Although cats don’t always put their bums in your face, they do it enough to question what is going on. It is particularly noticeable for humans because we are inherently squeamish about toilet matters – you know what I mean. Cats don’t have the same sense of self-consciousness as humans. They are more practical than us. Scent or smell is a big part of their lives. We know that.
My immediate thought about this cat behavioural trait is that it must be to do with smell. Cats recognise us and other cats through scent.
If your cat is presenting her bottom to you, it must be to allow you to check her scent. In doing this, it must be a friendly behaviour. Through body language and scent your cat is probably saying something like “It’s me and I am friendly. You can check me out.”
It is not that far removed from ‘scent exchange”. This is when cats rub against us or other cats and in doing so they deposit their scent on us and collect our scent which is deposited on their coat. A merging of scents. A sign of friendship and to feel more friendly. A bonding exercise.
I can remember being a guest at Helmi Flick’s home near Dallas, America and her gorgeous Maine Coon, Zak, (I love that cat) presented his bottom to me while in the kitten having breakfast. Slightly embarrassed, Helmi grabbed him and turned him around. I was not all embarrassed. It was a nice thing to see.
My cat joins me while I have breakfast at the dinner table. He jumps up onto the table and walks past me, stops and fleetingly presents his bum to me before sitting down. He is just being friendly. He wants to be close to me and share our scents. He wants me to smell him and he smells me. It is like humans sharing banter: a bonding process.
So don’t be squeamish about this. It is good. As good cat guardians we have accept our cat’s behaviour. That’s our job.
P.S. Forget about those stupid cat button hole covers you see on the internet. They are absurd. They reinforce the human’s squeamishness. We need to be more robust on this matters.