You may notice your kitty enjoys being scratched on her chin and around her head. Her chin has lots of scent glands to mark you with and it's a spot that she can't groom easily herself, which is why she enjoys a good chin scratch from you.
Your kitty has scent glands located in her chin, which is why you might notice her rubbing it on anything and everything around her. These scent glands produce a natural pheromone that your kitty uses to mark territory and other pets with a calming scent. While humans can't smell this scent, your furry friend uses it as a way to identify members of her family, including you, according to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine. By scratching her chin, these pheromones get on your hand and she can smell them while you spend time with her, making for a relaxing, bonding experience.
It Feels Good
Scratching under your kitty's chin simply feels really good for your furry friend. Keep in mind that when she grooms herself, the only spots she can't lick with her sandpaper-textured tongue are on her face and head. While she cleans these areas as well as she can with her paws, having you touch these areas feels just like another kitty grooming her. This may also remind her of being groomed by her mother as a youngling. Either way, it's extremely relaxing, and most kitties appear to enjoy the contact on the chin area. In fact, a pleasant cat massage should include scratching under the chin and ears, according to VetInfo.
Sometimes the sebaceous glands on your kitty's chin can become overactive, leading to breakouts of acne, also referred to as "catne," just like in people. This acne causes bumps and even infections of the chin area that can become itchy. Your poor acne-ridden feline may then come to you and implore you for a chin scratch by rubbing her chin and head on your hand. If your kitty's chin feels greasy and bumpy, take a look to see if acne could be to blame, according to the Feline Advisory Bureau. You may also notice some blackheads and red bumps on the base of the chin. To treat your furry friend's feline acne, avoid scratching the area and bring your kitty to the vet for a checkup.
Spending Time with Kitty
Not only does chin scratching feel good to your furry buddy, but it allows the two of you to bond with each other. For this reason, you may find that your kitty regularly comes over for a chin scratch and some quality time with you. While most kitties enjoy being petted and rubbed under the chin, watch your furry friend for signs of annoyance or aggression, like her tail whipping around or growling. Some kitties are only open to short petting sessions because they can get annoyed by repetitive stroking, even if at first it feels pleasurable, recommends the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
- University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign College of Veterinary Medicine: Why Does My Cat Do That?!
- PetPlace: Why Do Cats Rub Up Against Things?
- WebMD: Slideshow: Skin Problems in Cats
- Feline Advisory Bureau: Feline Acne and Stud Tail
- VetInfo: Cat Massage: A Hands-On Guide
- VetInfo: Feline Acne
- ASPCA Complete Guide to Cats: Everything You Need to Know About Choosing and Caring for Your Pet; James Richards
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Petting-Induced Aggression
- Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images