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Will a Cat Fake a Limp for Sympathy? Behaviour Explained

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

sick cat with feline disease

Will a Cat Fake a Limp for Sympathy? Behaviour Explained

Cats are typically independent, yet they enjoy the attention of their human family members. Have you ever wondered whether a cat would fake a limp or illness just to get sympathy and attention? Would your cat actually try to trick you into feeling sorry for them? It seems that the answer is yes! Some cats might try to fake a limp or pretend to be ill for the sole reason of getting attention from their human companions. Let’s dig deeper and learn more about this phenomenon.


Video Evidence of a Cat Faking a Limp for Sympathy

Until a viral TikTok video was uncovered, stories of cats faking a limp to get sympathy were thought of as nothing more than rumors and anecdotes. Now, you can be one of the 10 million people who have seen a cat caught in the act of trying to pull a quick one on their human companion.

In the video, you can see a cute ginger cat named Edward sitting on the counter with one paw up. The cat then starts moving around without using the paw, as if they are injured. However, the kitty seems to forget which paw is supposed to be injured and starts limping with the other paw. It quickly becomes obvious that the cat is not injured at all and is just trying to get extra attention and love from their human companion. The cat’s owner makes it clear in the comments under the video that the feline is completely healthy and safe; they just wanted attention after a day of being without it.

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A Study Offers Insight

A study was done to determine whether cats would fake an illness to get attention or cope with stress. It turns out that when cats were faced with changes to their environment or caretakers, some would display signs of illness, such as vomiting, in response. The study doesn’t look at faking injuries like a limp, but it does offer insight into the fact that cats can and will exhibit signs of stress when they are not comfortable with their environment. So, it is not a stretch to consider that a cat would fake a limp just to get attention or to deal with the stress of their changing environment.

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How to Determine Whether Your Cat Is Really Hurt/Ill or Just Faking

If your cat suddenly starts limping when they seemed fine the last time that you saw them, there is a chance that they are faking it. However, you’ll have to determine whether that is truly the case, so you can get them medical help otherwise. Gently holding your cat’s paw and rubbing it should give you an indication of whether any pain is present. If your cat is hurt, they will likely pull their paw away and might even yelp or cry when you touch their paw.

If your kitty does not pull their paw away and doesn’t seem to be bothered by your touch, they are probably not hurt, and you will likely see them use the paw again once they get all the attention that they were looking for. If you are not confident that your cat is okay, though, you can always give your veterinarian a call for expert advice and guidance.

black cat lying on bed
Image By: cottonbro, Pexels

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In Conclusion

If your cat decides to fake a limp to get attention, don’t take the deceit personally. They are not trying to anger or upset you. They should not be reprimanded for the behavior. Instead, simply give your cat the attention that they want, and your cat is sure to go back to their normal behavior sooner or later.

Featured ImageCredit: Kittima05, Shutterstock

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