Have you ever wondered why cats lift their butts when scratched? Cat owners will be very familiar with this phenomenon, known informally as “elevator butt.” According to vets, this position — chest lowered and booty in the air — is a sign that your feline is giving your pats an A-plus.
Having a cat tushie in your face doesn’t sound like a proper thank you for those back scratches, but your cat’s actually trying to tell you that you’ve hit a good spot. While each cat may have its own preferred “petting spot,” many enjoy being scratched right at the base of their tails. A few good rubs there is usually all it takes before the elevator begins its (adorable!) ascent.
However, if you have a female kitty who hasn’t been spayed, “elevator butt” could be a sign that she’s ready to mate. The proper name for this stance is lordosis, and cats adopt it when they’re in heat. Make sure you keep your tabby indoors if she hasn’t been spayed, as she can become pregnant if there are unneutered males nearby. When your feline is in estrus — aka capable of conceiving — she may be more affectionate and drop into this position every time you pet her.
Apparently, the instinct to adopt “elevator butt” is ingrained in a cat from birth. When your cats were just wee little kittens, they had to lift their heinies so Mom could clean them. As a result, they reflexively stick their bum in the air when you pet them in that area.
Felines can also transfer their scent via anal glands, so when they raise their tush, they’re actually inviting you to verify that they’re a member of the family and to swap scents. As icky as that sounds, it’s apparently one of the highest honors a cat can bestow on its doting owner.
So the next time you have a tuchus in the face, just know that your cat loves you very much!
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Woman’s World.