Why Do Cats Walk in Circles Before They Lay Down?

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

We all know the cute behavior of a cat circling around before finding the perfect spot to lay down. But have you ever wondered WHY they do this?

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Reasons for Circling

When a cat walks in a circle around an area before finally lying down, it is called circling. There are a few reasons for this behavior. One reason could be that the cat is trying to mark its territory by walking in a circle around the perimeter. Another reason could be that the cat is trying to flatten out the area before it lies down, making it more comfortable. Finally, the cat could be trying to create a windbreak for itself by circling around the area.

Marking Their Territory

One of the most popular theories for why cats circle before they lie down is that they’re actually mark their territory. When a cat walks in a tight circle, they’re leaving their scent behind via the pads on their feet. This behavior is most common in outdoor cats who want to make sure other animals know this area belongs to them.

Circling also gives cats a chance to check out their surroundings and make sure it’s safe. If there are any potential threats, like other animals or predators, a cat will usually pick up on them before settling down. By circling first, cats can get a lay of the land and make sure it’s safe for them to relax.

Checking for predators

One reason your cat may circle before lying down is to check for potential predators. In the wild, cats are often prey animals, so they have developed a few behaviors to help them avoid becoming someone else’s dinner.

One of these behaviors is called “foot scenting.” When a cat circles an area, they are actually deposits a small amount of pheromones from their paw pads. This serves as a marker that lets other cats know that this area has been claimed and that they should keep out.

So, if your cat is circling before they lie down, they may be trying to make sure the area is safe and secure before they settle in for a nap.

Other Explanations

One popular belief is that cats circle because they want to flatten out the area where they’ll be sleeping. Another explanation is that circling helps them to mark their territory by leaving their scent. There are a few other possible explanations for this behaviour as well. Let’s take a look.

They’re dizzy

A study done in 2002 concluded that the “circular walking behavior” is simply due to a “vestibular dysfunction.” In other words, your cat is dizzy. The study found that when cats walked in circles, they were actually trying to correct their balance.

The same study also found that this particular behavior was more common in older cats and cats with neurological problems. However, even healthy cats have been known to walk in circles before they lay down.

There are a few theories as to why this might be the case. One theory is that it’s simply a throwback to their wild ancestors. In the wild, walking in circles may have helped them to babyproof their nests or make them more comfortable.

Another theory is that it’s a way for them to mark their territory. When a cat walks in circles around its bed, it’s leaving its scent behind. This helps them feel safe and secure in their space.

Whatever the reason, it’s clear that this is just another quirk of our furry feline friends. So if you see your cat walking in circles, don’t worry — there’s nothing wrong with them!

They’re trying to find the perfect spot

There are a few reasons your cat might walk in circles before lying down. One reason is that they might be trying to find the perfect spot. A comfortable spot for your cat might be warm, soft, and have a good view. If their food bowl is in the same spot as their bed, they might also walk in circles to signal that they’re ready to eat.

Another reason cats walk in circles is for medical reasons. If your cat has arthritis, walking in circles might help them loosen up their joints before lying down. Cats with neurological conditions might also pace or walk in circles because they’re disoriented or confused. If you notice your cat walking in circles, it’s important to take them to the vet to rule out any medical conditions.

Lastly, some cats just like to walk in circles! If your cat seems happy and healthy, then there’s no need to worry. Just enjoy watching your feline friend strut their stuff.

What to Do If Your Cat is Circling

If you notice your cat walking in circles before they lay down, it’s likely they’re just trying to find the perfect spot. Sometimes, however, this behavior can be a sign of an underlying health condition. If your cat is circling more than usual, it’s best to take them to the vet to get checked out.

Try to figure out the reason

If your cat is circling before they lay down, it’s important to try and figure out the reason why. It could be a medical condition, or it could be a behavioral issue. If your cat is circling because of a medical condition, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible. If your cat is circling because of a behavioral issue, you should try to figure out what’s causing the behavior and how you can stop it.

If they’re marking their territory, provide them with their own space

If your cat is circle walking to mark their territory, the best thing you can do is give them their own space. This means providing them with their own food and water bowls, a litter box that’s just for them, and a place to sleep that’s all their own. By giving your cat their own things, you’ll help them feel like they have a space that’s just theirs and they won’t feel the need to mark it with theircircle walking.

If they’re checking for predators, make sure their environment is safe

If you think your cat might be checking for predators, make sure their environment is safe. Provide them with plenty of places to hide, such as under furniture or in tight spaces. If they’re having trouble finding a safe spot, try using a Feliway diffuser to help them feel more secure.

If your cat is circling due to anxiety or stress, try to reduce the amount of stress in their environment. This might include providing more hiding spots, introducing new toys or activities, or spending more time playing with them. You might also want to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for help dealing with your cat’s anxiety.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books


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