top of page

The one thing your cat leaves behind that you shouldn't clean up

There are so many things to love about having a cat, and there are so many things that they do that are so wonderful. One of the most wondrous things is when your cat rubs against you, they are scenting you with their smell to make you part of their social group and co-mingle your scents - a high honour indeed.

Scent is far more important for cats than for humans and our cats rely on scent in their environment to recognise group members (you!) and to recognise familiar resources. It also gives them a sense of comfort, familiarity and belonging.

We have all seen that our cats will repeatedly rub their faces off door frames, kitchen chairs, desk chairs and other corner items in our homes. This is known as facial rubbing, cats do this because they have many scent glands in their cheeks and under their chin and they are depositing these scents on areas they rub against. They are making their home more homey and familiar for themselves!

If you have more than one cat this may also be a way that your cats communicate with each other. But over time this repeated rubbing can leave an oily black residue that we may be tempted to clean off. When we clean this, it may be distressing for our cats because their environment is no longer familiar. Behaviourists suggest that it may be like us coming home to a house with completely different furniture or a different layout!

So if you can live with these brown marks I encourage you to do so, or if you do feel compelled to clean them, do so in rotation so that they are not all suddenly gone, which may be distressing for your cat.

40 views0 comments


bottom of page