can fail to identify abnormal body positions, therefore failing to correct them. This disease also affects older cats from the age of 12 years and above.


Cats suffering from seizure usually have a partial complex seizure and rarely have full convulsions. They usually suffer from disorientation during their recovery after a seizure. A partial complex seizure is when the cat has an altered consciousness. The symptoms of seizure in cats include walking backwards, salivating, uncontrolled body movements, and involuntary defecation or urination. Seizures in cats can be as a result of parasite infestation, diabetes, ingestion of toxic substances, epilepsy, thyroid, or an infection. It is important to note that seizure is not caused by epilepsy only as most people think.

Feline infectious peritonitis

Walking backwards in cats can also be as a result of a viral disease called Feline Infectious Peritonitis. It is caused by a feline coronavirus and it has two different forms; dry and wet. The dry form is what leads to disorientation along with other neurological symptoms such as loss of balance, behaviour changes, and convulsions. The disease occurs when masses of inflamed tissue referred to as granulomas develop in the central nervous system of the cat. Disorientation and loss of balance can be a reason for cats walking backwards.

How Can These Diseases Be Treated Or Prevented?

Most of these diseases that confuse cats are neurological. Therefore, as a cat owner, you have the responsibility of keeping your cat from anything that might affect its brain functionality. This means providing a healthy diet and a safe environment free from toxic substances and traumatic experiences. For effective treatment, the vet has to perform a diagnosis to confirm what disease it is. This is done by performing various tests on the cat, understanding its background history, and evaluating what might have caused the problem.

Unfortunately, Feline Cognitive Dysfunction has no known cure. It’s an age-related disorder that only gets worse with age. However, its effects can be slowed down by administering supplements or a diet rich in omega-3, vitamins E and C, carotenoids, selenium, and flavonoids. You should also engage the cat in activities that will improve its cognitive function. These activities are playing, training, exercise, and behavioural therapy. You can include these activities in the cat’s daily routine from a young age and not necessarily wait till it is aged and suffering from Feline Cognitive Dysfunction.

Feline Vestibular Disease can be treated using antibiotics or temporary hospitalisation in case the symptoms are severe. The probability of complete recovery is very high in most cases; however, some symptoms such as head tilting might persist even after treatment.

Phenobarbital medication is the prescription for controlling seizures in cats. It makes the seizures less severe and less frequent. A cat experiencing seizure will most probably live on anticonvulsants till its death since the condition has no cure.

Just like most of the feline diseases that cause confusion and imbalance, Feline Infectious Peritonitis has no cure. This disease is mostly fatal but you can prolong the affected cat through supportive care measures. This includes providing a highly nutritive diet and administering intravenous fluids. The vet can also prescribe Prednisone to suppress the virus and slow down its effects.

Other Factors That Cause Cats To Walk Backwards

Walking backwards in cats is not always a symptom of feline disease. At times it’s not that serious. Your cat can decide to walk back just because she can. It shows how intelligent it is and might be flaunting the fact that it knows it’s smart. Cats can also walk backwards when scared to escape danger while maintaining their eyes on the danger. When you place something on the head of a cat, the first reflex action will be to creep away backwards possibly to get the thing from its head. Lastly, if a walking strip is very narrow and there is an obstruction in front of the cat, it will walk backwards.

It can also be as a result of ingesting rodent poison. This causes neurological signs like confusion, wandering, and disorientation. Poisoning is always fatal and its diagnosis is usually confirmed after the death of the cat through performing a necropsy. If a cat ingests a poisoned rodent, the first signs of poisoning start immediately followed by respiratory failure after 2 to 12 hours. The toxic effects cannot be reversed because there is no antidote. The only way to fight rodent poisoning is by prevention. Avoid using poison to kill rats if you have a cat. Use other options which do not pose a danger to pets and human beings in the house.

Cats can also become confused and walk backwards after ingesting toxic foods. The first toxic edible item is bread dough. Upon ingestion, the yeast in the dough will metabolise the sugar to produce alcohol, which causes intoxication. The cat often looks drunk, disoriented, and its stomach might swell. The good news is it can recover on its own. Another very toxic food item in cats is alcohol. They are very sensitive to it and can die from poisoning.

Does Flea Infestation Cause Cats To Walk Backwards?

Is your cat walking backwards? Maybe it is time you consider flea control measures. Fleas make the cat feel very uncomfortable thus it will try to get them off by jumping up and down, rolling, scratching, or stumbling backwards. Fleas are not only a nuisance for your cat but also causal organisms for certain feline illnesses such as tapeworm infection, Bartonellosis, and Cat Scratch Fever.

Flea control products include tablets, collars, oral solutions, sprays, and topical solutions. Before using these products on your cat, you should confirm whether they are safe for the cat. They should be made specifically for cats and not products meant for any other animal, even dogs.

Oral flea medication is the best monthly flea control option because it works from the inside out. An example of oral flea medicine effective in cats is Comfortis. Topical solutions are liquids, which are often applied to one part of your cat’s body. Most of them start being effective 12 hours after application and you might not have to reapply for almost a month. Examples of tropical solutions include Cheristin for cats, Advantage, and Revolution.

A flea collar is placed on the cat’s neck, providing a continuous flow of flea preventative. Most flea collars can remain effective for several months. An example is Seresto whose effectiveness lasts up to 8 months. The last method is the use of flea sprays. It is crucial to read the label and instructions provided on the product for safe and correct usage. Don’t let the product come into contact with the cat’s eyes or mouth.

Based on the above information, a cat walking backwards is not normal in most cases. Pay attention to your feline friend’s behaviour to note any abnormal changes.