Do you hate it when your cat comes to you, sniffs your nose in a greeting manner, and then turns his back on you, or even sticks his his butt right in your face. Isn’t that impolite?
Well, the truth is, that actually is extremely polite and shows a great trust he has in you. Not all cat owners are lucky enough to get such appreciation.
This behavior comes from the way how cats communicate with each other. In a cat world, presenting a butt with an upward tail, means: “Here I am, I pose no harm, and I trust you!”.
Here’s how cats greet each other:
If two cats meet, and they do not want to attack each other, they usually start with sniffing each other nose to nose. It’s like saying hi and extracting facial pheromones produced by the glands at the cheeks.
Next, but not always, the greeting may proceed with both cats sniffing each other’s side, which may be complemented with a rubbing against each other.
Then, if the greeting proceeds, it continues with sniffing the butt of the other cat, that is, if the other cat allows it, but raising his tail upwards and not hiding. The upwards tail already is a friendly gesture (read more about the tail here), and if the extremely vulnerable anal area is presented to the other cat for a sniff, it shows trust.
In the human world, similar activity may be a hug? Maybe, but you have to know it’s hard to compare human and cat body languages. However, we rarely hug random persons, right? Just ones we do trust, who are close enough to us for a hug.
And in the cat world it’s similar. Presenting a butt to another animal, places the cat in an extremely vulnerable posture, where he could not effectively defend himself; thus, if your cat shoves his butt in your face, or just sits with the back turned against you, he actually tells how great trust he has in you.
This article is a part of series: 99 cat questions in a 100 days.