Why Do Cats Rub Against Humans? It’s Because they Love You, That’s Why!
Why do cats rub against you?
No matter the time of day, we adore the unexpected feeling of a kitty nuzzling against us. From a human perspective, the act feels as though we’re forging a loving bond with our cat… But what’s our feline friend really thinking? Are they purely enjoying the attention they’re receiving from us? Or are they coaxing us to spoil them with extra treats? Why do cats rub against you, anyway?
Turns out, this type of contact triggers your kitty’s pheromone glands. For those who don’t know what pheromones are, they’re substances produced by animals as a form of chemical communication. A cat’s pheromones glands can be located on their forehead, lips, paws, flanks, and rears.
Traditionally, people associate pheromones with information about an animal’s reproductive status. For cats, pheromones communicate much more, signaling territory, comfort, and familiarity.
When cat rub against couches, tables, and even outdoor objects, the pheromones they activate leave behind a personalized scent. This scent lets other felines know your cat was there.
Additionally, this type of contact calms your cat: by recognizing their own scent, cats experience the feeling of belonging and home. From this logic, it’s understood that when cats weave through our legs, we also pick up their scents, enabling them to feel secure with us, too.
Side note on bunting
If you have more than one cat, you may notice them cordially butting heads or rubbing faces. This act is called bunting, and it also stimulates a cat’s pheromones. Bunting generates a mixture of shared scents that can help your cats determine social rank, in addition to making them feel more trusting and comfortable with each other.
Conclusion: cats rub against you because they love you (duh!)
So, next time your cat rubs against your legs, or nuzzles their face on your cheek, rest assured they’re only nourishing a stronger relationship with you (just as we thought!).