Humans for the most part simply think of smells as either nice or unpleasant. For cats, on the other hand, smells open up a whole other world of communication. A cat’s sense of smell is a very developed and sensitive and felines use olfactory messages to communicate with each other. Cats even recognize one another by smell. A cat needs never to have seen another cat in person but only to have smelt its olfactory messages to know an amazing amount of information about it. Domesticated house cats also rely heavily on their sense of smell. In fact cats often recognize various “members” of its family more by their smell than physical appearances. After a cat has lived in a home for a good amount of time it impregnates its own smell on all the household members and considers them as part of its “colony.”
Whenever cats rub up against something or someone they are simply leaving their smell on that object or person.Though the scent our cats leave on us goes completely unnoticed by our human olfactory sense it helps our cats to feel comfortable and at home around us. You will notice that your cat will also rub up against the household furniture etc… This also is a case of the cat marking its territory.Outside the house catshave other ways of marking their territory. One is scratching objects; another is by urinating or by their droppings. All of these olfactory messages are intended for other cats and well understood.