Some cats love their owners’ feet and sniff, bite, and lick them. Since feet are not always pleasant, some of us are bothered by this obsession.
Cats have the Jacobson organ, which allows them to sense scents and pheromones produced by their feet. They also feel comfortable with their owner’s smell, emitted through the scent glands. Many cats also attack their owners’ feet to play or improve their hunting skills. When cats detect foreign scents, they rub their cheeks against their feet and transfer their scent to mark their territory.
Cats attach to their feet because they are one of the most accessible body parts to show affection. The sweat glands in our feet reveal much about us and where we’ve been.
But feet are extremely sensitive, and overzealous cats can inflict pain by biting or scratching them. Even if your cat’s obsession is primarily instinctual, you need to set limits on it.
Why Do Cats Like the Smell of Feet?
Human feet have about 250,000 sweat glands that produce a quarter of a liter of sweat daily.
Even though humans can’t smell their own scent, cats can. They can identify their owners by the pheromones they emit through their sweat.
Cats have over 200 million scent receptors in their nose. Therefore, their sense of smell is a lot better than ours.
The smell of the owner is concentrated mainly on the feet. This makes a cat feel comfortable and place itself near its owner’s feet, feeling happiest, safest, and most relaxed.
In addition, bare feet pick up scents from the ground that provide information about where the owner has been.
Cats have a unique organ on the roof of their mouth, called the Jacobson’s organ, that allows them to detect scents and pheromones in the air.
This helps cats detect familiar smells and gives them information about the animals and people in the environment.
Unfamiliar smells interest cats, so they sniff their owners’ feet to learn more about their adventures.
Do not be alarmed if your cat is unhappy with what she perceives. After all, she may be jealous and react aggressively to the smell of another cat or prey animal.
You may also notice that your cat sits near or sniffs your shoes when you take them off.
The reason is the same. Your shoes contain your scent, especially if you wore them without socks.
Also, the shoes contain pheromones that tell a story about you that your cat would like to know.
Why Does My Cat Lick My Feet?
If your cat licks your feet, be prepared for an unpleasant experience.
A cat’s tongue has hooks pointing backward that act like a comb. It brushes through the fur to keep it clean and remove dead strands.
Let’s discuss the most common reasons a cat will lick your feet.
Licking is a sign of affection and is not limited to a specific body part. We show our appreciation for cats by petting them.
They return their love to us by licking us.
This act dates back to kittenhood when their mothers lick them to nurture them and show affection.
When your cat is near your feet, it licks them first. It is also the body part most accessible to cats, as they are located at the bottom of the feet.
Cats are intuitive and can sense our moods. When they feel we need cheering up, they respond by licking us to show how much they like us.
Licking can make us feel less anxious as feel-good hormones are released to calm and soothe us.
Since cats can sense good moods, they know when we need cheering up.
Cats use their tongues to mark their territory and claim their owner as part of it.
By licking your feet or another part of your body, your cat communicates to all other animals that you are off-limits. This happens because your cat’s saliva transmits her scent, which other cats can smell.
This can cause problems if you have a multi-cat household with multiple cats fighting for your attention.
You should give equal attention to both cats so that neither gets jealous. Separating food, water, and sleeping space is also an effective way to avoid problems.
Cats lick their owners’ feet to teach them how to groom themselves.
Of course, humans don’t keep themselves clean this way, but cats see us as big, clumsy cats. They assume that this information is helpful to us.
Grooming is a learned behavior passed down from the mother cat.
Your cat recognizes you as part of the family. The cat will lick your feet or other body parts to show these maternal behaviors and groom you.
This is one of the greatest compliments your cat can give you.
Stress Or Anxiety
Stressed or anxious cats may respond to these feelings by licking their owners excessively.
Licking releases endorphins that relieve anxiety and provide relief to troubled cats.
However, constant licking can be a compulsive behavior and become a habit if you don’t stop it.
If your cat won’t stop licking your feet, you need to find out what is causing your cat’s stress.
Medical conditions, changes in the household, or a new cat in the neighborhood are all factors that make a cat anxious, especially if the new cat is larger and more dominant.
