Why Your Cat Runs Ahead Of You

Cats are fascinating creatures. Adopting a cat can be fun for everyone, whether it’s a single inside cat or a new stray that’s showed up.

Cats can run in front of you at the worst times, as if she wants you to follow. However, your cat is not trying to lead you anywhere bad.

Your cat is trying to communicate something to you. A cat will run in front of you to either herd you or dominate you. Some less likely situations include attention-seeking behaviors such as informing you of a medical condition. The cat’s actions afterward will help determine the cause.  

Inter-species communication has made it possible for human beings to co-exist in domesticated environments with some animals.

With that gift also comes the skills to determine what the cat is trying to say. Your cat’s actions directly after running in front of you will determine what they are trying to accomplish.

Our own cats often run in front of us when we’re calling them in for the night, or when we’re heading to the kitchen and know it’s around their feeding time.

We’ve discussed and explained why a cat will run ahead of you in more detail below.

Is Your Cat Trying To Herd You?

Cats will herd humans for different reasons, but the most common is food.

Consider following your cat to figure out what it is that they want to show you.  The cat will turn around and try to get your attention to follow them calmly.

If you are being herded into the kitchen, it’s probably mealtime.

Cats will also herd you to show you something they dislike or like.

A cat’s herding behavior is an attention-getting communication from your cat. They may walk you over to an indoor plant that is bothersome to them or a window they want open or closed.

Cats are natural hunters, and when a cat is an inside cat, they need other things to hunt. Automatic cat toys such as a laser or a pull-string mouse chaser can provide the necessary stimulation your cat needs to pursue.

You can curb this behavior by interrupting their indoor hunting actions, such as getting their attention when you see them stalking down the hallway towards something.

Zig zagging in front of you could be a dominating behavior as the cat attempts to show you what is off-limits. Zig zagging could also be a sign to turn around or come quickly. The cat zig zags in front of you and then runs in the opposite direction; she wants you to turn around as an example.

Your Cat Is Displaying Their Perceived Dominance Over You

A cat that lives alone inside with no other cats to socialize with may attempt to display their dominance over its owner, as there’s no other herd member to dominate over.

Although the cat is no match for a human being, it could be a sign of kitty cabin fever.  There is no one else to challenge for dominance.

If your cat attempts to dominate you and your responses are perceived as aggressive or defiant to your feline; They may start urinating on your furniture. Actions such as continuing to walk forward or scolding the kitty will lead to further aggressive behavior.

Female cats (Queens) are the dominant sex in the cat ecosystem. However, you cannot discount Tom’s (Males) either.

Cats are highly independent and are not pack animals. They do follow an order of dominance from Alpha to Omega depending on their socialization as a kitten. Cat’s form communities with each other and have a social system similar to ours.

Steps to take to keep up with a cat’s everlasting dominating behavior include:

  1. Pick up the cat using the Cat Grip
  2. Pick your battles, or the cat will feel unwelcomed
  3. Stare down your cat to assert your dominance
  4. Explain things to your cat (I am not too fond of that, etc.)
  5. Mark your territory with your perfume or fabric spray consistently
  6. Be Polite to your cat (yelling and being overly aggressive only scares the cat)
  7. Learn how to read your cat’s social cues
  8. Pet
  9. Raise the cat from a kitten

Your Cat is Injured Or Has A Serious Medical Condition

Kidney Disease is the number one silent killer of cats.

Most cat owners do not notice any signs until the cat’s kidneys are unsaveable. Outside cats are highly susceptible to getting kidney disease because of the extra elements they are exposed to every time they go outside.

Although running in front of you may not be a direct result of kidney failure, it may be your cat saying, “pay attention to me; I need help!” Especially if the behavior is coupled with frequent or infrequent urination, vomiting, reduced appetite, or lethargy.

Romana Stratton tells her story of how her cat leads her to the litter box to show her that he could not urinate. Her cat had a blockage in his bladder that she could cure before any significant damage to her fur baby could occur.

Food high in proteins and phosphorus can cause kidney issues with cats. She may be trying to tell you something that is causing her pain by leading you to it. Since you are the alpha provider of resources in her community, she will try and alarm you of issues.

Congestive heart failure is another disease to watch out for in cats. If your cat is walking lethargically in front of you, seek medical attention for your cat immediately. The cat is most definitely telling you it needs medical attention.

Your Cat May Have Un-Addressed Needs

Cats run underneath their mothers to be involved in whatever mom is doing. Your cat may want a belly rub or want to be a part of where you are going.

They may also be trying to tell you that it is time for something or want to go with you where you are headed. They want attention and to be included in your activity.

This behavior is displayed when following you around, trying to keep pace with you.  The cat is trying to travel with you when kittens run underneath their mothers and rub against their chins to get them to nurse. Your cat may be trying to lead you into a snuggle session for a few minutes.

Your cat is trying to save you from perceived danger in a specific area.

Cats can hear a noise outside or smell something that we cannot smell. They will dart out in front of you to sit down in front of you. This action is a sign that your cat needs to protect you from the perceived danger ahead, which may be an opossum on a power line outside or an actual emergency.  

Some other everyday un-addressed needs that the cat may trip you over:

  1. Wants to play
  2. They want to go outside
  3. They want your attention
  4. They want to show you something
  5. Giving you a gift and leading you to it
  6. Snitching on a child or another cat (no joke; this happens)
  7. The cat is mad at you and displaying dominance
  8. Marking you as theirs by rubbing on you


After the behavior is where the answer to why the cat runs in front of you.

The act of running in front of you is an attention-seeking type of behavior.

Whether your cat is trying to tell you that he is hungry or trying to stop you from entering the den, it is communication from your cat to you. They are not trying to plot your early demise; they may simply need help.