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Why do cats rub against you? 4 common reasons

Have you ever wondered, “why do cats rub against you?” Cats are brilliant animals with a very effective communication system. Although they can’t talk to us, they have developed a body language that tells us precisely what they want to tell us. Louie, my cat, comes up to me, meows, and then walks away, turning a little bit to look at me, expecting me to follow him, and almost always, he leads me to the treat bag. I know now that when he does this, he wants me to follow him and give him whatever is in that spot.

Although their language can sometimes be self-explanatory, there are actions that cats repeat in different scenarios that lead us to think that maybe what we thought we understood may have another meaning, and guess what? You’re right.

Why do cats rub against your legs? 4 common reasons

This time we will discuss something very characteristic of cats when they rub against us. Could it be that the message is different every time they do it? If you have no idea, don’t worry. We will show you the possible meanings of why cats rub against your legs.

1. Your cat claims you as its own

If you are the proud owner of a cat, you probably already know that your little friend is highly territorial, to the point of being a bit or very possessive. Cats, with their airs and graces, claim as their own absolutely everything around them. If you could ask your cat, he would surely tell you that you are the one who lives in his house and not the other way around.

Mother Nature rewarded this instinct of territoriality, endowing cats with an incredible sense of smell that allows them to know the world through scents. So, if you spend time with another animal outside your home, be sure your cat already knows it. He smelled it (your cat hates some smells) from the moment you walked in the door. Besides having a powerful nose, these furry ones use their scent to mark what is theirs.

why do cats rub against you - claim property

Cats have scent glands all over their bodies. They have them on the top of their head, cheeks, chin, and even at the base of their tail. So when they want to impregnate their possessions with their scent, they often tend to roll on them, for example, at the house entrance, and rub against objects. For example, it is common to see cats rubbing against furniture. And believe it or not, yes, when they rub against you, they also do it to mark you as theirs.

It’s not that your cat will tag you with his name, Whiskers, or that he won’t let you out of the house, but by marking you, he makes sure that when you meet another cat, he’ll know very well that you already belong to someone else.

There is no way to fool our cats, the pheromones they rub against us are imperceptible to the human nose, but they are the best tool cats have to grab information from their environment. Thanks to the pheromones, cats can also know if another cat near them is in heat. Powerful, isn’t it?

2. Your cat is saying hello

Have you ever come home after a long day, and as you sit on the couch, your cat comes in, rubs up against you, and then leaves? He probably just went to say welcome back, hoping you would give him a gentle pat on the head in return.

why do cats rub against you - saying hello

Cats may not be as loving and euphoric as a dog, but your presence will not go unnoticed if you have a connection with them. At least they acknowledge that you came home. If your cat does that, he loves you and is a very polite kitty.

3. Your cat needs something, perhaps cuddles

Last, if your cat rubs against you, it is because he is asking for something. Chances are your cat wants to spend time with you, so he’s reaching out to get your attention and asking you nicely to pet him for a moment or play with him. It’s hard to win a cat’s affection, but their demonstrations of love are endless once you succeed.

Please pay attention to your cat’s movements because sometimes he lets you see what specific part of his body he wants you to pet. If your cat lifts its face and rubs simultaneously, he enjoys cuddles on his head or the back of her neck. And if they don’t specify where remember that their favorite areas are the tail’s base and the head’s top.

why do cats rub against your legs - attention

Another reason cats rub against your legs is to tell you they need something more than petting, for example, if they want food or fresh water. They may also be trying to tell you that something is bothering them, such as a flea or ingrown toenail, so it never hurts to inspect your cat and its environment to rule out either of these options.

4. Your cat is hungry and wants to draw your attention

A prevalent reason your cat rubs against you is that he’s trying to tell you that he’s hungry. Cats are very independent creatures, but they know that we are the ones who provide them with food and water, so they will do whatever it takes to get our attention when they need us.

If your cat starts rubbing up against you more frequently than usual, look at his food and water bowls to see if they need to be refilled. Sometimes there might be food in your cat’s bowl, but he wants your company while he eats, so try sitting with him while he has his meal.

why do cats rub against you - hungry

It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on how much your cat is eating and drinking each day so you can notice any changes in their behavior or appetite. Cats typically like to eat small meals several times a day, so if your cat is skipping meals or eating less than usual, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition, and you should take them to the vet.

Why do cats rub against you? Final thoughts

Now you know if your cat rubs against you, nothing is wrong. Your cat is simply trying to tell you something. Remember that if your cat does this, it’s because he trusts you and knows you can help him, so always try to honor that trust and the love your kitty shares with you.

As in everything, if you think your cat rubs excessively, either with you or against the furniture, it never hurts to take him to a visit to the vet to rule out any disease that may be causing this behavior change.

And now you tell us, does your kitty rub against you? What do you think he wants to say to you?

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