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smelling butts

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I fell really silly asking this, but.... why do cats smell each other's butts? I have 3 indoor cats, and 2 seem to do this all the time. They haven't been doing this since they were kittens together, it just started a few months ago.
post #2 of 14
Cats have scent glands there and that is why they sniff each other to identify each other. They also have scent glands in their pads of their feet so when they scratch they are leaving their mark.
post #3 of 14
Don't feel silly! I believe I asked the same question once before! I was told that it's the feline way of handshakes. Where or not it's true...I don't know, but that's what I was told. I've noticed that dogs do that also & my dog will do that to our cats once in a while.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hissy, do you mean that they don't recognize each other just by looking at each other?
post #5 of 14
As far as I know, cats don't recognize by sight; they can't really focus up close. I even read that they can't distinguish between human faces, they go by scent.

Often, when a cat comes back from the vet, it's scent has changed and the other resident cat won't recognize them and become aggresive because they think it's a stranger.
post #6 of 14
Glen is right, cats can't see what is right in front of them, they have periphreal vision. That's why their sense of smell is so acute. They identify each other by smell mostly and by sounds. If you have two cats and you take one to the vet and bring it home, oftentimes, the cat that stayed home, will attack the one who has been to the vet. The reason is the vetted cat has picked up the scent of the vet office (all the stress pheremones in the air) plus the cat is stressed itself changing its scent. You can either bathe both the cats in the same mild and safe soap, or put vanilla extract on the base of the tails and under their chins to neutralize their scents.
post #7 of 14
Amber does this to Magellan! She will really stick her nose in there good! then he walks away...
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by glentheman20
As far as I know, cats don't recognize by sight; they can't really focus up close. I even read that they can't distinguish
I had heard that, too. I also heard that sometimes when you just get out of the shower your cat may not recognize you for a short while for that reason - you don't smell the same.
post #9 of 14
I always thought smell/noise are their primary way of identifying people/things, but vision is second....meaning like they know it's you by sight, but confirm it is you with smell...

my Roxy sits on the edge of the tub while I take a shower, then talks to me once I get out, she definetly knows it's me, even though my scent has changed...

my cats looks me right in the eyes when I talk to them or they meow at me? does this mean the vision versus scent thing is only for ojects that are really close to them ???( when one cat walks by another I often see them do this..)
post #10 of 14
If that's the case then, can't they recognize a human by his or her voice? I mean, if their sense of hearing is that keen
post #11 of 14
Yeah, the limited vision applies to close up. I've noticed that when I put a treat down Snowball will sort of poke around a bit because she can't see right in front of her. A cat's eyes specialize in detecting movement (to track prey), so they never developed the need for up close focus.

I would guess that cats recognize us by sight the same way we recognize by hearing; I can sort of distinguish Snowball's meow, but could be easily fooled by another cats meow. So, you're probably right, they confirm by scent and get a general sense of who we are by sight.

I know they can recognize our voices. Snowball can actually differentiate between different engine sounds; she knows when my car pulls into the garage.
post #12 of 14
fuuny I have droped treats right in front of their faces too and they don't seem to know where there are until they sniff around for it a little bit! I gues now I know why!
post #13 of 14
I've had to point out where a treat was, too, after dropping it in front of them.

We have one cat that just stares at me a lot. She'll be real intent, like she is trying to determine if I'm friend or foe. But I have heard that vision isn't a dog or cats best sense, but rather smell and hearing. My mom has a dog, that when introduced to a new person will follow them around trying to sniff them, but run the second they turn around. She's also an occassional human behind sniffer. (Glad the cats don't try that.)

One thing I've noticed, dogs seem more interested in sniffing a cats behind, than cats seem towards sniffing a dogs rear.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally posted by rfox
Amber does this to Magellan! She will really stick her nose in there good! then he walks away...

Haha your' amber cat looks almost ecxactly like my cat bud, those kinds are the best looking cats around lol. I haven't noticed too much amongst cats, but I have noticed that dogs seem to sniff cats butt's alot.
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