Some feline instincts can seem a bit strange if the reason behind
them isn’t explained. As a cat owner it is always nice to be to have
your cat greet you at the door by rubbing his cheek against your leg. However,
one may question their cat’s devotion when he acts the same way towards
your shoes, the rug, and the doorway. While rubbing against your legs is
a greeting it is also a way for cats to spread their scent. This is a territorial
instinct that helps mark items as theirs. Cats rely on scent much more
than sight for identification. Shoes are a frequent target of rubbing as
they have their owner’s scent on them making them the perfect place
to rub. Cats in a group often rub against each other creating a group scent
that marks them as a member, and consequently shows other cats of a different
scent as intruders.
Besides purring, kneading is one of the clearest signs of a happy cat.
However, it doesn’t always make for a happy owner due to sharp claws
on skin. This rhythmic clawing stems from kittenhood as it occurred when
a kitten nursed, and helped to increase the flow of milk. As adults it’s
simply a sign of a happy cat. If possible, put down a towel or blanket
to protect yourself from your cat’s claws and let him knead. Cats
tend not to understand why you don’t want them kneading. It’s
not likely to register that claws hurt, and if they’re happy why
not let them be happy.