Probably the most difficult thing to reconcile with as a cat owner is the fact that your cat’s butt-hole has touched pretty much everything you own. There are those times your cat will decide to put his or her gnarly hole on your face, completely casually. While it might seem vaguely threatening or confusing, a cat researcher tells Inverse it’s not as weird as you think.
Cat enthusiasts surely know the feeling. You’ll just be sitting down, waiting for your kitty to curl up next to you when all of a sudden they present you with their behind. Sometimes it smells much like the litter box, making the entire situation even more unsavory.
According to cat researcher Mikel Delgado, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, cats aren’t trying to gross you out — in fact, they’re trying their best to be nice.
“For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity,” Delgado told Inverse. “It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”
Even long-time cat owners seem to have trouble understanding most of the things their cats do — but the butt situation is probably the most perplexing of all, even if it’s well-intended.
“My cat, Lou, shoves his butt in my face when he’s begging me to scratch his butt (but pretending to ignore me), or when he’s hungry and wants to get my attention,” Inverse’s entertainment reporter Caitlin Busch stated. “He’s The Worst and I love him.”
Though cats are most definitely evil geniuses, sticking their butts in our faces isn’t actually a sign of aggression. All the other weird things they do probably is, though — and we love them for it anyway.