Ever wonder why cats turn their backs to you? Even better, does your cat stick his butt in your face sometimes?
Cats are known for their ‘mysterious’ behaviors. One of the most intriguing is when they turn their backs towards us. You might think this expresses a certain kind of aloofness – as cat are often thought of as indifferent. But this action is actually a complex behavior rooted in their evolutionary history. Understanding the science behind why cats do this can deepen our appreciation of this special species and help us build a stronger bond with our feline friends.
The Science Behind It:
Cats, both domestic and wild, are natural predators. They are also prey animals – always on the look-out for another predator that’s about to eat them for diner. When they turn their backs to us, they are demonstrating trust and a sense of security. In the wild, showing vulnerability is a very dangerous move. Humans are a much bigger ‘predator’ in a cat’s world – so it’s completely counter-instinctive for a cat to turn their back on you. Unless…
The Sign of Trust:
When your cat turns their back to you, it’s an incredible demonstration of trust. They feel safe enough in your presence to be completely vulnerable. This act shows their confidence in your relationship and an acceptance of you onto their social group. It is even thought that when a cat sits with his back to you – much like our cats do while we’re using the bathroom – that it is a show of protection. Much like he is standing guard while you are ‘vulnerable’.
So – unlike when a human turns their back on us, a cat is showing us a great compliment. But do they really need to go a step further and put their butt right in our face?
In a cat’s social group, the sniffing of butts may seem weird – or even gross – but it’s a very serious occasion. Scent is so important to cats – and each one has their own, unique ‘fragrance’. While nose touching with cats is akin to our handshake, a butt sniff is likened more-so to welcoming someone into our home and saying “this is who I am”. It’s how cats gauge social status and it informs their relationship with each other moving forward.
This very intimate gesture towards humans is often part of other affectionate behaviors – such a head butting, pets, and rubbing on you. It take the sense of trust and security all the way to the demonstration of something truly incredible for these solitary predators. Love.
So the next time your feline friend presents their back – or butt – to you, take it as a special invitation to build a deeper connection. And then take a moment to truly appreciate the privilege of being a loved part of their world.
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