Has your cat ever jumped up into your lap, rubbed his face against you, purred, then turned around so his hindquarters were facing you? As if that’s not enough, he will raise his tail and it’s almost as if he’s actually presenting his backside to you. Do you feel insulted or disgusted? You shouldn’t. What your cat is doing is actually very polite in terms of feline etiquette.
When two cats greet each other they depend on scent as a valuable communication tool. They start by engaging in nose-to-nose sniffing. If the cats are familiar with each other they then engage in a little flank sniffing or even flank rubbing. Finally, one cat will turn around to present his backside for some anal sniffing. Yes, in our world that is totally gross, but in the animal world, that’s an area of concentrated scent that tells “the sniffer” much information about the cat being sniffed. For a cat to present his anal area for sniffing is considered very polite.
What Should You Do ?
So when your cat turns around and presents his backside to you, he’s actually displaying his proper feline manners. Now, what should you do in response? Relax, you certainly aren’t expected to do you-know-what. All you have to do is pet your cat along the back or wherever he prefers most as an affectionate gesture.
Need More Information?
To learn more about cat behavior and training refer to any of Pam’s books, including Think Like a Cat. If you’re experiencing cat behavior problems and would like a consultation with cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett ,CCBC, contact our office for more information.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.