By nature cats are hard to read. They’re not like dogs, hopping around with joy when you walk in the door, or slinking away with shame when caught eating the garbage. No, cats have mastered an expression of almost disdainful indifference that they seem to wear regardless of their mood.
However, as any spinster will tell you, a cat’s affection is obvious when its purring and rubbing its face and body against your leg. It’s like the animal is giving you a little kitty hug the only way it knows how!
The problem with that, though, is when cats rub up against their owners, it has nothing to do with affection at all, but instead is kitty’s way of claiming you as its property.
I own you, motherfucker!
Cats, like many other animals, are packed full of pheromone-oozing scent glands that are primarily used to communicate with other cats on such hot topics as identity, sexual availability and territorial ownership. The most active and important glands that a cat uses to send these messages are located on the tail, the side of the body and the face. Thus, when a cat rubs up against your legs or slides its face along your hand, it is engaging these glands in order to leave its unique scent on you.
That scent in turn communicates to any other animals in the vicinity that not only is it, say, female and horny, but that you, the human, belong to her. When a cat brushes against your legs, it’s less a furry hug and more of a prison yard tattoo. One that reads, “Owned By: Mittens” and, “Single Siamese Female, 8, seeking uncut Tom for a romp in the alley.”