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Why Do Cats Put Their Butt in Your Face?

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If you are a cat owner, you are undoubtedly very familiar with the backside of your cat. Mainly because they insist on shoving it in your face for some reason. Many of us cat owners wonder what exactly is going through their minds when they offer this odd ritual.

cat laying on the bed

Why do cats put their butt in your face? Cats use body language to communicate. A butt in the face is, oddly enough, a good thing! It can be a greeting, a sign of approval, or a way to show they are not threatened. This sign of trust also allows them to show off their signature scent, which comes from just under their tail.

Cats are known for being more standoffish and somewhat mysterious compared to dogs who communicate very differently.

Cats are deliberate creatures that have a meaning behind everything, and they like to show affection in different ways. 

Why it’s a Good Sign if Your Cat’s Butt is Always in Your Face

cat putting butt in owners face

Cats are weird. Let’s just say it. They are beautifully eccentric, and we can always count on them to keep us guessing. They can be the most loving, affectionate, and cuddly creatures on the planet when they want to be. But they also choose to show their love differently, and you must earn it with them.

They are emotionally more standoffish than dogs, but when they love you or when they connect with a human, it is an unbreakable bond. Signs like putting their butt in your face is just one of the incredibly strange but adoring quirks that cats possess. 

3 Reasons Cat Put Their But In Your Face

Cats are big on body language. They show you love, anger, fear, sadness, elation, and excitement mostly through how they position their body.

Here are some of the different reasons why they might be putting their butt in your face:

1. They Trust You

When cats greet each other, like dogs, they enjoy a sniff around the butt. Granted, cats aren’t always as eager to meet new cat-friends. But when they do encounter another feline pal, they assume the standard position of face to butt. 

This is a way for them to greet each other and get to know one another. Luckily. Your cat isn’t expecting you to sniff their butt back. They just want to show you theirs to acknowledge a greeting and signal a sign of friendship.

Since cats do tend to be “cattier” when it comes to making new friends, this is a huge sign of approval. It shows their openness and willingness to accept you.

2. They Are Showing Off Their Scent

It sounds a bit gross at first, but a cat’s scent is odorless to humans. They expel their scent from a few different glands: 

  • paws pads
  • cheeks
  • lips
  • forehead
  • flanks
  • tail 
  • two little anal glands

When your cat lifts its tail and exposes those glands to you, it is a way for them to say they are marking you. They do the same thing by rubbing up against you with their faces or putting their paws on your face. We’ll dive into more about cat body language in the next section.

This primal act of marking their scent or exposing it to you is another way they are showing they understand the bond between the two of you. 

In their eyes, they are showing you their scent and inviting you to do the same or acknowledge that they know and accept the scent from them. Don’t worry–they won’t be offended if you don’t share your scent back.

3. Non-Threatening Behavior

In the animal world of predators and prey, there is an instinct that lives even among house pets. They naturally know when they should fear another animal or when they can be at ease and show they are not threatened, and that the other animal should not feel threatened either.

When a cat exposes their butt to you or another cat, it shows they do not find the situation threatening. They want the other humans or animals to also feel at ease and know that they pose no danger. 

Cats lift their tails and allow other cats to sniff the same way that humans hug one another. When you walk up to someone with open arms, it shows them you are no threat to them, and you want to greet them. A cat showing off their butt works the same way. Like I said, cats are weird.

Body Language in Cats

Learning how cats communicate is like piecing together a puzzle. The more time you spend around them, the more pieces you can realize fit together. 

They show us subtle things in their body language every day. A butt in the face is just the beginning of some of their adorably strange quirks that communicate their needs to us.

Here are a few other body language alerts to be ready for:

Pinned Back Ears

mad cat

This is not nearly as affectionate or friendly as the butt in your face. Instead, this is their way of telling you they are agitated. This can be caused by a loud noise triggering fear or anger or anything that causes them agitation.

When their ears almost go flat on their head, and they pin them backward, they may need some extra loving and a calming voice letting them know everything is okay.

Displaying Their Belly

cat getting its belly rubbed

If you get to see an exposed cat belly – you’re in. You have made it to the inner circle of trust for your cat.

The stomach is a vulnerable area. So, when your cat lies on their back and allows their stomach to be exposed as they nap or rest, it shows great trust.

Keep in mind they are showing you trust but also relaxation. It doesn’t necessarily mean its an invite to give a vigorous belly rub the way you would a dog. Let them do their thing and relax in the comfort of their trusted human parent. 

Their Eyes Say Everything

scared cat with dilated eyes

Look into the pupils of your cat’s eyes at certain times. You’ll notice when they become giant black saucers typically shows fear or agitation over something. 

When the eyes are dilated, they are taking everything in because their senses are heightened, and they feel they need to be alert. Versus when they are narrowed little slivers–this shows they are trying to focus on something specific. 

Frequent blinking communicates trust and affection. As felines, it shows great trust to close their eyes around others. It is another way for them to say there is no threat to them or by them in a situation.

Ready to Pounce

cat ready to pounce

This is as primal as it gets. All cat owners have seen it just before your little furry family member pounces on a toy or that pesky fly that has been tormenting them around the house all day.

When they crouch, flatten their ears, and you see their pupils changing in size, focusing on something you can be sure they have spotted their target and are ready to engage.

When Your Cat Puts Their Butt in Your Face

This is a great sign of trust and affection while doubling as a formal greeting. Cats love to mark their scent around their home and their loved ones. When you see them sitting on different surfaces or rubbing their bodies along things throughout the house, it is their way to say this is their home. 

The same goes for their butt being in your face. They are claiming you as their own. Proving once and for all that we belong to them, not the other way around.

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