Why are cats so sneaky

Why Are Cats So Sneaky?

Cats are many things. They’re adorable, silly, and sometimes unpredictable. However, one of the most common question that comes to mind when thinking about felines is why are cats so sneaky?

This article will answer that common question as well as give you some background on a cat’s stealthy behavior.

So, Why Are Cats So Sneaky?

Cats are sneaky because it is their innate instinct.  In the wild, cats had to hone their hunting skills to be able to catch prey and survive.  Even though cats have become domesticated, this natural instinct still exists even in the everyday house cat. 

Cat have developed their own whole-body mechanics to be able to walk stealthily. By distributing their body weight evenly onto their four legs, they can move without making any noise.  This allows them to move quietly without scaring off any potential prey

Let’s dive individually into some of the main reasons why cats are so sneaky.

5 Reasons Behind a Cat’s Stealthy Behavior

1.   Their Natural Hunting Instincts

As we previously mentioned, cats are hunters by nature, just like their larger cousins:

  • Tigers
  • Cougars
  • Leopards
  • Lions
  • Cheetahs
  • Jaguars

In order for even these bigger cats thrive in the wilderness, it was crucial for them to resort to stealth and speed to be able to hunt. 

Cat hunting in the wild

Being distant relatives to these larger felines, it was only natural for our household cats to also inherit this behavior.

2.   Getting Involved With Humans

Eventually humans started keeping cats in their homes. The main reason why this first occurred is because of cat’s ability to hunt.  Specifically, humans wanted cats as pets for the purpose of keeping the mice away.

This continued to help cats hone their hunting skills because now they were being rewarded with food and shelter for their efforts.  Over time, humans took a liking to these curious hunters to the point of considering them sacred in Ancient Egypt.

So, even once cats were later kept as pets for reasons other than to catch mice, their stealth was so ingrained in them that it wasn’t going anywhere.

3.   Being Prey on Occasion

Out in the wild, cats weren’t only predators. Because of their small size, they were also seen as prey by larger animals, including:

  • Bears
  • Coyotes
  • Racoons
  • Cougars
  • Eagles
  • Mountain Lions

As a result of this predator-turned-prey phenomenon, cats developed a set of survival skills. They had to dodge these threats and hunt their own prey at the same time.

You can also see an echo of this behavior in modern days where the slightest noise might scare the bejesus out of your cat.

4.   Their Curiosity

Cats are curious to the point of trouble, if you own a cat you know what I’m talking about! This natural desire to explore their surroundings is another side effect of the time that they spent in the wild.

Therefore, when cats moved in with humans their curiosity came with them. To do a better job of discovering their new homes, they relied on their stealth and sneaky techniques to explore the new world around them.

5.   Their Desire to Avoid Detection

Since cats can be prey, they also have a desire to avoid detection.  They like to see what is going on, but not always be seen. 

Some cats are more prone to this than others, many times it depends on your cats background.  If you have a cat that was adopted and maybe had a rougher upbringing before you rescued them, they are more likely to be cautious and want to stay under the radar.

Additionally, a cat can act this way if they are stressed, nervous, or anxious. Usually, these problems can be a result of one of the following scenarios:

  • A change in daily routine
  • A lack of privacy or personal territory
  • Sickness or pain
  • The presence of unfamiliar pets or people in your home
  • Loud noises

If you cat is exhibiting behavior that is abnormal for your individual cat, try and discover what changed around them that may be causing them to feel uneasy.  Cats a known for having mood swings so one day of your cat being distant isn’t any reason for concern.

However, if you feel like you cat is acting really out of character, you may want to take your feline to the vet to make sure all is well.


Why are cats so sneaky? After centuries of being both hunters and prey, it would be hard for them to get rid of this natural instinct to sneak.   Even though cats have been domesticated, those natural instincts that were honed in the wild, still remain very present. 

Sneakiness is just one of those things that make cats into the wonderful pets we love today!