If you own a cat, chances are that your precious pet has rubbed up against your legs before. It’s a super common behavior among house cats, so you’re definitely not alone in observing this weird habit. As it turns out, there’s a really sweet reason why your kitty does this.
Certified cat behavior consultant Marilyn Krieger told Catster that a cat rubbing up against you — whether it’s your legs, face, or another body part — is paying you a huge compliment. “Cats define their worlds through scent,” said Krieger. “It’s one way they identify their families, their friends, and also their enemies. When a cat is rubbing up against you, what they’re doing is exchanging your scent. It’s reinforcing that you are part of [their] group. It’s very sweet.”
According to petcare company Purina, cats are essentially trying to transfer their scent to you whenever they rub up against you. Whether this means simply nuzzling their faces on our ankles or weaving between our legs as we prepare to feed them, this is a surefire way for them to mark their territory. Despite the fact that many of us call ourselves “cat owners,” this practice is basically the equivalent of kitties claiming ownership of us instead. (They’re not exactly wrong!)
It’s also worth mentioning that this practice is a quite effective way for cats to get our attention. After all, it’s pretty tricky to ignore a cat if he or she will not stop rubbing up against us — and looking super-cute while doing so. According to Catonsville Cat Clinic, this behavior might sometimes be a cat’s way of telling you that he or she wants something, such as food, water, or simply a pat on the head.
So the next time your kitty does this, you better pay attention!
Next, see some adorable two-faced cats that’ll make you do a double-take in the video below: