Cat Facts #6. Each Cat Carries His Own Personal Perfume

Each cat carries his very own personal pheromone perfume. It might not smell like anything to humans since we only have somewhere between 5 to 20 million olfactory cells in our noses, but to cats – endowed with around 67 million olfactory cells – this scent is everything.

And they like to spread it around.

You already know that cats have scent glands in their paws, but they also have similar scent glands in the skin of the chin, lips, cheeks, forehead and even the tail. As each cat’s scent is unique to that cat and cat alone, this personal perfume serves as a useful way for a cat to mark something as his very own.

That’s why you’ll see your cat(s) rubbing all these parts of his body on anything and anyone he deems worthy enough to mark as his territory.

But this rubbing behavior – called bunting – isn’t just territorial, prime-real-estate-hogging greediness. Studies show that your cat’s signature pheromone perfume also serves as a calming influence, helping your cat identify territories, objects, and humans as safe and familiar. These ‘home’ pheromones reassures your cat that he belongs in that environment, as well as conveys to other cats that the space has already been claimed.

So take it as a huge compliment next time Kitty head bumps you, does figure eights around your ankles or twined his tail around your leg. You’ve just been giving a dose of his powerful pheromone perfume!

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