Saturday, April 17, 2021

Our secret language of scent

Lucy in a cat pen is marking it, so as to make it smell right.
Lucy marking her cat pen to make it smell like home.
We can leave messages for other cats, and reminders for ourselves, with a secret language - a specialised scent called a pheromone. This is a chemical emitted from glands in own bodies among other places from our cheek and chin.

Ever thought why we cats rub our chin and cheek against something? We are marking it with this pheromone and with our own ordinary body scent (a kind of signature mix). 

If we have rubbed against our human, then that scent of human will also be there. We are making our household territory friendly by making it smell of the family - us, our humans and perhaps another resident cat (if we like him and have rubbed against him too.)

It is like a post-it note to ourselves saying "We live here: this is our home and family." Humans cannot smell this at all: nor can they usually see it.

Occasionally, if we have rubbed in the same place for a long time, our human may notice a sort of dark mark. If they are houseproud, they clean it off. This is very upsetting.

So we have to re-mark it all over again. And again.


  1. Mom has noticesed that we "rub" just above each other on the outside of the house. Jo Jo is the shortest and then just above where she marks, Marv does and then above that Kozmo. Then Lucifer (the back cat across the street) will spray there and we start all over again! We hope you guys have a marvellously happy week!

  2. My coffee cup has been "rubbed" every morning ... among many other things, but that's what I've
    noticed with regularity.


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online