Why do Cats Rub Against Your Leg? 4 Common Reasons
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People who own cats often notice their feline friends rub up against their legs. Cats seem to partake in this behavior whenever they see you, whether it’s when you wake up in the morning or when you come home from work. But why do cats rub against your leg?
Is your cat saying hello? Is he marking his scent on your leg, so other cats know about his presence? Most likely, your cat is trying to get something from you, such as food or attention. Let’s look at some of the most common reasons cats rub against people’s legs.
Why do cats rub against your leg?
There are numerous reasons that your cat is rubbing against your leg. It might be to get your attention, it might be because he wants something such as food or affection.
Here are some of the most common reasons why cats rub up against people’s legs:
Your cat is trying to get your attention by rubbing against you. If you have ever given your cat a treat for coming when called, he will associate the action of rubbing against your leg with getting a reward. Attention-seeking cats will often use a combination of rubbing against your legs and purring.
Cats are notoriously fussy and like to be stroked on their terms. The illustration below shows the areas where cats like to be stroked.
2. Marking their scent
Cats will also rub against your leg as a way of marking you as part of their “pack.” Cats have glands located in their cheeks, near the corners of their mouth, as well as on their forehead and paws. These glands mark anything they come into contact with, with a pheromone.
When a cat rubs against something, he marks it with his scent from those glands. Rubbing against an object such as a persons leg or a piece of furniture is one way cats mark territory. It essentially means “this is mine.” Your cat might be rubbing against you because he wants to mark you as his own so that other cats know that you are his person.
The scent from cats’ glands isn’t detected by the human nose but is easily identified by other cats in the vicinity. Other animals such as dogs and small mammals can also detect the odour.
Does your cat rub up against your leg right before you feed him? He might be doing this because he associates your action of getting the food bowl with getting a meal. When cats want to eat, they often rub against their owners’ legs as a way of reminding them that it is dinnertime.
A cat often knows its owner’s schedule, and you may find your cat is waiting at the door for you to come home from work each day. Your cat will likely rub up against your leg as a sign of his love and devotion. Or perhaps your cat is just greeting you and welcoming you home. He may want some attention, be feeling playful or want some food when you get home, particularly if he has been home alone all day.
When a cat rubs against your leg, he is usually looking for some attention or affection. he might be looking to get food or play with his owner. It is also possible that the cat is marking you as part of their territory. Some cats will rub against their owners’ legs as a way to communicate dominance.
The reason behind why a cat rubs against your leg might be different from one day to the next. This is why you must spend some time monitoring your feline friend’s behavior. Don’t ignore any warning signs, as they could mean that your cat needs something.
Illustration and photos from shutterstock