What’s Yours is Mine: Cat Marking

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…

what's -yours-is mine-cat-quote-cute-siamese

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.

8 thoughts on “What’s Yours is Mine: Cat Marking”

  1. Abby rubs me constantly. She also makes sure to sit in the dominate spot when I am nearby and any of her other brothers and sisters are nearby. No one is supposed to be near me.

  2. Yup the cats around here go around marking the house which to me is very annoying. Makes the whole house stink. Mainly the guys do it but sometimes the gals. I understand why they do it so don’t get mad at them. Good information.

  3. Wow–the Woman has never noticed brown patches. Perhaps we don’t like her enough to scent that much! Of course, a lot of our scenting seems to be on doors and she wonders if they get rubbed by other things too…

  4. “back and forth scent email” “scent Braille”. Great stuff and so true about the brown marks. I reckon it makes it home.

    It’s also amazing the cat breath smells foul and then they lick themselves all over and the resulting scent is better than Chanel!

  5. I’ve come to love the “brown patches” on my door jambs and wall intersections – I know it’s part of Sam’s way of keeping his territory under his control! Love this photo of Merlin – he looks so very regal and handsome.

    Pam (and Sam)

  6. Know what Merlin? I also do the “bathing” on my Mama…she said she likes the feel of my tongue against her skin…See, I save her money. No need to buy shower gel or soap or lotion any more. Cat saliva is the best. purrr….meow!

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