Ever wondered why your cat is sniffing the behind of another cat? I have the answer for you!
When cats greet each other for the first time, after the hissing and growling has stopped, they will sniff each others face and neck. You can see this as a sort of “hello” in cat language. It’s a gesture between two strangers who have never met before. Why do they sniff the neck and cheek? Cats produce pheromones in their cheeks that signal friendship.
Sniffing butts is what may follow after they’re done sniffing each others neck, and when they are comfortable being around each other. The sniffing butts is like a “nice to meet you”, like a polite handshake or when they cats already know each other “How are you?”. But sniffing the behind is also seen with cats who have lived with each other for a while. This is because cats don’t recognize cats by sight, but by smell. Cats have anal glands on either side of the anus. One sniff can tell the cat everything about the cat whose butt he’s sniffing.
Another way of saying hello for cats is head-butting.
Showing His Butt
I’m sure we’ve all been there. Your cat is on your lap, and suddenly he presents you his butt, with his tail up in the sky. They do this because a raised tail may mean “You can trust me, I mean no threat”. Perhaps you can see the raised tail in combination with the butt sniffing as how humans hug or kiss on the cheek as a greeting. But this doesn’t mean that cats who stick their tail up your nose expect you to sniff their butt, instead you can see it as a friendly gesture between good friends. It’s a compliment, really! He’s basically opening up to you.
A cat who keeps his tail down, and doesn’t want to be sniffed down there, may be shy or just not in the mood for it.
Featured image by Malingering.