Cats rub their gums, teeth, and bodies against people and objects in order to mark them as theirs. This process spreads their scent on you and is used in the wild to mark territory.
The rest of this article will explain why cats do this and some other reasons this may happen.
Why Do Cats Rub Their Gums on You?
You’ve probably experienced a cat rubbing against your body. Maybe you noticed your cat rubbing their faces against you, too. Many cats will rub the whole side of their faces on the people they enjoy being around, their mouths open a little to reveal their gums.
Cat sweat glands are located on their paw pads, chin, temples, ears, and mouths. When a cat rubs against something, its sweat glands are activated, which releases pheromones to be left on whatever they are rubbing against!
Rubbing their teeth or gums on someone they love will leave deposits of pheromones. Since every single cat has different pheromones that smell entirely unique to them, this is used to mark you as theirs, specifically for other cats.
Do Cats Rub Their Gums on Other Cats?
Yes, they do! Cats often rub their bodies and mouths against other pack members to show affection. This happens all the time in the wild and even between indoor cats. It’s a sign that says, “You’re part of my family, and I love you!”
Can Gum Rubbing Be a Sign of Over Petting?
If you have been petting your cat in the same place for a long time, they may end up rubbing their teeth on you, nipping a little. This may be them trying to tell you that they are overstimulated and want you to stop!
Cats have sensitive hair follicles, so although they sometimes enjoy petting for long periods of time, they can eventually reach a point where it becomes too much for them. Since cats cannot speak to us, they must let us know how they feel in other ways.
Other signs that this is the case could be that their tail starts moving wildly or that the skin on their back starts to twitch.
Rubbing their teeth on you can be a warning sign. If you continue, this could turn into a nip or a bite if you’re not understanding. They don’t intend to hurt you in doing this but can sometimes accidentally draw blood if they bite.
If you see your cat rubbing their gums against you as you pet them, move your hand away to see what their response is. If they want to keep being petted, they may nudge your hand with their head, and maybe the previous response had been just them showing affection!
Can It Be a Sign of Curiosity?
Cats are inquisitive animals and consistently try to figure out everything around them. The best way to do this? Through all five senses. They will look at something, listen to it, touch it, and taste it.
Because of this, a cat rubbing its gums on something could be a form of curiosity. They could be trying to taste whatever it is, figuring out more about it.
Your own cat probably won’t do this to you. If you meet a new cat, such as a newly adopted kitten or a friend’s cat, they may be curious about you!
Could Gum Rubbing Be a Sign of Teething?
This can absolutely be a sign of teething in young cats! It can help alleviate dental pain. This can happen in kittens around two to four weeks old when their first set of baby teeth starts to come through.
By two months old, a kitten should have a complete set. Like small children, these baby teeth will fall out. Unlike children, kittens should have their adult teeth within three to four months.
If you see your cat having issues with dental pain, you may see that they are rubbing their gums on you. The skin is an excellent texture for teething since it is soft and easy to bite.
Can the Rubbing Be a Sign of Dental Disease?
Cats rubbing their gums on you could also signal that they may have feline dental disease. The most common dental issue is feline gingivitis, caused by the build-up of plaque on the teeth. This issue can damage the barrier between the teeth and gums if it builds up too much.
This can trigger an immune response depending on how sensitive your cat’s immune system is. Their gums can become inflamed, red, and swollen.
Another disease your cat can have is periodontitis, which is if the prior disease goes left untreated for too long and can lead to tooth loss as their gums start to deteriorate.
These will cause discomfort, which will be eased by applying pressure to their sore, swollen gums. If your cat seems to be in pain, making unnatural mouth movements and rubbing its gums against you, you should look at their gums to see if there are any issues.
If they look strange, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.
What Should I Do if My Cat Is rubbing Against Objects out Of Curiosity?
If your cat is rubbing against objects in your home and not you, this could mean that they are curious about these objects and trying to find something out.
This isn’t a bad thing and nothing personal against you! They are just curious creatures and want to know more about their surroundings.
Cats will more than likely rub against other people who enter your home to learn more about them.
What Should I Do if My Cat Is teething?
If your cat is teething, you could help them out by allowing them to rub against you – unless it hurts! They can sometimes get aggressive on accident since kittens don’t understand what may be too much.
Cats are curious, loving creatures who like to mark their humans as theirs. If your cat is rubbing their gums against you often, this is more than likely a sign of affection, them saying that they love you and that you are theirs.
There are several other reasons that your cat may do this, and it is essential to look into them if they start to rub their gums in a strange way. However, even these reasons may not be all bad; it could just be them warning you that they are overstimulated or curious about a new smell on you.
Dental issues can mean that it’s time for a vet visit. If you see your cat rubbing their gums strangely, look into the reason why. Their gums may be red or inflamed, which will be a signal to you that it is time to bring them to the vet for a checkup.
Cats are beautiful creatures with so much love to give, so you should realize that the rubbing likely isn’t a negative thing and that they simply love you a lot. Cats do this to transfer their scent to you, which will show other cats that you are theirs. It’s a huge compliment for any human.