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Why Do Cats Like Their Butt Scratched? (7 Interesting Reasons)

Written by: Kristin Hitchcock

Last Updated on May 3, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat butt stuck in the hole of a scratching post

Why Do Cats Like Their Butt Scratched? (7 Interesting Reasons)

It’s happened to just about every cat person. You come in for some cuddles, but your cat only turns around and presents their butt. Often, cats like their butt scratched. However, cats are often confusing, complicated creatures. They may appear to present you with their butt only to get mad when you touch it! Often, whether cats like having their butt scratched or not is a matter of personal preference and nothing to be worried about.

But why do cats like their butt scratched? It seems to be an odd place to want to be petted by human standards. Below, we’ve listed several reasons your cat may like their butt scratched.

Cat ball divider 1The 7 Reasons Why Cats Like Their Butt Scratched

1. They Like It!

Cats have different preferences, just like humans. Some of these preferences include how they like to be touched and petted. Some cats like to have their butt scratched, while others like to be petted elsewhere. This isn’t a right or wrong thing. Sometimes, cats have genetic predispositions to like certain places petted. Other times, it’s a matter of environment. If their human caregiver pets them in a certain way earlier in life, they’ll likely want to be petted that way later, too.

If you want to make your cat happy, pet them where they like it. Otherwise, they may decide to go get their cuddles from elsewhere.

2. They’re Itchy

Cats often have a hard time reaching the lower part of their back. If they have an itch, they may come to you to get it fixed. If your cat normally doesn’t like their butt pet and then really does, they’re likely just itchy. Of course, there could be underlying reasons for their butt to be itchy. However, sometimes an itch is just an itch.

3. They’re in Heat

Intact female cats have instinctive matting responses that kick in when they’re fertile (aka in heat). When this occurs, they’ll often present their hind end to just about everyone. They may even try to mate with objects like table legs. Being in heat is an ordeal for many cats, so getting your cat fixed is often recommended.

When you scratch an in-heat female’s butt, it will signal her mating instincts even more. In many cases, the female will move her hind legs and want her butt scratched even more. Unlike other reasons, it is best to ignore in-heat females to reduce stimulation.

Rear part of a female cat
Photo Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

4. Skin Problems

If your cat is regularly itchy or itchier than usual, it could be a sign of a skin problem. Often, these are easy to diagnose, as you can see physical signs. If your cat’s skin is inflamed, dry, or doesn’t look normal, they may have a skin condition. You’ll often have to see a vet to get them treated.

Skin problems often get worse over time. Therefore, getting your cat treated sooner rather than later can help prevent the problem from worsening. Skin irritation can lead to excessive grooming, which leads to more skin irritation. Eventually, your feline may develop sores that won’t heal because they keep getting re-opened. Secondary infections may set in, which can be potentially deadly. In the end, getting the problem fixed sooner is always the way.

Of course, different skin conditions exist. Therefore, you’ll need an exact diagnosis from your vet, which may require running several tests. Outdoor cats are more prone to skin conditions and parasites as they come into contact with more pathogens. Cats with compromised immune systems or high-strung personalities may also be more prone to problems.

5. Swapping Scents

Cats have anal glands that hold an intensely smelly liquid. This liquid is utilized for cats to mark their territory and help them identify each other. Often, cats in the same colony will “mark” the other cat with their scent glands, which involves mutual grooming or rubbing against each other. If your cat tries to rub their butt on you, it’s often because they’re trying to mix your scents, letting others know that you’re friends.

Cats identify each other largely based on scents, so you should be honored for your cat to want you to smell like them.

young maine coon cats sniffing each other's butt
Photo Credit: Nils Jacobi, Shutterstock

6. It’s a Habit

Sometimes, cats were once itchy, but even after the itchiness subsided, they still ask for their butt to be rubbed out of habit. If your cat was petted in this manner when they were young, they’d likely keep asking to be petted in this way. It’s just how they’ve learned to be petted. Old habits die hard, and some stick with cats for their whole life. Don’t be surprised if your feline always asks for their butt scratched after a period of itchiness.

7. It’s a Kitten-Like Behavior

In many cases, cats may like their butt scratched because it reminds them of how their mother groomed them. Cats often hold onto several different kitten traits when they reach adulthood, especially if they were weaned early. Often, these behaviors aren’t a huge issue, but they can be unusual.

Once again, this behavior probably falls into the “habit” category. The cat may be used to being groomed by their mother and similarly respond to human touch.

cat paw divider


There are several reasons that your cat may like their butt scratched. In most situations, cats like their butt scratched because it feels good. They may also like it scratched purely out of habit. Female cats will present their butt when they are in heat. Stimulation will encourage their “mating behaviors” further, which often isn’t what you want. While you should generally feel no problem scratching your cat’s butt, you may consider not doing it if your cat is in heat.

Cats can get skin problems around their hind end, which may make them itchy. If your cat’s skin is inflamed or shows signs of overgrooming, you should call your vet immediately. Getting these problems fixed early is essential to avoid further problems later on.

Featured Photo Credit: Lightspruch, Shutterstock

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