Does this situation sound familiar, cat owners? You are quietly sitting on your sofa when your cat suddenly arrives. He goes up to your side, begins to rub himself against you, asking for a fuss and a stroke. But instead of simply sitting on you or on the couch, your kitty turns its back to you and raises its tail. Result: you end up with his bum right under your nose.
Naturally, as much as we love our pets, this isn't always the most pleasant experience and we often prefer to end it by moving our furry friends out of their funny position. But this behaviour is actually much more flattering than we think! At least, according to Amy Shojai, an expert on cats and author of several books on pet behaviour.
The importance of sniffing
Cats are social animals.When they meet other cats, they will approach each other and sniff particular areas, including the face and neck. These areas produce pheromones that will act as 'signals of friendship.' Sniffing these areas will allow animals to help calm the feeling of aggressiveness or fear of a foreign cat.
According to Amy Shojai,it is a way of saying 'Hi you!,' kind of like the small nod we humans would give to a stranger in the street. But cats don't stop there. Once the front part is sniffed, they will venture to the flanks, another region rich in olfactory information. Finally, they will end up at the anal region. "This is where the real olfactory signature of the cat is," says the expert. By raising his tail, the cat allows the other to sniff and thus get to know him.
A sign of trust and friendship
Presenting their behind and lifting their tail is kind of like a human giving a welcoming kiss or hug. But then why does the cat do this to its owner? Do they expect you to sniff at his rump? Obviously not. No matter how much they love you, your feline realises that you are not a cat. According to Amy Shojai, this behaviour is more a way for your pet to open up to you and show you the friendship and confidence that it bears you. So just know next time your cat starts waving their bum at you, they're actually giving you a pretty great compliment!