Odd Things that Cats and Dogs Do
30 August, 2011


There are so many oddities about both cats and dogs.   My cat, Sammy, has a propensity to put his ‘rear’ in my face.  I didn’t really understand this odd behavior and my Veterinarian told me it was completely normal and that most cat’s speak with their tails.

I spoke to some other cat owners as well, and they told me that their cats sniff other cat’s tails.  I guess it is all related and their way of ‘talking’.

Apparently, tail sniffing behavior is normal between cats and the “cat butt” presentation is a part of their language.  But it sort of catches me by surprise us when Sammy jumps on my lap for a petting session, turns around, and presents his butt to my face!  Seriously?!


When cats greet each other for the first time, they sniff each other’s faces and neck as a sort of introduction.   This could be compared to your nodding a greeting to a stranger at your first meeting. Think of it as shaking hands.  Cats actually produce cheek pheromones that signal friendship, so sniffing this area can actually help calm feelings of aggression or fear.  (It is the complete opposite of catnip.)

Once they feel comfortable with each other, cats progress to sniffing parties. This is the area that holds the scent of other cat’s body rubbing or a human’s petting hand so it tells the sniffer quite a lot about the cat.

Nice to meet you, dude!



Of course there is the lovely sniff of the behind beneath the raised tail. This is where the cat’s specific scent is found.  Cats that keep their tail down and don’t want to be sniffed might be compared to a shy person hiding her face.

And, then there is the raised tail which signals “Dude.. let’s be friends… I mean no harm”.  So the combination of a raised tail AND a butt-sniffing is the equivalent of a human’s enthusiastic hug or a kiss on each cheek in greeting.  Hard to believe, but it is true!  I think I like our way better.

When your cat presents his tail in your face, does he really expect you to sniff?  Experts think they don’t.  Cats are smart, and as much as they love us, they realize that we are not a cat!.   They are really just sending us a message that they trust us and are opening up to us in their own special way. The cat butt sniff is a back-handed feline compliment even if you and I prefer a kiss.

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