Your cat is waiting for you at home after work. He leaps up and reaches out to you. Fluffy rubs his head on your legs, doing figure eights and curling his tail around you ankles. Fluffy doesn’t greet you, he marks you as his.
To transfer their scent onto your skin, cats rub their face on you and mark you their territory.
After rubbing something against their skin, cats have scent glands in the mouths, cheeks and chins. Your cat’s face can be used as a “scent-transferr” to get what they want. In this instance, it is you. To show the world that he is here, he’s marking your face.
As a sign of affection, cats will rub their heads on your face. It is a form comforting and bonding, basically a cat’s way to say hello and “I love you”.
Cats often rub their faces together to share scents when they greet each other. It is possible that your cat will rub her teeth on your face after you get home. Your cat may think you are just another cat, even if you are a tall and very large one. She might try to greet you as a fellow feline.
Two cats will rub their faces together to share their scents when they say hello. Fluffy is doing the same thing when he sees you. Fluffy sees you as a tall cat. He might try to reach your face by standing on his hind legs, as he cannot reach his normal position. He might jump onto a counter or table to reach your face.
You might also notice him smelling your scent and he may be grooming himself soon after you tell him “Hi.”
Pheromones are chemicals that can be used to create scents. Pheromones are more than just scents. They can also affect the behavior of the person who is smelling them. Artificial pheromones can be used to calm and relax a stressed-out cat.
Fluffy will mark everything that he considers his to let other cats know who is responsible. Fluffy will also mark you to signal other cats that you are his human.
The Sense of Smell
When a kitten is just days old, he can sense the scent of his mother’s breath. As he grows older, he will mark his territory and leave pheromones.
A cat’s sense of smell creates a map that shows him his surroundings. Jacobson’s organ is a tiny passage that runs from his roof to the bank of sensory cells in his upper jaw. This enhances his olfactory system. Flehmening is when he curls his lips, curls his nose and takes a deep breath. This is his attempt to add more scent to Jacobson’s organ.
Fluffy has three special glands located at his jaw, temples and base of his tail. These are the glands that secrete pheromones. He rubs his forehead, mouth, or flank against your face to ensure that these scent glands are in contact with you. He will head-butt your face, an affectionate gesture that serves two purposes: a greeting and to make contact with his scent glands.