Cats may like their own personal space when it suits them, but they certainly don’t seem to care about yours! If they want to get up close and personal—with their front or back end—they’re going to do so. If you’ve sat with your cat’s butt in your face one too many times and are starting to wonder if something is wrong with them, we’re here to put your mind at ease.
Although highly offensive for people to do, it is actually a good sign when done by your cat. It can mean that they’re comfortable around you, love you, or want your attention. Here are six possibilities for why your cat is putting their butt in your face.
The 5 Reasons Your Cat Puts Their Butt in Your Face
1. They’re Comfortable Around You
If your cat is putting their butt in your face, it’s a clear indication that they’re comfortable with you. As strange as their behavior may look, it says a lot. Cats in the wild don’t turn their backs on other wild animals because it makes them vulnerable to attack. However, if your cat has their back—and butt—turned towards you, it means that they feel safe around you and don’t see you as a threat.
Don’t feel despondent if another cat of yours doesn’t put their butt in your face, as there are many ways that cats try to show you that they’re comfortable around you. Exposing their tummies to you, closing their eyes, or even sleeping on your lap are all things cats do when they feel safe and relaxed.
2. They See You as a Friend
When cats first meet each other, they will assess each other’s body language and give each other a good whiff around their head and neck. They may meow or hiss at each other, but once they’ve established their relationship and no longer see each other as a threat, they’ll sniff each other’s butts.
If your cat turns their butt to your face, feel honored because they see you as a friend. A polite and friendly greeting from your cat is one where they’ll raise their tail and put their butt in your face. Putting their butt in your face is the same as a big hug between cats. If you’re fortunate enough to get this treatment daily, know you’ve got a good-mannered kitty as a friend.
3. They Are Communicating with You
Cats have anal glands in their butts, which emit an odor that tells other cats a lot about them, such as whether they’ve met before, their age and gender, whether they would make a good mate, and whether they’re feeling unwell. Some cats will freely share their information, while others prefer to limit what they share by sitting down and stopping their odor from telling all.
A butt in your face is your cat’s way of trying to communicate with you by sharing their information.
4. They Want You to Scratch Their Back
If you’ve got a highly affectionate cat, you’re probably not new to having their butt in your face. Cats that love to be petted or have their backs scratched will shove their butt in your face to get your hands on them. They may even accompany this behavior with a few meows. These smart creatures know how to get your attention, and once they see it work, they’re going to do it over and over again.
If you don’t want their butt in your face for longer than it needs to be, get scratching because that’s what they’re likely waiting for!
5. They Are Claiming You
Cats establish dominance and submission through butt sniffing, with the more dominant cat making the first move and the more submissive cat waiting their turn. They also mark their territory with the odor that is excreted from their anal glands and may rub their butt on objects around their environment to let other cats know what belongs to them.
Your cat will likely mark you as their territory by rubbing their scent from around their head and cheeks onto you. A cat may stick their butt in your face to show you that they have claimed you as their own.
6. It Was Done Accidentally
If you’ve ever turned around and bumped into someone else, then you know that accidents happen all the time and in any environment. The same is true with cats. Sometimes a cat sticking their butt in your face may mean nothing at all and only happens because they’re trying to turn around on your lap to get more comfortable.
If you love it when your cat sleeps on you, having their butt in your face every now and then is just a part of it.
How Should I Respond?
If your cat puts their butt in your face, it is typically a good sign as they’re telling you that they love you, want affection, or are comfortable around you. These are attributes that you should encourage to enhance your bond with your cat. Instead of pushing your cat away when they expose their butt to you, speak kindly to them and scratch their back, or gently reposition them.
With so many possibilities for this behavior, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what your cat is trying to tell you. However, if you watch their body language, too, you can get a pretty clear understanding. For example, if your cat sticks their butt in your face, gives short, quiet meows, and is purring, they are likely looking for some affection, whereas if you have just arrived home and your cat runs up to you, meows and sticks their butt towards you, they are likely giving you a warm and friendly greeting.
There are several possibilities as to why your cat puts their butt in your face, and most of them are positive. It is usually their way of telling you that they are comfortable with you, see you as a friend, are trying to communicate with you, want back scratches, or are claiming you. Encourage their behavior by responding kindly to them or gently reposition them to move their butt away from your face.
Feature Image Credit: FotoMirta, Shutterstock