Dear Green Gato #7 – Beard Buddies

Cat Care With ManDear Green Gato,

I have a question about a very weird cat habit that I’ve noticed in my cat, Simon. I’ve had Simon ever since he was a little kitten. I actually found him when he was really young and have basically raised him since he was roughly four months old. We are clearly very bonded, and he is my “furbaby,” as you say. Whenever I’m hanging out with Simon, he does the weirdest thing. He seems to be overcome with love for me and rubs his face all over my beard. It’s really cute, and I’ve seen videos of other cats doing the same thing, but I’m just wondering where he picked up such an odd habit.

It almost seems natural to him. I don’t mind it, but could you tell me why Simon is so obsessed with rubbing his face on my beard?

– Sam G.

Dear Sam,

I can only imagine how funny little Simon looks when he’s rubbing his face on your beard. I have also seen some videos of cats exhibiting this comical form of affection, and it almost makes me want a beard (almost). You can certainly take this bizarre behavior as a sign of your cat loving you, if that was any question. As we’ve discussed before on Green Gato, cats are intrinsically-motivated and usually do what they do for personal gain. However, when it comes to beard-rubbing, you could consider it mutually-beneficial.

What your cat is likely doing when they rub their face on your beard is “marking you.” Cats are territorial creatures, and have many scent distributing glands on their face. When your cat rubs their face on you, whether it be your leg, arm, or beard, they are claiming you as their own. Simon wants the rest of the world to know that you are his human, and rubbing his scent glands on you is the only way that he knows how.

Another reason that he might be beard-rubbing is that it just feels good. I don’t know about the specifics of your beard, Sam, but I’m assuming that it is somewhat bristly. Your beard might just feel so good on your cat’s face that he can’t get enough. This behavior is safe and creates a bond between the two of you. Just make sure that you’re washing your beard thoroughly so you’re not walking around with cat-face germs all day! Have fun with Simon, your weird beard-loving cat.

-GG

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