Why Do Cats Put Their Butts in Our Faces?

Though some people find it gross, it's a common behavior — and maybe even kind of sweet!

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You're petting your cat when suddenly they turn around and rub their butt right in your face! Yuck! Even if you love your cat very much, their backend probably isn't your favorite angle to show affection to. Although this strange cat behavior is confusing for many cat lovers, there is a natural reason why cats show their backend. It's actually a sign of love!


Your cat loves and trusts you

When cats sniff each other, they start by sniffing faces and then move to vulnerable areas like sniffing buts. This sniffing is a way cats can learn more about the other cat and show that they aren't a threat to each other.


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A cat's bottom is a very vulnerable place, so most cats aren't going to show their butt to just anyone. In most cases, cats reserve showing their put to the people that they are closest with. So, in a way, your cat putting their butt in your face is really a compliment, and a sign of trust.


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Your cat wants attention

If you find yourself relaxing on the couch or lying in bed, it can be startling for your feline friend to jump up on your lap and put their butt in your face. Cats communicate with each other and us with their body language. Just like some cats might rub up against you, or headbutt you, many cats will put their bottom in your face to try to get attention.


Cats often enjoy being petted on their lower back and near their tails. Cats will have a raised tail, and back their rear end up to you. By doing this your cat is presenting the base of their tail and back for you to pet. As you pet your cat look for positive signs of your cat showing that they are enjoying the attention. When petting your cat check for body language, happy meows, purrs, and other indicators that your cat is enjoying how you are petting them.


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Your cat is claiming you

Cats use their natural pheromones to communicate their territory. Cats have scent glands on their feet, their face, as well as at the base of their tail and from their anal glands. Scent glands release pheromones which help cats to communicate with other cats. Cats will use these scent glands to make their territory by rubbing up against things. Cats consider their territory to include you! When cats rub their butts up against you, they may be marking you as belonging to them. So really, you can think of that cat butt in your face as a sign of affection.



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What if you don’t want cat butt in your face?

Even knowing that a cat butt to the face is a sign of affection and means that your cat loves and trusts you it doesn't mean that you must love or encourage the behavior. And if your cat tries to put their butt in your face right after visiting the litter box for, your furry friend might be especially aromatic. So how should you deal with the behavior?


The answer is to use positive reinforcement techniques and redirection. It's important to never punish your cat for behavior you don't like. You can, however redirect behaviors you don't like. This means finding a different activity to direct your cat to, without punishing or scolding them.


You can redirect your cat by petting and giving attention to another part of their body. You can also redirect them by engaging your cat in play with toys, or by tossing treats for them to chase and play with. The most important thing is having a plan in place for what you want them to do instead. You can also simply get up and move yourself to another location where they cannot access your face with their butt, if possible.

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The bottom line

Although some people find it gross, your cat putting their butt in your face is normal cat behavior. Cats show people their backsides because they trust you and are looking for attention. Cats also put their butts on you and in your face because they are using pheromones to claim you as belonging to them. Showing their butt might seem weird to us, but it's just a natural way for your cat to show affection.


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