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Why Is My Cat Walking In Circles – Is It Normal?

Have you ever seen your cat walking in circles around you? This is a widespread experience that almost every cat owner observes and loves most. They usually walk around you and keep meowing, which creates a fascinating sight for everyone who loves cats. You may think that your cat wants attention by doing this. But is it so? This leaves many pet owners asking themselves: why is my cat walking in circles?

Cats walk in circles to grab attention from their owner. Walking in circles is also related to different medical conditions including vestibular disease, ear infections, head injuries, and asserting dominance.

In this article, we will be explaining why your cat is walking in circles around you. Additionally, we will also be answering some frequently asking questions from the cat owners related to the reasons when it comes to your cat’s walking in a circle. 

Reasons Your Cat Walks In Circles

There are a lot of reasons for a cat to walk in circles around the owner. Cats like to walk in a circle as a greeting or to grab attention from their owner. Cats also exhibit this sign because of pain, showing dominancy, or severe illness.

Sometimes, cats might show a sign of disorientation before and after the circling. Some cats start showing dominant behavior by circling, which ends with aggression. Here are six common reasons why your cats walk in a circle around you.

Your Cat Is Greeting You

One of the main reasons your cat is circling you is excitement. You may observe their excitement to see you when you come back home and call them by their name.

Usually, a cat offers this greeting by expressing some behaviors like making its tail upwards and pointing in your direction. Your cat may also take time to rub its head against your legs and roll over onto its back with meowing. This verbalization is the most important thing to let yourself know that your cat likes your presence and wants attention.

Almost every cat wants acknowledgment and time from its owner for some light petting. This circling will be stopped after some time when your cat gets the desired time or some treat. 

Vestibular Disease

Another important reason for which your cat is walking in circles around you is vestibular disease. This disease commonly affects older cats and attacks the vestibular system within a cat’s inner ear. Usually, the inner ear helps to maintain balance and coordination in every species.

When this area becomes inflamed, your car will walk around in circles, incapable of walking a straight line, and drops to one side. This time your cat may exhibit certain abnormal things that an average cat will not do. The reasons for developing this condition may vary in cats.

Some breeds like Burmese and Siamese cats are genetically predisposed to have this condition. While left untreated, this condition may lead to deafness in your cat.

Ear Infections

Infection in the outer ear can result in circling in your cat. These infections are usually caused by several bacteria, ear mites, etc. Symptoms of ear infections include redness, continuous scratching, itchiness, swelling, pus or blood discharge from the ear, etc.

This ultimately affects the sense of balance of your cat. While left untreated, this infection can spread to the inner ear and produce severe conditions, known as otitis interna. Symptoms of otitis interna may include eye dryness, drooling of saliva from the mouth, incoordination, vomiting, uneven pupil size, etc.

These bacteria can cause permanent damage, which may lead to deafness in your cat. Immediate consultation with your veterinarian is necessary after seeing these problems. 


Hypertension causes the excess flow of blood to the brain of your cat and results in confusion to exhibit circling while walking. A cat with hypertension usually walks in a circle due to a lack of coordination in its posture.

They become dull and clumsy to exhibit their normal function. This condition is closely associated with renal failure and affects mainly in senior cats.

Both conditions can bring irreversible damage to your cat. The incidence of hypertension in cats is very high, so you need to take your cat to the veterinarian for a check-up twice a year.

Head Injury

Head injury or trauma is another crucial reason for your cat walking in a circle.

A head injury usually occurs when your cat experiences a sudden blow of its head back and forth because of a road accident, falls from height, collision with some hard inanimate objects like walls, or some forceful blow during fighting with other animals.

Like humans, cats undergo concussion because of head trauma, leading to severe pain or disorientation. After this happens, your cat may walk around in circles and fall apart on one side, eventually.

Most cats experience unable to stand up, and they can’t communicate properly. Veterinarians recommend performing X-rays to see any damage in their heads following an injury.  

Cognitive dysfunction

This condition is usually made your cat circle around you. Cognitive problems are most commonly seen in older cats over 15 years old. Like older humans, cognitive problems or cat senility cause a near-permanent state of confusion, and their responses become slow.

They usually get disoriented and are reluctant to move from one place to another. You can easily find him lying over the litter tray. Simply, it is hard for them to remember everything because of their older age. This brings up a lot of confusion in their brain, and they mostly circle you to get the direction.

Expressing Dominance

Circling is one of the common phenomena to express the dominancy of a cat. Cats tend to express dominance over its owner, and they think they are equal to humans.

