Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:
I have a problem with my loving mama. Every night when she goes to bed, she has to read. I believe this is my time to get all the attention. She however doesn’t understand, why I like to back up her, with my tail raised, so I am basically rear-end in her face. She gets quite shirty and would far prefer my face and not my bottom. She will on occassion yell at me to lie down, she will ignore me in hopes I will lie my rear end down. I can’t have babies, she took care of that. But she just doesn’t understand why I do this. Are you able to explain to her why?
~ Your favourite reader, Sassy
Siouxsie: I’ll tell you something, Sassy — sometimes I don’t understand humans all that well, either. They seem to get offended at the drop of a whisker over the silliest things.
Thomas: What they don’t seem to understand is that butt presentation is one of our many forms of communication.
Kissy: It’s almost as if they don’t want to sniff our scent glands and check out our pheromones!
Siouxsie: Well, Kissy — they don’t want to sniff our scent glands.
Kissy: But if I’m showing you my butt, it’s because I totally trust you enough to put my most vulnerable parts where your teeth are! *sniffle*
Siouxsie: I know, sweetie. But humans don’t see it that way. After 16 years, I’ve come to learn that humans really do prefer the front of the kitty. I’ve come to accept this and I’m no longer offended that Mama doesn’t enjoy having my rear end in her face.
Thomas: I still put my butt in Mama’s face sometimes. I can’t help it: I’m a gentleman, after all, and I want to be as polite as possible.
Siouxsie: Okay, kits, let’s get focused here. Sassy wants us to explain to her mama why we do the butt-in-the-face thing, and perhaps how her mama can work with her to arrange a mutually acceptable form of communication.
Thomas: All right. First of all, as Kissy said, that butt-in-the-face thing is a demonstration of trust.
Kissy: And we don’t have any of those weird hangups about butts that humans do.
Siouxsie: The first thing we’d suggest, Sassy, is that your mama try not to get too offended by your display of trust and love.
Thomas: Then it’s time to develop an “I love you” message that your person likes. Our mama, for example, loves it when we rub our heads on her.
Kissy: Except for Siouxsie. Siouxsie has terrible breath!
Siouxsie: *hisss* Mama says she’s going to take me in for a dental, whatever that means, and then my breath will smell better than yours! Besides, Mama still likes it when I rub my head on her.
Thomas: Now look what you’ve done, Kissy. You made Siouxsie all upset — and that means she’s probably gonna swat me. She always swats me when she’s grumpy, even when it’s not my fault.
Kissy: Tee hee hee …
Siouxsie: Anyway! Sassy, we think you and your mama are going to have to work on developing that new communication. If your mama’s anything like our mama, she certainly won’t mind if you sit on her while she’s reading a book.
Thomas: It’s just the walking back and forth in front of the humans that aggravates them. Mama taught me how to get comfortable pretty quickly by gently pressing on my back and saying, “Make yourself flat, Thomas.” And when I curled up on her chest, she petted me and told me what a good boy I am.
Siouxsie: Your mama’s going to want to see your head more than your tail, so she should gently reposition you so that your bottom isn’t in her face.
Thomas: Some of our sources recommend that your mama blow on your bottom to get you to turn around. I suppose that would work because nobody wants a gust of cold, weird-smelling human breath on their nice clean bottom.
Kissy: So you’re going to have to be patient with your mama, and your mama is going to have to be patient with you. As you work together to establish the front-of-the-cat love, she’ll have to be very consistent and calm. Nokitty likes to be yelled at, after all.
Siouxsie: Good luck, Sassy, and we’re sorry we can’t help you teach your human to love your butt as much as you do. But as we said, come to a mutual agreement about how to say “I love you” and snuggle together while your mama reads, and you’ll both live happily ever after.