Why Do Cats Sit in Circles Then Refuse To Move?
For centuries, cats have been sure to let us humans know who's boss. However, the new 'cat circle' phenomenon sweeping the internet reveals a compulsive behaviour in cats that has even baffled pet experts.
According to the theory, marking a circle out using masking tape, chalk, string or even bananas (see below) will cause a cat to enter the circle and refuse to leave. Dozens of videos and even more pictures have emerged online of various cats 'stuck' in such circles.
But what could it be about these circles that compels felines to behanve in this way? It's common knowledge that cats enjoy enclosed spaces such as closets, baskets and boxes - it's also well known that they like to perch in high places where they can survey their 'kingdom'.
One expert claimed that whilst cats' fondness of circles hasn't been fully explored, it could be explained if the circle acted as a barrier (for example, if it was made of socks).
'Low barriers can give a cat a sense of security because the cat can cower down,’ Professor Daniel Mills explained, 'If you take a cat to the vet and it is put in an unfamiliar cage, it will often sit in a litter tray if there is one inside the cage. The probable reason is that the sides of the tray are raised and they can get their eyes below the level. They don’t realise that their ears are sticking up.’
Another theory is that cats, who are typically territorial, believe the circle is an area which they must defend. But why would cats do that if they already believe they own the entire house? (and, in most cases, do).
A more paws-ible (sorry not sorry) explaination might be cats' obsession with smells and their natural curiosity.
'If you stick a tape down to mark a circle, you are putting down a new scent that could interest a cat,’ says Prof Mills. ‘That might be an interesting odour.’
Cats are usually fancinated by anything new, particuarly when in the safety of their own territory, and due to their terrorial nature usually want to check to see if a new object is safe or dangerous. The fact that the circle is of interest to their owners (or 'unpaid staff', as we are known to them), could also make moggies more interested in it as well.
Whatever the reason behind this phenomenon, the best way to see the effect of a 'cat circle' is to try it yourself on the special feline in your life!
Could you provide a loving home for a rescue kitty? Check out these cats waiting for a forever home in shelters!