Health & Care > Pet training and behavior > Why Do Cats Want To Rub Up Against You All The Time?

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02/17/2010 15:41:35 PM by Judy-at-Shady-Grove   Send Message to Judy-at-Shady-Grove  9234  views, category: Pet training and behavior view all blogs

I have a 4-month old kitten my son named Leroy.  He's a very affectionate kitty and does love to wind his body in and around your legs, or rub up against you wherever you are.  He's a gray/black/white tabby and was a birthday present for my son in December.  We adopted him from the local ASPCA and he immediately fit right into the family and household life.


I have had cats before and they all like to rub and wind their bodies around you, objects, chair legs, you name it.  This is just normal cat behavior, but have you ever wondered why they do this?  Are they sending a message?  Does it feel good? What's up with all this rubbing up against things?

Smell is an extremely important sense in cats, in some cases more than sight. Cats have scent glands on multiple places on their body including their faces and feet. On their face, the glands are located around the eyes, below the ears, and on the chin. By rubbing their face on various objects, such as legs and furniture, they are leaving their scent. Other cats passing the object will often stop and sniff, maybe even rubbing their faces on the object to leave their scent as well.


Scent marks contain molecules called pheromones. Different glands secrete different pheromones which affect a number of behaviors, including reproduction and establishing territory. Pheromones are chemical messages that affect cat behaviour.


By engaging in different types of rubbing, cats mark their territory and establish group scents, which are an important factor in maintaining group identity in multi-cat households. When cats rub up against one another, the activity is called allorubbing.


The pheromones that come from the glands on the face generally have a calming effect on cats.  If you think about it, whan a cat is rubbing his face up and around you or an object he does seem to be quite content and happy.  It must feel good too, as it would be like a mini-massage or the like to a cat -  Keep an eye on your cat and see if they look happy and content when they do this - I will bet that they do!

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