What Does It Mean When Cats Rub Against You?

If youre a cat owner, youve likely wondered why cats rub against one person but not another. Your fluffy companion might greet you at the door and rub against your legs, but be aloof when your partner or friend enters through the same door.

Our feline roommates rely heavily on scent for communication, and this type of physical contact stimulates their pheromone glands. Pheromones create unique scents produced by individual cats which they use for marking territory and correspondence.

If your cat decides to rub these areas against your body, it means that they are marking you as familiar to them which is a very good sign. The scent exchange is a way to indicate that your cat is marking an object or a person as part of the unit. This fuels their fire and shows them that we are taking part in the scent exchange ceremony.

They think that we are marking them back and telling them that we are appreciating our position within the family bond that they have created which is true. Next time when your cat is rubbing up against you, pay close attention to their body language. And our household furballs still share some traits with their wild ancestors like territorial marking.

Cats may share spaces in close proximity to one another, and keeping the pheromonal territory up-to-date is a full-time job. They can tell the readiness for mating, aggression, possessiveness, and both the mental and physical health of the other cat. b. Headbutt If your feline friend pressed their head up against yours, in any manner, theyre showing you the ultimate sign of affection or closeness.

They have a sympathetic olfactory sense and they tend to rely heavily on it in order to survive. We tend to oversimplify the feline body language, immediately pinning it as a sign of affection that should be reciprocated. Try to reposition yourself away from an automatic anthropogenic response to your cats behavior, and rather aim to fully understand their intentions.

This will help you to forge a stronger bond with your feline friends and aid in better communication in the future. Enjoy all the rubbing and petting, but remember to be on the lookout for the small changes in body language that may indicate that they need more than just attention.

How do you know if a cat likes you?

One of the most convincing signs your cat loves you is her being happy to snooze on your lap. As a natural hunter, your cat doesn’t like to feel vulnerable – and is especially wary of feeling this way while asleep. By sleeping on you, she’s exposing herself at her most defenceless, and showing her trust for you.

What does it mean when a cat rubs against your leg?

According to PetPlace.com, that habit is your cat’s way of claiming you as his own. Pheromones exist in the glands on his face, and he can transmit them to humans, objects and other cats to mark his territory, similar to how a dog sometimes claims property with his urine.

What does a cat rubbing on you mean?

When a cat rubs or pushes its head against you, also known as head butting or bunting, the cat is also marking you with his scent in a show of affiliation, Borns-Weil says. Affiliative behaviors serve to maintain a connection within a group of individuals. … Cats also greet other cats they know with a head rub or bunt.

How can you tell if a cat has imprinted on you?

When cats don’t feel threatened by other cats, they will show affection by rubbing on them, sleeping near them, and being in their presence. If your cat replicates those behaviors with you, Delgado says it has officially imprinted on you. They rub against you.

One of the benefits of working at home as a freelance writer is spending more time with my cats but countless times, they have messed up my typing and even accidentally shut off my computer by rubbing their faces and butting their heads on my hands. So, what gives? Why do cats rub against you?

Trying to understand a cats behavior can be downright maddening. Oftentimes, feline actions are dictated by stress and fear but fortunately, one cat behavior in particular usually comes from a good, friendly place. When your cat rubs up against your legs or pushes his head against you, its a very positive sign.

Cats are very olfactory creatures that rely heavily on their sense of smell to give them information about their environment, says Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a resident in Animal Behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Mass. When meeting someone for the first time, a friendly cat may rub up against the visitor in greeting and as a way to get information about the new person, like where they come from and if they have animals of their own, says Borns-Weil.

Cats. They have so many behaviors that are confounding/hilarious/quirky/sweet that one has to wonder what goes on in those busy little feline brains? One of these behaviors that is strange to understand is the phenomenon of cats constantly rubbing against you. Whether its the ankle figure 8 right after youve just rollered your pants or the gonna smoosh my face on yours while youre sleeping sort, why is it that cats rub against you?

People carry all kinds of smells on them, as any dog owner can attest, and this greeting allows a cat to determine whether this person is acceptable, as well as where they may have come from and what animals they may have, or have been around. Dr. Jill E. Sackman, senior medical director for BluePearl Veterinary Partners Michigan Region tells PetMD , head rubbing is a behavior cats learn as kittens with their mother.

1. Family Scent Exchange

Keeping the family unified is a job that our cats take very personally. The scent exchange is a way to indicate that your cat is marking an object or a person as part of the unit.When a cat rubs on us, our first reaction is to pet the furry friend back. This fuels their fire and shows them that we are taking part in the “scent exchange ceremony”.They think that we are marking them back and telling them that we are appreciating our position within the family bond that they have created – which is true.

2. Marking Inanimate Objects

You may have seen your cat rubbing itself on a new pair of shoes or a new house plant before. They will do this to mark that object as a recognized part of their territory.Putting their unique pheromonal scent on strange objects is their way of including said object into their space of the household. It also warns other cats that this space is taken and protected.⇒ Thinking about getting your favourite feline a new collar? Check out my posts on

3. Your Cat Is Yelling At You

Teaching your cat not to scratch or bite is an important chapter of the cat parenting manual they all so thoughtfully come with – ha ha. But, this might be stripping away their ability to communicate frustration or aggression.Luckily, cats have learned how to show those feelings in the best and most sensitive way available to them. If your feline friend is erratically rubbing up against you and seems to be more forceful than normal, they might be actually yelling at you.Cats tend to use this manner of communication to indicate to their cat parents that they are feeling angry, misunderstood, or even sad.Next time when your cat is rubbing up against you, pay close attention to their body language. You might be surprised.

