Mondays With Merlin by Merlin Wilde.
You’re here! Purrs. Sit yourself down and stay awhile. I have something to tell you. First: I was thrilled to receive such delightful birthday wishes on Saturday. Thank-you so much. Apparently, I’m 85 in human years, but 17 sounds so much younger don’t you think? Anyway, on to more important things like this week’s dollop of wisdom. Come a little closer. That’s right. Closer. Let me get a good sniff of you and rub up against you because…
That’s right. What’s yours is mine. Cats like to mark things with our yummy scent glands. All kinds of things: door jambs, chair legs, your sofa, your favorite cashmere sweater, shoes, other animals (yes, even dogs) and of course, you humans. It’s how we communicate: I was there. I like it. This is mine. Mwaahaha all mine!, well at least until another cat leaves their scent and then a back and forth scent email ensues. That’s more complicated and best left for another lesson like urine marking. Ditto for the other methods of communication: vocalization and body language of which we are masters of, but scent is king.
We have scent glands from head to toe. If you take a deep whiff, you can sometimes smell them on the top of our head, above our eyes, our cheeks, chin, between our front toe pads, and ahem, if you dare, our anal sacs located below and on either side of the anus. The glands release tiny chemical messengers called pheromones. They’re kind of musky smelling. When we rub against you, there’s a mutual scent exchange; but don’t take offense, we often lick your scent off. When we rub against you and other cats, it makes us feel secure, like we’re part of the same family, even if you don’t have fur!
To give you an example, when Gris Gris moved in last year he cleverly scent-marked the door jamb by the bedroom, a primo spot since it’s the human’s favorite room and has a food station next to it. He marks it every single day and Layla doesn’t have the heart to wash off the large brown patch. It makes him feel secure and it also helps guide me into the bedroom.
The best thing of all? Even blind old bats like me can do it. In fact, marking stairs and furniture helps me find my way, rather like “scent Braille”. So, the next time your cat comes rubbing their furry head or paws on you, be happy because you belong to us.