kitty won't stand up for treats - problem?
April 25, 2010 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Are most cats willing to stand up on their back legs for treats they love, if they're also willing to "sit up"? If this one doesn't, is that grounds to worry about his joints?

There are other odd things about how he moves, and most are endearing, but mainly I want to know if there are other, healthy cats like this one, or if his refusal to do this one thing might indicate unhappy knees, ankles, or hips.

He will go crazy for treats (to the point of jumping through hoops, jumping between chairs, coming when called, even sitting up on his haunches), but will not stand up on his back feet with his legs extended. He's only about seven or eight months old.

posted by amtho to Pets & Animals (28 answers total)
I have never had a cat that stood on its hind legs for treats, fwiw. Does he ever stand on his hind legs to look look out windows or something similar?
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:25 PM on April 25, 2010

Ditto runningwithscissors. My cats have never done that.
posted by something something at 6:26 PM on April 25, 2010

I don't personally know any cats that sit up on their hind legs for any length of time.

I wouldn't worry!
posted by InsanePenguin at 6:28 PM on April 25, 2010

There is a reason these videos of cats standing on hind legs are on YouTube - it's weird. A lifetime of cats owned and known by me have never done this.
posted by meerkatty at 6:28 PM on April 25, 2010

Mine will stretch that far if she's leaning on something (usually my leg) but she won't actually try to balance that way, and she's the most treat-obsessed cat I've ever met.
posted by restless_nomad at 6:32 PM on April 25, 2010

I do not own a cat, but I have done a lot of cat-sitting and cat-observing and I have never seen one sit up on its hind legs. That's a dog thing, as far as I've seen.
posted by fantine at 6:35 PM on April 25, 2010

i've had cats for years, and the most they'll ever do for a treat is sit up and then pick their front legs off the floor. they never get up on just their hind paws and dance around like a dog will.

if your cat is jumping and playing, he is fine.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:35 PM on April 25, 2010

All the way up, with only the feet on the ground? Cats can't balance very well in that position. The cats I've known will get on their back feet temporarily if they're feeling energetic and making a wild grab for an overhead toy, but they're only in the position for a second or less, and plop back on their haunches or on all fours.

Think of it as the feline equivalent of an arm balance in yoga - it's doable, but it's not a natural or intuitive place for their bodies to be in.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:36 PM on April 25, 2010

All the above, plus "Cats are weird!".
posted by lungtaworld at 6:38 PM on April 25, 2010

Mine does for treats, but she's also insane about food. In a lifetime of having cats, this is the only one I've ever had do that.
posted by questionsandanchors at 6:41 PM on April 25, 2010

One of mine stands, but not for treats; he does it to see farther.
posted by reflecked at 6:43 PM on April 25, 2010

I have one (of four) cats that will get a pet... the rest look at me like I'm an idiot (they are probably right)...

don't worry...
posted by HuronBob at 6:46 PM on April 25, 2010

My one cat, Mortis, stands up when we play "Up," his favorite game. None of my other cats ever have, though.
posted by The Potate at 6:48 PM on April 25, 2010

This does kill me though.
posted by meerkatty at 6:50 PM on April 25, 2010 [6 favorites]

I have a cat who wouldn't stand for treats, but would jump as high as my shoulder to snatch them from my fingertips.

I have another cat who would stand for treats, but not jump for them; for his own entertainment, though, he would jump from the floor to the top of the door and swat at the top of your head as you walked beneath him.
posted by toodleydoodley at 6:55 PM on April 25, 2010

most of the cats I've known won't do it, but one of mine will do this some times when she is looking out the window, or trying to get a good sniff at something in your hand.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 6:59 PM on April 25, 2010

My old cat has pretty bad arthritis through her back knees, hips and half way along her spine and she will stand up for a treat if she thinks it's the only way she'll get it. Because of other medication she's on the arthritis isn't as well controlled as we'd like and she defintiely has some pain and stiffness but when it comes to food nothing will stop her.

So I don't see any reason for you to worry about your cat based on this one thing. Definitely bring it up at his next checkup though, it'll be pretty easy for the vet to check.
posted by shelleycat at 7:13 PM on April 25, 2010

one of my cats does sit up on his hind legs for treats. but he also stands up for what we call "high fives" when he wants you to pet him. i have not seen many cats do this.
posted by itsacover at 7:24 PM on April 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

When my cat was younger, she would stand on her hind feet to bat at the hanging toy we set up for her: sort of like a fishing rod for cats, with colorful mouse-tail thingies attached. Not for any long periods of time.
posted by gentilknight at 7:29 PM on April 25, 2010

1. Cat questions are useless without photos. Useless!
2. He doesn't go on his hind legs because the alien command has outlawed it in advance of the feline invasion.
3. I only ever had one cat who would go on her hind legs, and that was only when I was treating her with nori.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:45 PM on April 25, 2010

I'm talking about standing up just for a moment, not a sustained position. I realize that not many cats will even "sit up" for treats, but if yours will "sit up" but not "stand up", that's the relevant example I seek! Thanks so much for the answers so far.
posted by amtho at 8:16 PM on April 25, 2010

Sorry I forgot to post photos. He's an awesome, mellow kitty (who's going to the vet tomorrow for unrelated issues).
posted by amtho at 8:41 PM on April 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

I have eight cats. Assuming that you mean they're sort of sitting like prairie dogs, about half of them are totally happy to sit up. Only one of them has ever stood on his hind legs like you're describing, even briefly. Most--five or six--of the cats are happy to stand up by climbing your legs, but some of them don't even do that, and they're all healthy, happy cats who get regular vet checks and all of that. I don't think you have anything to worry about.
posted by MeghanC at 11:30 PM on April 25, 2010

OK, thanks.

They refuse (or sit there looking confused) even if you hold a treat a few inches over their heads?
posted by amtho at 11:51 PM on April 25, 2010

who's going to the vet tomorrow for unrelated issues

You might as well bring it up. Diagnosing Mandy's arthritis took like 20 seconds of prodding and moving of legs, it's really a fast check to see if they're fully mobile and everything works properly.

I'd be more worried if he had tried to get up a few times, had problems then stopped. Instead he may just not have figured out it's possible (cat's brains: the size of a walnut). But yeah, ask the vet and then you'll know for sure.
posted by shelleycat at 12:27 AM on April 26, 2010

Absolutely no confusion for my cat as he will get up on his hind legs for treats. Not what I would call begging for them, but he quite happily rears up and wraps his front paws around my hand to pull it down to get the treats I am holding.

Mind you, he is a greedy big lump that would eat just about anything if you were to offer to him - if we can't find him in the house, all we need to do is to rattle the treats and he comes running from whatever hiding place he is in.
posted by 543DoublePlay at 6:27 AM on April 26, 2010

My cat loves treats but doesn't eat them unless they are in the bowl. I think this is because he is stupid/crazy. Cats are weird.
posted by Gor-ella at 9:33 AM on April 26, 2010

They refuse (or sit there looking confused) even if you hold a treat a few inches over their heads?

Yup. They're pretty, but not so bright. One of them will attempt to hook your hand with his paw, but refuses to stand up to do so.
posted by MeghanC at 10:35 PM on April 26, 2010

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