We’ve all experienced the unwanted gesture. Your cat comes to you for attention and shows you his or her bottom. A face full of feline butt will stop you from whatever you’re doing. While we humans think, EW! STOP!, most creatures view presenting their bottoms as a polite gesture reserved for those they trust or are at least interested in. The cat may seem like they are crossing boundaries and being gross or just rude, but their butt in your face is actually their idea of nice greeting.
Cat researcher Mikel Delgado, a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, explains, “For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado tells Inverse. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, the smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.“
A cat’s body language is it’s the main source of communication. While direct eye contact, standing tall, and showing off puffy fur, may be signs of aggression, presenting their bottom is not. A feline with its tail that is held vertically in an upright position while your cat is also calmly gazing at you is a sign of affection. Your cat is more likely asking you for affection or reaffirmation of your social bond by sticking her bottom in your face in exchange for attention and petting.
Does your cat have a weird behavior? Share your funny feline stories or quirks in the comment section below.