Why do cats rub against you
Cats BehaviorCat Needs

Why do cats rub against you

Many owners can agree that, after getting themselves a cat, they’ve noticed how quickly the little furry pet transformed into a full-fledged family member. The cat requires a lot of attention, defends its interests, and demands respect in terms of its comfort zone and basic needs. With them, one has to also negotiate and get along. Moreover, the main difficulty in establishing mutual understanding is that the pet speaks not in human, but in cat language.

So how to answer the question “why do cats rub against you”, how to understand the rubbing against your legs, furniture, other pets, and so on?

Cat psychology

a cat looking at its reflection in a mirror
a cat looking at its reflection in a mirror

Under the influence of emotional attachment, a person tends to humanize the behavior of an animal. It just so happens that almost any manifestation of interest from your cat causes you positive feelings. Accordingly, many consider these basic signals a symbol of love and affection. But it should be remembered that a cat is an animal, a predator.

In fact, they are much less socialized and in need of society than dogs are. Thus, a cat acts primarily on the basis of natural instincts, and not the desire to please someone. No matter how funny and touching the actions of the cat are, remember that they are trying to explain their needs with the help of those actions, which means it is especially important to carefully recognize them and respond to them correctly.

Cat language

a cat with a speech bubble on a white background
a cat with a speech bubble on a white background

Cat language consists of a huge number of details, including the position of the ears, tail, eye expression, and smooth movements. The language of cat sounds has hundreds of variations that express a full range of emotions - from bewilderment to indignation. Even the intensity of the sound can describe the mood of the pet. A quiet meow will mean a request for something, a loud cry - a call to action, or a statement of displeasure.

Some four-legged felines love to "sing" and speak out, while others rely more on sign language, such as:

  • Rolling on the floor - pirouetting from side to side speaks of the pleasure, calmness, and safety of the cat. Especially inspiring in this case is the warm sunshine.

  • Rubbing its muzzle against a person - in general, it speaks of the affection of the feline, but this gesture has a broad interpretation, which we will discuss in detail later.

  • Running around the house, screaming loudly - a sign of anxiety. The feline feels threatened and tries to draw your attention to the source of the threat. Often, this behavior is inherent after moving to a new place to which the cat is not yet accustomed, thus feeling insecure. This signal is quite easy to distinguish from the usual running around the house which lures one into the game.

  • Licking and rubbing against hands - a signal with a very broad interpretation. It can mean: a request to feed - in childhood, kittens lick their mother's belly and knead it with their paws to get milk; play - this is the answer to the question “why do cats rub against you, then bite”- out of boredom, the cat licks and bites the owner’s fingers, demanding attention; feeling unwell - this is how the cat speaks of malaise - parasites, false pregnancy (contact the veterinarian as soon as possible). Interpreting this correctly is possible only by taking into account other signs.

  • Staring at you without blinking - firstly, the cat shows its affection by admiring you and maintaining eye contact. Secondly, they tritely examine the person from a distance convenient for vision.

Many details of the behavior of cats are annoying and cause misunderstanding among the owners, like dropping objects on the floor or scuffing carpets and furniture. At first glance, it seems that, in this way, the cat just wants to attract attention or take revenge on the owner.

In fact, they have completely different meanings. The cat drops items based on the hunting instinct, out of interest and desire to check if they are alive (check the condition of the prey). Furniture and carpets, on the other side, suffer because of the feline’s need to groom the claws, keeping them in working order.

Pooping past the litter, destroying paper, and other outrageous types of behavior most often also have a completely logical justification. Therefore, it is important for the owners to moderate their emotions and, before scolding the pet, understand the issue with the help of thematic literature or a consultation with a feline psychologist.

How does a cat say they love you?

The most pleasant part of having a cat consists of confessions of love from the feline. After all, it is also an instinctive desire to give affection and feel mutual care and love, because, for a cat, their owners are their pack. For this, the cats have a whole arsenal of gestures.

Kneading - the cat presses its paws over your body, slightly releasing the claws. At the same time, they can purr peacefully. This is a habit from childhood - this way, the kitten kneaded their mother's belly.

Gifts - a dead mouse or a bird in a slipper indicates a desire to please, to prove their love and devotion. This way, the cat shares prey, showing their owner what a clever and courageous hunter they are. Be sure to praise the feline for the gift.

Looking into your eyes for a long time - this is a cat's kiss. If the cat also slowly squints its eyes, then they really like you.

Showing their tummy - the highest degree of trust is how the cat opens the most unprotected part of the body to you. With you, they are calm and comfortable. But do not flatter yourself: very often, after stretching out your hand to touch their belly, you will stumble upon a cunning “bite”. It's not worth getting offended, this is the nature of a cat - painful play.

Biting - a sudden attack, pawing, and biting indicate a playful mood and perception of you as a wonderful partner. Sometimes, a cat may not calculate the bite force, because cat skin is stronger than human skin, but it makes no sense to scold them for this - the cat will not understand the reasons.

Purring - if a cat “starts their engine” next to you, this is love. Sometimes a cat may also purr for self-soothing. Stalking - a cat follows you when they want attention and at the same time protects you from potential danger. Sometimes, this is a reminder that it's time to eat.

To show positive feelings, a cat may begin to rub against your legs. Every owner would want to extend this extremely pleasant behavior and not think at all about the reason for its occurrence. But as we’re already here, let us delve into this discussion!

Why do cats rub up against you?

Every cat lover has experienced this at least once - their cat meets them at the doorstep with a special ritual of greeting. First, they rub her head, and sides, and wrap their tail around your leg. Then, they stand up on their hind legs and reach their forehead to the knees of the owner or the outstretched hand. Of course, such feelings would not have been shown to a stranger, because this is a direct sign of love and affection for your furry friend. Still, there is also a deeper meaning.

We’re here to talk about olfactory labeling. In other words, this is how a cat marks you. When the animal rubs against something, it transfers the pheromones secreted by the temporal glands, restoring the smell inherent to the members of the feline territory. A marked person is a permanent member of their personal world and does not pose a danger to them. In the same way, the cat marks any other familiar objects - rubbing against all corners, furniture, and interior items.

Why do cats rub their heads against your head and face? This represents a different gesture - unconditional adoration and a manifestation of the pet's tender, quivering feelings. Whatever the reasons, physiological or emotional, that guide a cat in their behavior, they invariably please their owners, filling their lives with special meaning.

To cut a long story short, cats may rub against your legs for several reasons. However, whether it is a way to show the need for love or a way to attract attention, in most cases it still implies a manifestation of affection for the owner. So, the next time your cat tries to rub against you, just remember that they are doing it out of great love for you!

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