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Home > Cats > Why Do Cats Raise Their Butts When Scratched? 4 Likely Reasons

Why Do Cats Raise Their Butts When Scratched? 4 Likely Reasons

a hand scratching cat's butt

If you spend a lot of time with your cat, you probably notice very early on that every time you scratch their butt, they raise it in the air. This strange behavior has baffled many cat owners, and while the most obvious is that these butt scratches feel very good to them, other interesting answers exist too.

Read the article below to learn more about why cats raise their butts when you scratch them.


The 4 Likely Reasons Why Cats Raise Their Butts When Scratched

1. It Feels Good for Them

The most likely and common reason your cat may raise its butt when it scratches is because it feels good for them! You’ll know your cat is enjoying this petting session if it stands still and lets you scratch that area. For creatures that are rarely still and very controlling of how you approach them, standing still will be a very clear sign.

2. Your Cat Might Be in Heat

If you have an unspayed female cat, you are likely to notice it raising its butt when touched because this zone is sensitive to them during heat. If your cat is unspayed, keeping her inside the house during this time would be best to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Spaying your kitten has many health benefits 1.

3. Communication

Most pets, including cats, communicate by sniffing each other’s rear end, which allows them to learn their sex, health, and other information. There is a good chance that when a cat raises its butt towards you when you scratch it, it is to allow for communication.

rear back of exotic shorthair cat in heat
Image Credit: iwciagr, Shutterstock

4. Instincts

Kittens develop a certain instinct for helping their mothers groom them by raising their butts. This behavior stays with them even during their adult years and can be seen when you give your cuddly pet butt scratches. When you gently pet your cat, it might remind them of the way their mother would groom them, causing this instinct to raise their butts to arise.


When Butt Scratches Become Painful for Your Cat

Sometimes, when you try to scratch your cat’s butt, you might notice that it hurts them or feels uncomfortable. On the other hand, your cat might ask for butt scratches too frequently and even try to scratch its rear on other surfaces. If butt scratches seem painful to your cat, they might have the following health problems:

  • Impacted anal glands
  • Skin allergies
  • Kidney disease
  • Kidney stones
  • Spinal problems
  • Fleas

Another possible trigger for causing pain to your cats when scratching their butt is stress and anxiety. Cats that have gone through a recent change of environment or experience separation anxiety too often might shed more of their coat than usual. These cats will ask for more scratches on their butt and will tend to exhibit lethargy or even hide from you.

If painful scratches on the base of your cat’s tail are paired with lack of appetite, lethargy, or other symptoms, you should take your cat to the vet for a check-up.



Once you read all the possible reasons why your cat might raise their butt when you scratch it, you will have a much better perspective of this strange yet adorable behavior. Cats might be mysterious creatures, but the most common reason behind this is their love for cuddles and being petted.

Featured Image Credit: Christin Hume, Unsplash

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