To understand why your cat rubs himself on your furniture, you first need to understand how cats socialise. They are generally independent creatures that will prefer their own company to that of strangers. It can be common to have multi cat households of those from the same family, but generally they prefer their own space. Cat communication is quite different as a result!
Cats are NOT small dogs!
Whilst dogs will happily give you a wag if the tail or a lick on the face to show you their love and appreciation, it’s far less common to have such an enthusiastic show of emotion from your cat. They are much more subtle creatures and will prefer to play it cool rather than go in too hot.
If cats feel in any way threatened, they would prefer to run away than to fight. And a “threat” isn’t just in the physical sense, it can also mean having to share resources like food, litter trays, or safe spaces! Fighting is a last option for them, so for them to make others aware of them either in the house, or outside, they use pheromones.
Check out this link from the Cats Protection which has loads of great information about typical cat behaviours and what they mean. Maybe your cat is trying to tell you something!
What are pheromones?
Pheromones are chemical signals that your cat is able to share around their environment, like little notes, for other cats to read. It gives them lots of information, such as defining territory, reproductive status, information about strangers in the neighbourhood, defining territory, and identifying other members of their family. So by using these, they can tell other cats in the house or neighbourhood that, “actually, that’s mine”, or “no, sorry I don’t like that, you’re scaring me.”
By using their pheromones, it’s a non threatening way to share information. Meaning no physical interaction is necessary! Phew, for your cat and for your wallet. Cat fights can be nasty when they come to it…
Feliway use these pheromones in the form of plug ins or sprays to help stressed out felines feel more comfortable in their surroundings – and we’ve found them really useful in managing cat stress levels, too.
Where are the pheromones secreted from?
Your cat has multiple locations they secrete pheromones from. For example, paws, cheeks, lips, forehead and tail. The information is shared simply by rubbing the anatomy with the object they wish to leave their ‘note’ on.
Your cat has a specially designed nose that is able to detect these scents. We however do not possess this amazing skill. Their sense of smell is about 14 times more sensitive than our own! So they’re smelling this our noses simply cannot detect!
So what does it all mean?
Pheromones that are secreted around the face are classed as low intensity or friendly. They use these particularly when they want to mark objects that are familiar to them or something they would consider as theirs.
Do, if you’re finding your cat running the corner of the sofa, or your leg, consider it high praise indeed! This is your cat’s way of saying: “I like you, I think I’ll keep you”!
Congratulations, you’ve won your cat over and are now officially friends and he feels happy to be in your home.