Cats take part in all kinds of behavior that can be seen as cute or even quirky. Feline communication methods are vastly different from ours. With this being the case, the methods that cats use to tell us something might not be what you expect.
Why do cats rub their teeth on you? When cats rub their teeth on you, this happens mostly because they are scent-marking. Your cat may also do this as a way of exploring news scents picked up on your skin or clothing.
This video shows an example of similar behavior that cats often do out of affection towards their family. Affection or show “ownership” of family members can often be a motivator for cats.
Do Cats Rub on You to Claim You?
If you’ve had a cat for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that your cat rubs up against you frequently. A cat’s face, including the teeth, are popular parts of the body involved in this behavior. What does this mean?
According to Purina, rubbing is a way that a cat transfers its scent. This motion activates the scent glands in the cat’s cheeks.
When a cat rubs its head or face on you, including its mouth, this behavior is known as bunting. Male cats usually bunt more than females. If you have more than one cat, you may find one of your cats rubbing its teeth on your after the other cat has.
Your cat rubbing its teeth on you helps show its acceptance of you. This behavior is something that you will see with cats living in groups. To put it another way, the cat is accepting you as part of its group.
Rubbing up against another animal or a person in the household is a very common behavior that has no adverse consequences. Cats lack the type of pack animal instincts that would lead to severe fights for your attention in multi-cat homes.
Can Cats Rub Their Teeth to Pick Up New Scents?
Dr. Wailani Sung, DVM, confirms that cats may rub to pick up scents. If you’ve been out of the house or around other animals, your cat will be curious.
According to Cats International, cats will actively avoid coming into contact with strange cats that might be hostile. Your cat may be trying to gauge whether cats you’ve met are threats.
If your cat picks up another pet’s scent from you, they are more likely to see the animal as being safe. When your cat is adjusting to other animals or people, having initially discovered their scent through bunting or rubbing helps.
One thing that is helpful to remember is how responsive cats are to scents. This sense is the strongest one that cats possess. Cats will use their strong sense of smell to determine another animal’s standing in the household.
Transferring scent is one of the ways that cats get used to having another feline sharing their space. If all of the cats in your household get sufficient attention, they are unlikely to have lasting problems with acceptance.
Do Cats Rub Their Teeth Against You to Get Your Attention?
Cats can rub their teeth against you as an attention-getting technique. Kellie B. Gormly from Catster considers this reinforcement.
Reinforcement can take positive or negative forms. Cats lack an innate desire to please their owners in the same way that dogs do. In most cases, reinforcement is what will make the biggest difference in your cat’s behavior.
When your car rubs its teeth against you, it has probably become accustomed to pets and other attention. Positive reinforcement is when an animal receives a reward for specific behavior. The reward is your patting the cat and giving it attention.
Once cats have become accustomed to rewards from their humans, they will repeat behavior that gives them more of this attention. Even though the behavior may seem particularly self-centered, it serves an essential purpose.
A cat that thrives on attention from its owner understands its role in the family. Paying attention to the owner and getting attention in return gives a cat a much clearer picture of its social standing in the household.
Can Cats Find Out If Other People Have Been Near You by Rubbing Their Teeth on You?
Cats can identify scents from other people by rubbing their teeth on you. This step helps cats identify the person when they encounter them by their smell. Because the cat smells their scent on you, this signals that the other person is in your group.
Other people that cats identify as being part of your social group are people your cat will make friends with. According to PetMD, cats do best with strangers if introduced to new people from an early age.
If your cat hasn’t been around a lot of people or new people are in your life, expect your cat to do more bunting and teeth rubbing when you’ve been around new people. This behavior is normal and a type of reassurance for your cat.
In some cases, cats may also rub their teeth to find out if a person they dislike has been around. Visiting children who tease or play roughly with the cat may fall into this category. Your cat can identify a non-friend easily by taking these steps.
Cats’ natural survival instincts encourage them to avoid conflict when possible. One of the ways they do this is by avoiding unsafe people or animals. Your cat rubbing its teeth on you is a non-verbal way of asking who you’ve been around recently.
Do Cats Rub Their Teeth on You to Combat Anxiety?
According to Lindsay Dodgson, cats are very sensitive to anxiety, including the fear that they pick up on from their owners.
A cat that rubs its teeth against you may be trying to gauge whether something is wrong that is contributing to anxiety that it senses. Cats can discern a lot of things by scent, including any illness or injury on your part.
Your cat may feel anxious or stressed because of loud noises or other events that they are unable to comprehend. When your cat reacts to these types of situations, they look to their owners for reassurance, which you can provide by having a calm demeanor.
Although cats lack the pack structure that dogs have, they are likely to see the humans in their lives as parent figures. Anxious cats will have much of their fear and anxiety alleviated when they see their human family members being calm.
Most cats respond to reassuring behavior from their owners when anxious. However, if your cat shows persisting signs of anxiety, you may want to have your vet check things out to rule out any problems.
Why You Cats Rub Against You Using Their Teeth?
As you have seen, cats rub against you with their teeth for many reasons that include scent-marking. A cat can also learn more about who you have been around. Your cat may rub up against you when looking for reassurance in stressful times.
Regardless of the reasons, this behavior is something that you will welcome. A cat rubbing its teeth on you is showing trust by marking you as part of its group. The cat will also have greater assurance because it can discern scents from this interaction.
Most cats that exhibit this type of behavior are behaving normally. Making sure you stay alert to signs that could signal problems is always a good practice for your cat’s health and emotional wellbeing.