Pheromone sprays and diffusers will make your cat feel calm, safe, and relaxed when he shows signs of anxiety.
They work by releasing a man-made version of your cat’s pheromones that only your cat can smell.
Why is My Cat Rubbing Her Face On My Feet?
Your cat has scent glands on the sides of her head. These glands contain pheromones that contain your cat’s unique scent.
When your cat smells foreign scents from places you have been with bare feet, she will replace them with her own scent, thus reclaiming her territory.
She does this by rubbing her face and body against your feet, thus transferring her unique scent back to you.
However, when a cat rubs its face against your feet, it’s not just a territory marker. It is also a sign of security.
If your cat likes you and wants you in her pack, she will leave her scent on your feet and other body parts as an invitation. Other cats can smell this and accept you as part of the pack.
A cat’s scent is also designed to last long and be noticeable even when your cat is not with you.
Why Does My Cat Sleep On My Feet?
Your feet are your cat’s comfort zone. Their scent can help a cat feel less stressed and more relaxed.
When a cat settles to sleep, she is most vulnerable. So when she is near your feet, she feels safe and comfortable.
However, there are many other reasons your cat sleeps near your feet. It has more to do with where they are located than the limbs.
The foot of the bed is probably closer to the bedroom door. This means your cat can keep a close eye on what’s going on outside the room. It also allows her to escape quickly if needed.
Your cat is also less likely to be disturbed by your feet, as you are usually more likely to move your upper body back and forth at night.
If you move a lot while sleeping or need some time to get comfortable, your cat will settle down where it can’t be easily awakened.
While cats like to sleep next to a warm body, your feet will cool them down, preventing them from overheating at night.
Since human body heat is mainly in the middle of the body, most cats know to avoid this area during bedtime.
Why Do Cats Attack Feet?
It can be unpleasant if a cat pounces on your feet while lying in bed. Your cat usually wants to play, but sometimes it hones its hunting techniques, and your poor feet are the day’s catch.
Cats attack feet because of their instincts. Cats hunt things because it is their second nature to hunt.
Some cats have a strong hunting instinct. And when they see moving feet, their hunting instincts are triggered, causing them to attack.
Kittens are especially prone to these instincts because humans tend to encourage aggressive play.
Because kittens’ claws are soft and short enough to cause minimal damage, they are encouraged by their owners to attack feet for fun.
But as kittens grow and develop hard, sharp claws, these games become a problem, and your cat can no longer tell it’s being naughty.
Cats like human feet. They have the ideal shape and size to catch them.
Cats are solitary hunters, at least, and stalk small prey like birds and mice, so feet are easy prey.
And most cats enjoy attacking or biting your feet while you sleep.
They see it as part of a fun game, especially if you join in by wiggling your toes or hiding your feet under the covers.
However, it’s important to remember that your cat may also attack your feet out of boredom.
If your cat lacks stimulation from toys or the outside world, he may use your feet as an outlet to release energy.
So, offer your cat more opportunities to play.
How to Keep Cats from Attacking Feet
Even if your cat is playing, she can become overly aggressive and cause painful bites and scratches. When this happens, it’s only natural that you want to stop it.
You can get your cat to stay off your feet in many ways. Try the following tips:
- Ignore the behavior. Keep your feet still, and do not encourage your cat to attack.
- If your cat starts to attack, distract him with his favorite toy.
- Hide your feet under the covers so your cat can’t reach them.
- Wear thick socks or slippers to prevent your feet from being bitten or scratched.
- Say no firmly and sternly every time your cat attacks your feet.
Repeating the above steps will teach your cat to stop attacking your feet.
This behavior will stop over time. However, you must be consistent to prevent it from becoming a permanent problem.
Summary: Why Do Cats Like Feet?
The next time your cat is interested in your feet, remember that she likes you and wants to learn more about you.
New, unfamiliar smells can make your cat jealous. So it shouldn’t be surprising if she suddenly becomes more interested in your feet if you’ve been walking around without shoes.
This is normal, but if your cat is territorial and prone to outbursts of aggression, you should wash your feet before your cat can sniff them.
This will help you to remove any odors that could serve as a trigger.