Have you ever wondered why your cat rubs against your ankles? Cat experts will tell you that it’s a sign of affection and because they are letting you know that you belong to them. It also stimulates their pheromone glands which create a unique scent produced by each individual cat that they use to mark territory they consider belonging to them. In case you didn’t know, these glands are also located behind their ears and in their paws.
OK, cat experts, you have your opinion and I have mine. If my cats did this only when I’m sitting down or standing still, I would buy the experts’ theory, but my cats try to “take possession” of me while I’m walking, and the more breakable objects I’m carrying, the better. It has occurred to me that perhaps Mother Nature had endowed cats with this habit in order to trip-up human beings to ensure that we do not outlive our natural lifespan. Late one evening while heading from the kitchen to my bedroom, I tripped over my cat Jenna, landed flat on my face and hit my head on the bedpost. As I picked myself up nursing the lump on my forehead, I swear I heard her let out a growl that sounded like “darn it!” Also, if this is a cat’s way of marking their territory, my cats own every stick of furniture and door casing in my house.
The experts also tell us that this can also be their way of creating a bond with you, which often will extend to family members and other pet members of the family. It seems if we bend down and pet them behind the ears, this tells them that we are marking them back and that we appreciate our position which they have created (subservient no doubt).
There is also the possibility that your cat is hollering at you to get your attention. Teaching your cat not to scratch or bite is important discipline training, but this may be stripping away their ability to communicate pain, frustration or aggression. If your kitty is erratically rubbing against you and seems more forceful than usual, they may be trying to tell you something. Check for wounds or fever. This may require an excursion to the vet’s office.
If your kitty rubs against your leg and suddenly her tail curls around your leg, you are experiencing the closest we will ever come to getting a kitty hug. It’s the human equivalent of throwing your arms around family or friends.
If Miss Kitty head-butts you, this is the ultimate sign of love. Feel honored! You are the chosen one! If the ankle rubbing and head-butting end in a little “nip,” be not alarmed. This is also a sign of love. Afterall, they don’t have lips they can pucker up to kiss you with, so a little nip will do the same thing. Remember, if she wanted to hurt you, those little sharp teeth can penetrate all the way to the bone should she desire.
My cats have trained me well. I enter no room without first turning on a light and looking down. If being ankle-rubbed, I stand still. I am faithfully awake each morning at 4:30 sharp which is their preferred feeding time. My lifestyle has created an entirely different meaning to the term “cat house.”