Monday, October 4, 2010

Why do cats rub against things and people?

Cats engage in various rubbing behaviours as a form of communication, to mark territory and reinforce group identity.
Cats have scent glands along the tail, on each side of their head, on their lips, base of their tail, chin, near their sex organs, and between their front paws. They use these glands to scent mark their territory. When the cat rubs you, he is marking you with his scent, claiming you as “his.” Also, he is picking up your scent. Many cats will hiss at a well-known human who has recently stroked a cat that is not part of the home group because they feel threatened by the other cat’s scent.
Cats often rub the sides of their faces on things, like furniture or doorways, an activity called “chinning.” They do this because they have scent glands on their chins and lips, and they use these to override the scents left by other animals. Often, when a cat encounters a residual scent left by another animal, he will engage in a prolonged episode of chinning until he is sure that he has claimed the spot for himself.

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