Why Does My Cat Rub Her Face on Everything?

By Phil / September 16, 2018
Why Does My Cat Rub Her Face on Everything

You’re not alone if while observing your cat you’ve wondered, “Why does my cat rub her face on everything?

Seeing a cat rubbing their face on items of furniture around the home, like chairs and table legs, or even bins, doors, and just about any item or object, and even you is perfectly normal.

So, why do cats rub their faces on things?

In a nutshell, they are leaving their scent everywhere using the glands in the sides of their faces, their necks, chins, ears, and even their tails.

This is also called bunting, headbutting, and marking. It’s very common. If you’ve not actually noticed your cat doing it, just observe them while they’re walking around and you’ll see them bunting things.

There are a couple of main reasons why they do this, as I can explain:

They Are Letting Other Cats Know Their Territory

They Are Letting Other Cats Know Their Territory

Cat’s have daily routines around their homes where they check what’s new, and rub their faces all over to renew their scents.

This is to warn off any other cats from their territory. Other cats can detect the scent that’s been left behind and will be well aware of areas that have been claimed.

This is also a common practice outside the home. Although cats use a lot of other marking techniques like scratching, spraying and burying their feces outdoors (thankfully they don’t do this indoors!).

Anyone who has a male cat will be well aware of how they spray to mark their territories. It’s one of the less desirable cat behaviors for cat owners to deal with, especially when they do it around the home.

Interestingly, males rub objects more than females as discovered in studies published in the Canadian Journal of Zoology (source).

But the reasons for both male and female cats rubbing their scents on objects around the home is the same.

They Are Showing You Love (Embrace It)

They Are Showing You Love (Embrace It)

When your cat rubs their face on you they are not just marking you with their scent, they are showing you how much they love you.

Don’t believe me? See if a cat that your not familiar with is comfortable enough to rub their scent on you.

Don’t be offended if your cat doesn’t rub on you by the way. Not all cats do this with their owners, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love you!

It comes down to a cat’s individual personality. Some cats like to lick and nibble on their owners, some wouldn’t even get close enough to do either of these.

You should have a good understanding of how close and snuggly your cat likes to get with you, so these behaviors should be making sense.

Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You?

Why Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You

If your cat is rubbing their teeth on you rather than the corner of their faces, it’s for all the same reasons as I’ve outlined above. They are leaving their scent and showing you some affection.

Cats have glands in their mouths called “Perioral Glands.” By rubbing their teeth on you they are able to reach these glands and mark you with their scent.

So, while the drawbacks are fishy breath and a bit of saliva. The positives are that your cat is showing you they love you and marking you up as a possession they don’t want other cats to enjoy.


There you have it.

A couple of the main reasons why cats rub their faces on things around your home. Hopefully, this has helped you better understand your cat and this not so curious behavior now.

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