Your Cat Putting Their Butt in Your Face Is Actually a Sign of Affection


Sep. 19 2023, Published 4:09 p.m. ET

A grey cat with its butt facing the camera.
Source: iStock

If you’re a cat parent, you know what it's like to be woken up at 5 a.m. by a kitty who wants to be fed. They’ll nudge you, meow, and when you finally open your eyes, BOOM! There’s their butt right in your face.

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It’s definitely not the nicest thing to see first thing in the morning. Why do cats put their butt in your face anyway? While it seems pretty gross, there are some sweet reasons why your kitty puts their bum in your personal space.

A man giving his cat a love nudge.
Source: Getty Images
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Why do cats put their butt in your face?

When it comes to affection, cats are misunderstood. Sure, they aren’t like tail-wagging, always-excited-to-see-you dogs, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Cats just have different ways of showing their emotions, and a butt-in-your-face move is a sign they are sending to you. Here are some reasons your cat sticks its butt in your face.

Your cat loves and trusts you.

Cats can also be very loveable pets; believe it or not, sticking their butt in your face signals that they love you. Because of their affection for you, they are willing to put their guard down and put themselves in the vulnerable position of showing their backside because they trust you.

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They are trying to get your attention.

Having a cat butt in your face is sure to get you out of bed after all other attempts have failed, isn’t it? After recoiling in disgust, you realize you are awake and might as well get out of bed. And that is exactly what your cat was hoping you would do. They definitely got you to pay attention.

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They are greeting you.

Butt sniffing isn’t a behavior just for dogs. A cat will also sniff another cat’s bum to get to know them. And they will present their bum (i.e. stick it in another cat’s face) so that the cat can learn more about them. A cat has pheromones in their rear end that serve as a sort of chemical communication tool. So when a cat sticks their butt in your face, they're inviting you to get to know them better.

"In a cat's world, presentation of the hindquarters is considered proper etiquette," cat behavioralist Pam Johnson-Bennett told Daily Paws. "Cats who are friendly with each other will often approach with raised tails. They'll do nose-to-nose sniffing, and then one cat will turn to present the backend for a sniff."

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They are laying claim to you.

If your cat rubs their butt against you (hopefully not in your face), they are marking you as their own. Your cat is rubbing their “scent,” or pheromones, on you to tell other cats or animals that you are taken.

So, while a cat sticking their butt in your face can seem weird and gross, they aren’t doing it to offend or insult you. Instead, they are sending you a sign that they love and trust you and that you are their person.

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