Petting your cat is all head scratches and cuddles until their butt ends up in your face. Don’t worry cat parents, we’ve all been there. You’re reveling in your cat’s shifting spotlight and all of a sudden, BAM! You’re confronted with an unobstructed and up-close view of your cat’s backside. It’s not the most pleasant part of your day, and yet your cat seems perfectly pleased with the revealing situation. So what’s the deal?
You can avert your eyes and hold your breath, but you also know it’s bound to happen again. Every time you get cuddly with your cat, there’s risk of that unwelcome exposure. But while you’d be more than happy to never see your cat’s butt in that much detail again, your cat has an entirely different train of thought.
Humans stick to things like hugs and high fives when interacting with friends, but your cat follows a different set of social guidelines. If you’ve ever watched a cat interact with another cat, you know what we mean. What usually happens is that two cats greet each other face-to-face, and they each move forward until they’re face-to-butt. They’re not being rude, it’s actually the opposite.
With their powerful noses, cats communicate with their olfactory systems. They can tell a lot about their friends by sniffing various parts of their bodies. There are scent glands on the sides of a cat’s head, the corners of the mouth, ears, chin, and tail. And we can’t forget that the anus is ripe with revealing scents. Cats willingly offer these areas up so that their friends can take a whiff. This odor exchange is a great form of communication for our feline friends, and your cat assumes you operate in the same way. How are they supposed to know your nose is significantly inferior to theirs and that for your species, showing off your butt isn’t exactly appropriate?
It Means They Like you
When a cat shows you their butt, they’re offering up that vulnerable area as a way of saying they want to be friends. It also means they trust you. They’re giving you full access to their scent glands so you can feel free to take a whiff (we definitely don’t recommend this). While a cat’s nose can determine anything from stress level to diet, your second-rate human nose won’t do you any favors.
PetPlace also points out that unlike humans, cats like to reintroduce themselves throughout the day. So even though you’ve spent all day with your feline friend, any change in their mood or behavior could be a new reason to position their butt toward your face.
It Could Also Be An ‘Awkward’ Accident
It’s likely that your cat puts their butt in your face completely on purpose, but some of those awkward encounters might have been an accident related to your cat’s tail language. Along with smell, cats also communicate with their tails. Different tail positions mean different things. For example, a tail that is high and upright indicates a happy cat. It’s a type of body language that helps humans and other cats know what a cat is thinking.
A high tail means your cat is most likely feeling good and is in a mood to be extra friendly. If you’re giving a good scratch behind the ears, don’t be surprised if your cat’s tail rises to this upright position. It means you’re doing something right, but unfortunately, it can also lead to some accidental exposure. Your cat doesn’t care if your face happens to be nearby when they lift their tail. They’re communicating their feelings in the best way they know how.