Why Do Cats Face Away From You – Is It Trust?

One of the most confusing behaviors your cat might show, constantly turning away from you, so their butt is in your face. This might seem odd from our perspective, but trust us, it’s a huge compliment. So, why do cats face away from you?

Cats face away from you because they trust you. This is a significant sign of comfort. Cats expect your protection when they turn away from you. It’s also a sign of affection and vulnerability in cats.

Don’t worry; we’ll talk more about why your cat facing away from you is a compliment in just a moment. You don’t have to take our word for it. 

Reasons Cats Face Away From You

It may not always be clear why a cat turns away from you, but below are five of the most common reasons to consider.

Your Cat Loves You

The most common reason your cat will face away from you is also one of the simplest. If your cat loves you, they’ll show that by turning away from you and relaxing around you. That’s because cats are vulnerable when they have their back turned. 

Essentially, by facing away from you, your cat is saying that they trust you and know that you won’t hurt them, even if you surprise them. It’s also a way of accepting love and attention from a relatively vulnerable position. 

For an animal that is primarily a predator, that’s an expression of extreme trust. 

They Have Good Manners

Your cat might also be displaying good manners for a cat. Cats greet each other face-first, but they spend some time learning each other’s scents, from nose to tail. So facing away from you gives you a chance to smell the scent coming from scent glands around the base of their tail. 

Fortunately, your cat doesn’t expect you to go in for a good sniff, but the instincts are still there. Even if you don’t want to take a good sniff, you should still pay attention when your cat is facing away from you. A good scritch or some petting will help your cat feel loved and tell them that you understood their message. 

Cats that feel understood and listened to are happier and tend to be more expressive with their owners. 

Your Cat Feels Comfortable And Safe

This goes hand in hand with your cat telling you they love you. Even if they love you, your cat won’t face away from you (or anyone else) if they feel uncomfortable. That’s part of why your cat might not face away from you in a new room or right after you’ve moved or introduced a new pet. 

Of course, the opposite can also happen. An anxious cat might come to you for comfort and feel safe under your protection. In that case, they might face away from you, but they’ll likely stay alert instead of relaxing in your lap or next to you. 

Either way, when your cat is facing away from you, you should know that they trust you and that they feel safe around you. 

Your Cat Thinks You’ll Protect Them

Cats also sometimes look for protection from the outside world. Even in the wild, feral cats that live together in pods will often help defend one another and look out for one another while hunting. Turning their back on another cat in these scenarios is one way for your cat to tell them that they trust them to protect your cat. 

The same thing applies when your cat faces away from you. Your cat might be asking for protection.

Often this is why your cat hops on your lap and then faces away from you when they are facing a dog, a new cat, or even the vacuum! Your cat might look and act like they are protecting you, but it’s just as likely that your cat is asking for you to protect them!

They’re Treating You Like Another Cat

There are a wide variety of reasons that cats might face away from one another in social situations. It might be an early sign of trust during introductions, a request for protection, an expression of love and affection, or any number of other communications.

When your cat does it to you, one thing that’s less obvious but still important is that your cat is reacting to you like another cat. 

No, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your cat thinks you’re a strangely shaped big cat. Instead, it means that your cat is treating you the way their instincts tell them to treat animals like themselves. They’re essentially trusting you enough to speak cat with you and hope that you’ll understand. 

Regardless of the context your cat first faces away from you; it’s a good sign of their trust, love, and faith in your companionship and protection. It’s a sign that your cat considers you an equal and that you and your pet already have a strong bond. 

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Sits Facing Away From You

Sitting can be a little more complicated than other body languages from a cat. Cats sit a lot of the time; they use the downtime to look for prey, smell the air around them, and groom and relax.

A sitting cat isn’t necessarily a relaxed cat, but a lot of the time sitting is a sign that your cat is calm and content. 

If your cat sits facing away from you, chances are they aren’t trying to snub you. Especially if your cat is sitting close by, they still think that they are spending time with you and paying attention. 

Instead of snubbing you, your cat says that they don’t need to pay attention to you, that you’re safe and trusted. 

Things To Consider

It’s important to remember that your cat is communicating their mood and needs with their whole bodies. Cat’s faces might not have a ton of expressive range, but that doesn’t mean that your cat doesn’t have a lot of body language to communicate with you. 

Your cat’s ears and tails are also important indicators of its mood. A cat that’s facing away from you with their ears pinned back and their fur puffed is not a happy, relaxed cat; they’re anxious and upset about something.

Chances are, if your cat does this, they’re asking you to protect them from whatever they are looking at. 

If your cat’s tail is swishing back and forth when they face away from you, they might not be entirely comfortable yet.

Some cats will start to face away from you as a test before they are entirely comfortable. Paying attention to these cat’s limits and only interacting with them as much as they want is an excellent way to earn their trust for real. 

Vocalizations can also usually give you a good idea of your cat’s mood. Facing away from you and purring is a happy, trusting cat. But facing away from you, growling or hissing, especially if they hiss when you touch them, indicates an agitated cat asking for protection or backup. 

Cats are wonderfully expressive pets, but there is one complication. Cat expressions and body language are very different from humans or even other mammals in many cases.

It’s pretty standard for your cat to do something that seems confusing or even outright rude. The trick is that you can’t judge their behavior by our standards. 

Keeping your cat’s total body language in mind when they interact with you will help you understand what they mean and what they’re reacting to. Over time that more profound understanding of their body language and needs will help you get even closer to your cat. 


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