Why Do Cats Rub Their Face On Things

Why Do Cats Rub Their Face On Things

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Why Do Cats Rub Their Face On Things

Here are some insights into the minds and behaviour of cats and why they do what they do.

Peeing on personal belongings

Cats like their environment to have their scent, so when foreign-smelling objects invade their space, they will often choose to mingle their familiar scent with the new one. One of the most effective ways of transferring scent is to urinate or spray on objects.

While it may seem disgusting to you that your cat has urinated in your suitcase or embarrassing that they have sprayed over your friend’s handbag, this behaviour may actually be relieving some of the anxiety your feline friend is feeling.

You can prevent this happening by being very tidy with your belongings and by relieving your cat’s anxiety.


Cats love to rub up against their owners. This movement may involve their entire body or sometimes just their foreheads and cheeks. Most owners see this as a sign of affection and welcome this behaviour.


Cats need to scratch surfaces to sharpen their claws but they also use this behaviour to deposit their scent. Cats have scent glands on their paws and rubbing their paws along objects places their scent there.

If your cat has the annoying habit of scratching furniture, it is often because this is an area that attracts many different scents.


Cats meow to communicate with humans. This endearing method of speech is heard in young kittens, to get their mother’s attention but is rarely heard between cats. So when your cat meows to you, it is a special form of cat-to-human conversation.


Cats kneed prior to relaxing. This involves pacing with their paws, on top of a soft object – usually a bed, a blanket or our lap. Some cats will purr or even drool at the same time. Kneeding is often a pleasant behaviour – until the claws come out.

Swishy Tail

Cats communicate to other cats and to humans using feline body language. The tail is an important part of this communication.


Cats that live together often rub their faces on each other. Presumably, this is to share scents with one another and create a communal scent that’s specific to that group. When your cat rubs on you, he’s probably doing that very thing: leaving his scent on you and picking up your scent on himself to create one communal odor.

This behavior might explain why some cats fight after one has been away to the veterinarian or groomer. That communal scent has been altered on the cat that was away for a while, making him smell like an outsider when he gets back home. One way to help keep this fighting from occurring is to use a brush or cloth on both cats alternately a few times, especially focusing on rubbing both faces, to recreate the proper communal scent on both cats.