4. This is My Space

Domesticated felines come from a long lineage of feral cats. They have only become domestic pets about 10 000 years ago. And our household furballs still share some traits with their wild ancestors – like territorial marking.Cats may share spaces in close proximity to one another, and keeping the pheromonal territory up-to-date is a full-time job. They use their unique scent to set boundaries for one another, whether it be on a human or on an area or object.⇒ Getting a new kitty? Check out my guide toTo other feline neighbors, these scents reveal a lot, like Kitty Twitter. They can tell the readiness for mating, aggression, possessiveness, and both the mental and physical health of the other cat.This will help them navigate their way around the area and also the hierarchy of the feline community.

5. Showin’ Some Lovin’

Not everything in the feline queendom is strategic, however. Sometimes our cats just need to show their affection and gratitude towards us. But different kinds of physical touch can mean different things to the feline.

a. Tail Wraps Around Your Leg

If a cat is rubbing up against your leg and suddenly their tail coils around, you are experiencing the closest we will ever come to a hug. This is a very common way for the cat to show their affection.It’s the human equivalent of throwing your arms around a friend.⇒ An entertained cat is a happy cat. Check out my posts on

b. Headbutt

If your feline friend pressed their head up against yours, in any manner, they’re showing you the ultimate sign of affection or closeness. Headbutting is the human equivalent of yelling “I love you” to someone’s face.Cats may only do this with a select posse of humans, so feel honored if you have become the chosen one.

c. You Have Something That I Want

If your furry roommate rubs up against you, they may also be looking for affection or cuddles. But, your cat has very interesting ways of showing their needs, including rubbing up against a door (Let me out), or rubbing up against the kitchen cabinets (Gimme a snack, man).However, if a strange cat rubs against you, they might only be saying hello. Don’t try to over-pet or pick up the cat. He is simply welcoming you into their space.⇒ Keen to get your cat out and about? Check out my posts on

Looking for Information

Cats are very olfactory creatures that rely heavily on their sense of smell to give them information about their environment, says Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a resident in Animal Behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton, Mass.When a cat rubs or pushes its head against you, also known as head butting or bunting, the cat is also marking you with his scent in a show of affiliation, Borns-Weil says. Affiliative behaviors serve to maintain a connection within a group of individuals. Head rubbing is a cat’s way of marking its people and its environment and grouping them together with the same scent.When meeting someone for the first time, a friendly cat may rub up against the visitor in greeting and as a way to get information about the new person, like where they come from and if they have animals of their own, says Borns-Weil. Whether or not this type of behavior serves as an invitation for affection varies from cat to cat, however.“Some cats don’t want to be petted but want information from you,” Borns-Weil says. In other words, don’t assume head rubbing from a strange cat is an invitation to be pet.Cats also greet other cats they know with a head rub or bunt. Feral cats, who tend to live in groups, use this behavior to show their affiliation with the group and single out their “preferred associates,” Borns-Weil says. When cats live together and all rub on each other, a communal scent is spread throughout the group.

Reasons Cats Rub on…Everything

Cats rely heavily on their sense of smell to give them information about their environment,” Dr. Stephanie Borns-Weil, a resident in Animal Behavior at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, tells PetMD. Rubbing is a great way to both smell things and leave their scent behind. Whether it’s you or an inanimate object, rubbing on it allows a kitty to learn something about the person or environment, as well as leave its “mark” behind.

Marking

A cat rubbing itself on you, even your face, is a form of marking, and includes everything from people to door frames, table legs, cabinets–pretty much anything. Cats have scent glands in their cheeks, chins, foreheads and at the base of their tails so when they rub these parts on things, or people, it leaves their special scent behind. We can’t smell this, but other cats can. This behavior isn’t territorial, like spraying, but more of a friendly action. The scents they leave behind contain pheromones which are the same type found in synthetic pheromone blends many experts recommend for anxious kitties. Because these pheromones don’t stay fresh forever, cats will often mark the same spots over and over again.

Head Butting or “Bunting”

When a cat rubs or pushes its head against you, also known as head butting or bunting, the cat is also marking you with his scent in a show of affiliation,” Borns-Weil further explains. “Affiliative behaviors serve to maintain a connection within a group of individuals. Head rubbing is a cat’s way of marking its people and its environment and grouping them together with the same scent.” Head butting also shows trust, Amy Shojai, a certified animal behavior consultant, explains to Catster. “It also places the cat’s face and eyes in vulnerable positions. So, it’s not only expressing friendliness, but also trust.”

Information Gathering

Some confident cats may rub against people they don’t know as a way to find out more about them. People carry all kinds of smells on them, as any dog owner can attest, and this greeting allows a cat to determine whether this person is acceptable, as well as where they may have come from and what animals they may have, or have been around. Though this may seem like–any, indeed, may be–a friendly behavior, experts such as Borns-Weil note “some cats don’t want to be petted but want information from you.” In other words, just because an unfamiliar kitty is rubbing on you, doesn’t mean it wants you to rub on it. Use caution, as always, when getting to know a new friend.

Affection

Another reason cats rub is simply to show affection. Dr. Jill E. Sackman, senior medical director for BluePearl Veterinary Partners’ Michigan Region tells PetMD, “head rubbing is a behavior cats learn as kittens with their mother. It’s an affectionate gesture that can also be used as a form of greeting.”

Greeting

For kitties who live in multiple cat households, rubbing (and head butting) are extensions of the behaviors they learned as kittens from their mothers. You might notice when kitties awake from nap time, or when treats are being served, they may engage in a round of head butts with their companions–just saying hello (again) and confirming all is well with everyone. Your kitty may also run toward the door when they hear you coming home–that round of ankle-swishes you get is likely a big “hello”.