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Owning a cat has a lot of benefits for its owners. For one thing, cats can be incredibly affectionate and loving. Petting a purring cat is one of the most comforting things you can do. Owning a cat can even help reduce stress and lower your risk of anxiety.
But there’s one thing about petting cats that consistently confuses owners, cats’ seeming love for butt pat.
Here’s why cats of all breeds and colors seem to love butt pats so much, and why you should take it as a compliment!
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The Most Common Reasons Why Cats Like Butt Pats
We can’t cover all the reasons cats like butt pats, but here are some of the most common reasons your feline friend might look for a little pat from time to time.
Their Butts Itch!
When cats come to their owners for scritches, pets, and pats, one of the most common reasons is that it’s easier for us to reach certain parts of them than for them. Often, cats will prefer their owners’ pat areas they can’t groom very quickly on their own.
That includes the area around their butt and hips.
So, by patting their butt, you’re likely helping your cat relieve itches and other discomforts they don’t want to reach on their own. That’s important because it saves them a lot of effort and can help reinforce your bond.
Specifically, scratching your cat’s butt helps tell your cat that you care about them and their wellbeing. You’re willing to help them feel more comfortable day today.
Cat Butts Have Lots Of Nerve Endings
Another reason cats like butt pats are because the area around their hips has many nerve endings that don’t get much stimulation from day to day.
What do a lot of nerve endings all in one area mean? Butt pats feel good to most cats. There are enough nerve endings around your cat’s rear that your cat may get overstimulated from too many pats.
That’s part of why your cat may go from purring and happy to biting and angry when you’re scratching their butt. It’s not that the scratches don’t feel good anymore, but they’re getting too much stimulation from your pats.
Your Cat Is Being Polite (For A Cat)
People might be a little confused at being presented with a feline rear end, but your cat is very polite. No, seriously.
When your cat presents their rear end for attention, they are essentially treating you the same way they would treat another cat that they liked and trusted. When cats greet one another, they start by sniffing or rubbing noses and faces together and then sniffing down each other’s bodies until they reach the butt.
This is because they are examining each other’s pheromones. Sniffing and rubbing also allow your cat to exchange pheromones with another cat, which can help identify friends and family groups.
Butt Pats Remind Your Cat Of Being A Kitten
One thing a lot of people don’t consider when thinking about the kinds of petting and scratching your cat enjoys is what your cat would have experienced as a kitten. But those formative experiences when your cat was young are significant for what they like and enjoy as adults.
Naturally, your cat’s mother would have groomed them from nose to tail as a kitten, including their rear end.
That means that scratching or patting your cat’s butt can remind them of the kind of attention they got as a kitten. That reminder feels good and may even be a little like playing a favorite game from your childhood or watching a favorite TV show.
You Are Your Cat’s Surrogate Mom
Along with that remembrance of being a kitten, butt pats may reinforce that your cat thinks of you as a surrogate parent. Domesticated indoor cats don’t mature the same way wild cats do; they enjoy a kind of extended childhood.
So, this patting, petting, and grooming all reinforce that bond and help remind your cat of its youth.
Reinforcing that bond also makes your cat feel safer and more comfortable around you. If your cat gets to enjoy your presence more, they’ll also enjoy other kinds of attention more.
So this early sign of trust and affection is a great way to build your relationship.
Your Cat Approves Of Your Petting
Cats tend to lift their rear ends when they are enjoying an excellent petting session. Affectionately known as elevator butt, this behavior, especially when you’re patting your cat’s rear end, signifies that they enjoy what you’re doing and appreciate your attention.
So, when your cat presents their butt to you for attention, it’s a good sign that whatever you’re doing feels good.
Take the compliment and keep doing what you’re doing. Trust us, your cat will appreciate it.
Your Cat Thinks You’re Family
Another reason your cat might present their rear end to you is that they think of you as family. This kind of relationship goes beyond just thinking of you as a parent and toward thinking of you as someone they like and choose to spend a lot of time with.
This is because your cat’s rear end has a lot of pheromones that are unique to them. By sharing those pheromones with you, your cat is claiming a relationship with you. They are telling other cats that you are a part of their family and someone they care for.
It’s also a sign of trust since presenting their rear end for pets can be a vulnerable position for your cat. They tell you that they trust you won’t hurt them and that you’ll take good care of them while you pat.
So, while butts may be a little off-putting to people, being presented with a cat butt, especially while you’re cat is purring, is a huge and essential compliment.