Because of this bossy attitude, they frequently express dominant behavior to the people near them. The dominant cat likes to walk in front of its owner to look like the people follow the cat. Sometimes, they circle to stop you from going from one place to another and let you know that they are in a good mood to play.

Is It Normal For Cats To Walk In Circles

For a cat, walking in circles sometimes normal and sometimes abnormal depends on the underlying condition. As a responsible cat owner, you need to find the actual cause behind it.

Cats walk in circles for several reasons, such as expressing their interest in you, diseases like vestibular infection, ear infections, hypertension, hypoglycemia, cognitive problems, etc.

If your cat exhibits circling with any symptoms of the above illnesses, you can easily consider this abnormal. Usually, a cat will look normal for normal behavior and happy to show their interest in you. 

What Does It Mean If A Cat Walks In Circles

A cat walking in circles around you means a lot of things. Expressing greetings is typically characterized by circling you with a soft meowing. Sometimes, you can see some aggression with circling, which tends to believe that your cat wants to dominant over you.

Besides this, if you see a cat walking in circles with some additional symptoms of injury or infection, you can take it to the nearest veterinarian immediately. 

Why Is My Senior Cat Walking In Circles

Senior cats are affected mainly by vestibular disease and exhibit other unusual physical symptoms like walking in circles around people. This condition mainly affects the vestibule of the inner ear and develops incoordination, falling into one side, involuntary movement of the eye, nausea, etc.

These signs and symptoms usually appear within an hour. Senior dogs are also susceptible to many bacterial infections that cause inflammation and swelling in the outer ear.

This discharges pus and blood from the ear because of over-scratching. Cats with this condition also show discomfort and pain, which requires immediate veterinary assistance.

Why Is My Cat Walking In Circles And Meowing

There are a bunch of reasons for which your cat walks in a circle and meows continuously. Apart from the disorders and illnesses, when your cat likes to spend some time with you, he can walk around you in a circle and meow.

When you see you can do this and, your cat looks normal, you can assume that he likes you and wants to grab your attention towards him. Cats are very much playful and like to spend more time with their owner.

They usually use vocalizations like meowing, yowling, hissing, and growling to communicate with themselves and the owners.

Why Do Cats Walk In Circles Before They Lay Down

Your cat may walk in a circle before they lay down because of their comfort and instinct. Cats have a natural tendency of preying, and to get the most advantageous manner; they circle themselves for a while before lying down.

This helps them to get observe the surroundings and get comfortable about their territory. This also helps them to see any unwanted visitors before they sleep hour. 

Why Is My Cat Walking In Circles Around Me

Your cats usually walk in circles around you to get your attention. This behavior is considered as a standard feline greeting which is followed by rolling into the floor. Also, there are some medical issues for which your cat walks in circles around you.

As a responsible pet owner, you need to look after this and be familiar with your cat’s normal and abnormal posture. In normal conditions, you can want your attention by circling you to play with them.

Sometimes, they want some treat like food, so they continuously meowing and walking around you to know its desire. 

What Does It Mean When A Cat Circles You And Rubs Its Body Against You

Usually, a cat rubs its body against you and circles you to express its love to you. Like its close wild relatives, cats mark their territory by their scent. So, they consider you as their property. For this reason, they rub their body against you to transfer their scent and claim your ownership.

This makes you one of their belongings. Seems funny? Right? But this is true. Many feline behavior experts agree that this phenomenon is widespread in domestic cats to express their love towards the owner. So, from now on, every time your cat does this, you can give it a treat for showing love and affection.

Things To Consider

Finally, by reading all of this, we hope you get the answer to your question, “Why Is My Cat Walking In Circles?”.

Now, you can easily shortlist some potential reasons for which your cat performs this type of action. Analyzing a cat’s behavior is most important for any cat owner to detect any abnormalities. Before going to any conclusions, observe your cats first and remind your mind to see any problems.

You need to learn the sound your cat makes when it is happy and when angry. Sometimes, when your cat didn’t want you to move, they circle you to stop and start to show some aggressive behavior. This time, you need to calm your cat and see if any threats are there which might threaten your cat. 

As a responsible cat lover, you need to remind that certain diseases like vestibular problems, ear infections, hypertension, hypoglycemia, head trauma, brain tumor, or any other injury are dangerous for your dog. While left untreated, this can be life-threatening and lead to death.

Immediate veterinary assistance is required anytime when you observe this situation. That’s why it’s essential to learn about some abnormalities that make your cat walk in a circle around you. 

From now on, whenever some of your friend or relatives ask about you and share their concern about why their cat circles around them and why they rub against their body, you have the floor to share your thoughts. For any information, always consult with your veterinarians.

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