We’re all aware of the standard greeting between dogs – the butt sniff. Whether they’re trying to figure out who’s friendly and who’s not or trying to sniff out the possibility of mating with each other, dogs are known to resort to sniffing each other’s butts. Why do cats raise their butts, though?
Cats are different from dogs. When cats communicate with each other, they typically resort to strange sounds, mysterious movements, and even odors that send specific messages. Cats might not sniff each other’s butts that often, but they’re known to use their butts to communicate with each other – or us.
One of the most common ways cats communicate with humans happens to be the infamous “elevator butt.” Whether you’re scratching your cat’s back, snuggling with her, or approaching her, you’re probably going to catch a glimpse of her raising her butt. What’s the tea on that?
When your four-legged friend does the “elevator butt” thing, you don’t need to freak out. Cats do that for a million different reasons, but they’re all almost always positive. Whether they’re greeting you, offering you a backhanded compliment, or telling you to scratch them, they’re simply communicating with you.
Why do cats raise their butts when you scratch them? Are they begging you for attention? Are they greeting you? We’re bringing you more on all that down below!
How do cats communicate?
Cats might be able to understand what we’re telling them, but they’re highly unlikely to respond with anything other than a “meow” or a headbutt. Cats communicate with sounds, movements, and odors, and that’s exactly why they’re known to wink at you, raise their butts at you, or knead biscuits on you.
When you observe your cat’s behavior, you’re going to notice that cats use body language as their primary means of communication – both with you and with other animals. Whether they’re using their tails, posture, eyes, ears, or butts, they’re almost always communicating something.
Starting with tails, a cat’s tail might be the most expressive part of a cat’s body. Depending on what they’re doing with their tail, you might be able to tell whether they’re scared, excited, relaxed, or annoyed. Similar to its tail, a cat’s posture speaks volumes of what’s going on at the given moment.
“The eyes, chico. They never lie.” Cats might not be the biggest fans of Scarface, but that doesn’t mean that this quote doesn’t apply to them, too. Cats’ eyes can tell you whether they’re happy, sad, excited, or trying to focus on a bird that’s singing at them outside the window.
We can’t forget about a cat’s ears, either. Whether they’re moving around or standing still, they’re always sending messages to you and other animals. When they’re flat against a cat’s head, that means that the cat might be highly unhappy – for example.
With that out of the way, we’ve come to the butt of it all. What does the cat’s butt communicate? Whether they’re raising their butts, rubbing them on different surfaces, or sniffing them, cats are known to resort to their butts when they’re trying to greet someone or send a specific message.
Why do cats raise their butts when you scratch them?
1. You’re hitting the right spot
You’re playing with your cat, petting her little head, and scratching her bony butt, when she suddenly decided to raise her tail in the air and present her butt to you. You’re flabbergasted because you don’t have a clue why she’s doing what she’s doing. Well, for starters, she’s a cat.
Cats are curious creatures and they’re known to do odd things when they’re comfortable around someone. We do, however, believe that your cat might be telling you that you’re hitting the right spot and that she wants you to continue scratching her butt. She’s pretty much saying “Thank you!”
2. They’re trying to transfer her scent onto you
Why do cats raise their butts when you scratch them? Cats are territorial animals and they’re big on marking their territory – even when they’re the only ones living in the apartment.
When your cat starts raising her butt and rubbing herself against the sofa, the bed, or even the table, know that she’s simply trying to mark her territory.
Now, cats have a million different ways of doing that, but rubbing their butts on different things happens to be one of them. They’re trying to spread the pheromones produced by their anal glands. They’re inviting you to swap scents with them. That might sound gross, but that’s the highest honor, nonetheless.
3. They trust you
Cats have a bad reputation for being reserved, standoffish, and untrusting of the entire human race. We, however, know that cats adore spending time with humans. They simply need more time to learn to trust them. When a cat raises her butt at you, she’s telling you that she trusts you with all of her nine lives.
More often than not, cats are conditioned to protect themselves. When cats raise their butts, they’re putting themselves in a vulnerable position although they’re scared that they might get hurt. Cats do that around people they trust because they feel safe and secure enough to put their guard down.
4. They’re ready to mate
When you’re a pet parent to a female feline that hasn’t been spayed yet, you might not be ready to hear what we’ve got to say – your precious purrincess might be ready to mate.
When female cats raise their butts, they’re trying to spread their scent and attract a mate.
They’re assuming a position called lordosis and they’re doing that because they’re in heat. They’re not trying to mate with you, but they’re unable to control their body language – especially when they’re enjoying themselves.
5. They’re acting upon their instincts
Growing up, cats are typically taken care of by their mother. Whether they’re being fed, groomed, or even bathed, they associate that type of behavior with a motherly figure. When they’re all grown up, they’re known to showcase certain patterns of the same kittenish behavior – it’s an instinct to them.
Why do cats raise their butts when you scratch them? Considering that the mother cat often licks her kittens’ bottoms to clean them, your cat might be raising her butt because she’s expecting you to clean her, too. She’s bonding with you. She’s showing you that she trusts you. She’s all in.
6. They’re greeting you
We might not understand why cats raise their butts when they’re greeting you, but that’s the case with some of our four-legged friends. When you come home from work, your cat might greet you at the door by raising her butt and rubbing against your legs.
When you wake up in the morning, your cat might hop onto your bed and stick her butt in your face to give you a proper “Good morning!”
Whatever the case might be, you need to be open-minded and allow your cat to do whatever she needs to do to show you how much she appreciates you. You’re lucky she’s not throwing dead mice at your face when you wake up.
7. They’re trying to scratch an itch
Maybe she’s not trying to communicate anything to you. Maybe she’s simply trying to scratch an itch. Cats can get itchy for a million reasons, too. Whether they’re getting dirty and tangly or they’re fighting off the pesky fleas and parasites, they might be struggling to get rid of an itch.
We suggest you throw a pampering party for your cat, bathe her, groom her, and take a closer look at her skin and coat. Contact your vet on the off chance that you notice any redness, irritation, or anything out of the ordinary to ensure she’s not suffering from some sort of health problem.
8. They’re struggling with fleas
While we’re on the topic of fleas, we might as well address the elephant in the room. Cats can get incredibly itchy when they’re dealing with fleas. Contrary to popular belief, indoor cats can get fleas, too, and that’s why you always need to keep an eye out for these crawling creatures.
When you notice your cat constantly trying to scratch an itch on her butt, raising her butt for you to scratch it, or showcasing any other signs of a flea infestation, contact your vet right away.
9. They’re suffering from some sort of health problem
We do need to underline that it’s unusual for cats to raise their butts because they’re suffering from some sort of health problem. It’s common for them to do that when they’re dealing with fleas, but other than that, they’re typically communicating something.
With that out of the way, though, you might want to pay closer attention to your cat when she starts raising her butt out of nowhere. Maybe she’s doing that out of discomfort. Maybe she’s experiencing spine sensitivity or pain. Whatever the case might be, it wouldn’t hurt to contact your vet.
10. They’re showing their appreciation
Cats don’t tend to do anything they don’t want to do. When your feline friend starts raising her butt when you’re scratching her or petting her, she’s probably showing her appreciation for you. Whether you’re hitting the spot or making her happy with your presence, you’re doing something right.
She’s probably trying to get closer to you by lifting her butt sky-high and moving toward your hand. She’s enhancing the petting session by pressing against your hand and showing you that she wants you to continue doing what you’re doing. She deserves an extra long petting session for being that smart.