Discover the 5 Reasons Your Cat Puts Its Butt In Your Face

Sweet Cat looking out the window. Tortoiseshell and white cat. Lapjeskat.
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Written by Angie Menjivar

Updated: October 3, 2023

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You scrunch up your nose and turn your head away when your cat approaches butt first. Understandable. It’s not exactly the best greeting. But could it be the best way they know to say “hello?” Discover five reasons your cat puts its butt in your face! Plus, learn how to reciprocate their unique way of communicating.

5 Reasons Your Cat Puts Its Butt in Your Face 

1. They’re Greeting You

You might scoff at the thought that your cat is simply saying hello when they put their butt in your face. Of course, your way of saying hello is much different be it verbal or with a wave of the hand. But for cats, this is the appropriate way to greet you. In fact, your kitty is displaying politeness when their tail rises to reveal the encoded messages of their pheromones. The problem is they don’t realize that you don’t pick up on them the way other cats do.

2. They’re Showing You Affection

Isn’t a cuddle enough? Well, not for cats. When your cat backs it up and you’re staring, wondering what their deal is, just give them a little love. Their butt in your face is a fantastic way to get your attention, even if you’re looking at your phone mere inches from your face. They have a way of saying, “Notice me and pet me, please.” Your only job is to oblige. Some scratches at the base of their tail are sure to gratify them.

Portrait of young woman holding cute siberian cat with green eyes. Female hugging her cute long hair kitty. Background, copy space, close up. Adorable domestic pet concept.

A cat butt in your face may just be an ask for affection. Give them a little snuggle!

3. They’re Feeling Trusting

Cats recognize that their butts are sensitive, vulnerable parts of their bodies. When they present their butts, they’re communicating that they trust you. They know that when they turn their back to you, they are safe. You’ve got their six. They don’t see you as capable of harming them in any way. This is a good sign that you’ve raised your kitty well, providing them with a safe and secure environment where they can relax.

4. They’re Marking What’s Theirs

If you didn’t already know this, you should. You belong to your cat. They make sure of it. Cats have scent glands throughout their bodies, which is why they bump their heads on you during cuddle time or when you return from a trip. They are letting other cats know, “This is my human.” You make up part of their family. When accepting you into their circle, they rub their bodies on you with an erect tail. This just means you’re locked in for life with your floof.

5. They’re Letting You Know More About Themselves

In cat language, scent glands on her butt are like medical charts hanging outside a doctor’s office. They communicate their age, sex, and most importantly, their health. Other cats can “read” their medical charts via their olfactory sense but again, cats don’t know that you don’t pick up on all those details as a human. If you notice this behavior has become unusually frequent, they may be trying to let you know that something is wrong.  

pet cat walking between humans legs

Cats are constantly communicating with you via their body language.

How to Reciprocate Affection With Cats

They do it when they’re looking at you. First, it’s a long stare. Then it’s a slow blink while they keep their gaze directed at you. This is the ultimate “I love you,” in cat body language. As they close their eyes, it’s like turning their back toward you. They know they can close them in your presence and they’re safe. Give them a little slow blink back to let them know the feeling is mutual.

Meow Back

Yes, really. If you’re as bonded with your cat as most cat owners, you probably already do this. When your cat meows and trills, they’re communicating with you in a language all their own. Imitate the sounds they make to let them know you’re just as head over heels with them as they are with you.

Keep Them Healthy

Another way you can show your love for your kitty is to keep them healthy. Visit the vet for regular check-ups and take them in when something is off. Cats may not associate the vet with the love you have for them but when they realize they feel better after you take them in, they recognize that you played a part in their healing and well-being.

Groom Them

Most kitties do well on their own, keeping themselves quite clean. However, cats normally groom each other — especially mother cats with their kittens. This is a wonderful way to bond with your cat, which often results in satisfied purrs.

Cute ginger cat is liking itself  on window sill. Fluffy pet is cleaning its fur.

Cats groom themselves but you can get in on the fun to bond with your beloved pet.

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About the Author

Angie Menjivar is a writer at A-Z-Animals primarily covering pets, wildlife, and the human spirit. She has 14 years of experience, holds a Bachelor's degree in psychology, and continues her studies into human behavior, working as a copywriter in the mental health space. She resides in North Carolina, where she's fallen in love with thunderstorms and uses them as an excuse to get extra cuddles from her three cats.

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