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Monday, February 26, 2024

Why do cats stick their butts in your face?

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When your cat wants you up close and personal in his, uh, personal space, he may be trying to convey one of several things.

Butt-in-the-face activity may appear strange to us humans, but your cat is communicating with you through these actions, much as head butting and rubbing against you.

Where is this ‘butt-on-the-face’ coming from?

Cats frequently rub their heads, bodies, and tails against one another in order to be sociable. That behavior not only feels wonderful to them, it also trades scents from the multiple scent glands placed on the sides of a cat’s head, the corners of its lips, under its chin, on its ears, and — most crucially — on its tail, specially at the base and along its length.

Two cats rub themselves against each other. (Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

It is a display of affection, says Cathy Gait in the article “Nothing ‘Butt’ the Truth About Your Cat’s Butt in Your Face.” She says this habit is profoundly entrenched in innate tendencies. Mother cats demonstrate their care for their kittens by licking them all over their bodies, even their buttocks.

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They want some affection from you.

Some cats will shove their butt in your face if they want to be touched. While a light pat on the back might suffice, a bum in the face is a sure-fire method to get into your field of sight and receive some additional attention.

So, if your cat sticks his rear in your face, he could simply be looking for some love. Lovely, isn’t it?

Your cat is being courteous.

If your cat greets other cats with a nice greeting, a friendly hello would be incomplete without a good sniff of the bum.

Gait says presenting the hindquarters is customary decorum in the cat world. Cats who are affectionate with one another will frequently approach with their tails lifted. They will sniff nose to nose, and then one cat will pivot to expose the backside for a whiff. The smell glands and related pheromones present in a cat’s rear end provide information to their feline friend about who they are and where they have been.

If your cat is always shoving his butt in your face, it just shows you have raised a very well-mannered furry member of your family!

A cat sniffs the butt of another cat. (Photo from iStock royalty-free images.)

Your cat trusts you completely.

When cats are in a safe environment with people they trust, they prefer to close their eyes and even turn their backs on you—their ultimate expression of confidence. In the wild, cats are always on guard, scanning their territory for prospective prey or threats. Gait says a cat’s rear end is a vulnerable place, and because she cannot see what you are doing or respond swiftly to defend herself, it is her way of indicating she trusts she will not need to defend herself from you.

It is an act of marking their territory or their property.

When cats rub up against you, they are frequently marking you as their territory or property in a common cat habit known as allorubbing. According to Gait, while they are not marking you with any form of liquid, like you may have seen your dog do, they are producing pheromones to let other cats know that you belong to them.

Your cat might not be feeling well.

The “butt-on-the-face”  may also be  your cat’s way of telling you how she is doing.

Your cat might be acting this way due to a medical condition. She might be feeling pain or a certain irritation due to an allergy of some sort. If this is the case, a visit to your veterinarian may be necessary.

How must the human companion react to this ‘butt-to-the-face’ gesture?

Building a strong and trusting relationship with your intriguing feline needs a dedication to knowing their body language. If your cat tries to communicate in an unappealing fashion, such as a butt to the face, pushing him away or otherwise punishing him may frighten or confuse him. Instead, consider gently adjusting him and lavishing him with the affection he/she so well deserves.

About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.

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