Why Do Cats Sniff Butts?

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.

Hiro rather sniffs flowers.

Hiro rather sniffs flowers.

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.

16 Responses to “Why Do Cats Sniff Butts?”

  1. fozziemum

    It always makes me smile when they meet and greet..they do it to the pups here too and I always get a butt in the face..they are so reliant on these scents as they do indeed tell them everything….hugs Fozziemum xx

  2. Ali Browning

    our cat Rosie does that alot, sits on your lap and shows her butt. Lovely.

  3. hannahandlucy

    We just thought it was a type of one up catship saying “our butt smells nicer than yours”!
    Luv Hannah and Lucy xx xx

  4. Marty the Manx

    Why thank you very much for the information!
    Marty’s Mom


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Basic HTML is allowed. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,544 other followers

%d bloggers like this: