Cat Rubbing Against Leg

Why Do Cats Rub Themselves Against You and Other Objects?

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Jacquelyn Pica

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Jacquelyn Pica

At EasyPet, we are committed to presenting the most accurate and up-to-date information to assist you in your pet care journey. When appropriate, we consult licensed and practicing veterinarians to fact-check our professionally written articles.

Cats can be very touchy-feely at times. They would rub their cheeks on your legs before rubbing their bodies against your legs. But why do they do this? Why do cats rub themselves against you?

There are scent glands all over a cat’s body. These glands produce pheromones, which cats use to send different messages. This is something we call scent communications. There are four main types of pheromones cats use in this form of communication.

  • Feel good and happy pheromone,
  • Pheromone used in marking territories and boundaries (which is mainly used by urine spraying),
  • Sex pheromone,
  • Pheromone mother cats secrete to help kittens recognize them – making the youngsters feel safe and happy (secreted in the mother cat’s nipple area).

Basically, cats rub themselves to send a message through their pheromones. And here are some reasons behind the rubbing:

Why do cats rub themselves against people and things?

1. Cats rub themselves against you because they love you.

Cats have facial glands on their cheeks, lips, and forehead. When your cat rubs himself against you, he is marking you as his territory in an affectionate way. It’s your cat’s way of showing his love and affection for you.

2. Cats rub themselves against you and other objects when he is feeling contented.

When a cat “head butts” you or the objects around you, it means he is feeling content and comfortable in the area. Cats may also rub themselves against other cats, and they do it because it’s their way of telling “I know you and it’s nice to meet you again.”

3. Cats rub themselves on furniture to re-mark it as theirs.

Cats may rub themselves on a familiar object if it smells like another cat or a dog. Cats will rub themselves on things to mark it with their scent and pheromone once again – thus, reclaiming it.

4. Cats rub themselves on people and objects to produce a sense of calm.

When cats rub themselves, they release and rub feel good pheromones on you and the objects they rub themselves to. Doing this calms and comforts them – thus, making them happy and contented.

5. Cats rub themselves on objects when they are in heat and ready to mate.

Female cats may be excessively rub-by when they are ready to mate. By rubbing themselves on objects, she releases pheromones that will tell tomcats that they are in heat.

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