Why Does My Cat Nuzzle My Armpit? 5 Common Reasons

Why does my cat nuzzle my armpit? Discover the intriguing reasons behind why cats love nuzzling armpits and delve into the world of feline affection.

The Science Behind Cat Nuzzling

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors, and one of the most peculiar actions they engage in is nuzzling armpits. While it may seem odd, there are actually scientific explanations behind this behavior. Understanding the science behind cat nuzzling can give us a deeper insight into our feline friends’ affectionate nature.

why does my cat nuzzle my armpit

When a cat nuzzles your armpit, they are utilizing their powerful sense of smell. Cats have an extraordinary sense of smell, with a scent receptor system that is far more advanced than ours. By nuzzling your armpit, they are able to pick up on your unique scent, which helps to strengthen the bond between you and your furry companion.

Why does my cat nuzzle my armpit?

If you’re wondering why your cat nuzzles your armpit, the following might explain the behavior.

1. Your cat likes the smell

One of the most common explanations here is that cat likes the smell of your underarms. Since felines have a heightened sense of smell, they can easily pick up the odor of your armpits.

Our armpits have the so-called apocrine sweat glands. This releases a smelly sweat since it’s full of proteins and fats. If we are going to compare it to cats, our armpits serve as our scent glands. It releases a unique smell that our cats recognize. Read here about what smell do cat hates the most.

why does my cat nuzzle my armpit

2. Your cat is marking its territory

Cats have scent glands located on various parts of their body, including their cheeks, chin, and paws. These scent glands produce pheromones that are unique to each individual cat. When a cat nuzzles your armpit, they are essentially marking you with their own scent. This scent marking behavior is a way for cats to claim you as part of their territory and establish a sense of ownership.

This behavior is particularly common among cats who have a strong bond with their owners. By leaving their scent on you, they are essentially claiming you as part of their territory and reinforcing the bond between you.

It’s important to note that nuzzling is not exclusive to armpits. Cats may also nuzzle other parts of your body, such as your face, hands, or legs, for the same territorial and bonding reasons.

3. A display of affection

Cats are known for their independent nature, but they also have a softer side when it comes to showing affection. Nuzzling armpits can be a display of love and affection from your feline companion. By nuzzling you, they are expressing their deep bond and trust in you. It’s their way of saying ‘I love you’ and seeking closeness.

Some cats are very clingy and will be sad when left home alone for a while. This behavior is often accompanied by purring, kneading, and rubbing against you, which further reinforces their affectionate intentions.

If you have a kitten, your armpit might be reminding it of its fur momma. Don’t be surprised if the kitty will start to suckle, make biscuits, and nip on your underarms. Please read here why is kitten so mean

4. Your cat is scared and is seeking comfort and security

Another reason why cats nuzzle armpits is to seek comfort and security. Armpits create a warm and cozy spot for cats to snuggle into, providing them with a sense of safety and protection. The softness and warmth of your armpit can be comforting to a cat, especially when they are feeling anxious or stressed. Nuzzling your armpit allows them to feel close to you and find solace in your presence.

This behavior is similar to how kittens nuzzle against their mother’s belly for warmth and security. Nuzzling armpits is a way for adult cats to recreate that feeling of comfort and safety. The pheromones released during nuzzling can have a calming effect on cats. It helps them feel more secure and relaxed, especially in unfamiliar or stressful situations.

Your cat is scared

Keeping the kitty relaxed is important to prevent this scenario. If your cat is afraid of loud sounds, you should take it to an enclosed room with its favorite toys. You can also try spraying some cat pheromone to calm it down. Read here on how to calm a kitten.

5. Your cat is mimicking social behavior

Cats are social animals, and they often mimic social behaviors as a way of bonding and communicating. Nuzzling armpits can be seen as a mimicry of the behavior seen between cats in a social group. Cats in a group often engage in mutual grooming, which involves nuzzling and licking each other’s fur. By nuzzling your armpit, your cat is essentially grooming you and strengthening the social bond between you.

This behavior is more commonly observed in cats that have a strong social bond with their owners. It’s their way of including you in their social circle and treating you as part of their feline family.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean a cat rubs its head on you?

Head butting or bunting is a widely observed behavior among cats. They do this to leave their scent to the person as a way of taking ownership. Also, a cat that does this trusts and likes you. It’s their way of showing their affiliation to you and recognizing you as a member of their family.

What does it mean a cat rubs its head on you

On the other hand, cats love rubbing their heads to their owners to get attention. The cat probably wants something like food, affection, and playtime. 

Read more: why does my cat shake his head

Why does my cat sniff and lick my armpit?

This means that your cat finds the smell of your underarm delicious. You might be using a product with a smell that appeals to your pet. Also, the taste of sweat is attractive to cats since it’s salty. Do cat like salt?

If you want to stop your cat from licking your armpits, you can use a citrus-scented product. Many cats hate the citrusy scent and they often stay away from it.

Why does my cat leave its mouth open after sniffing my armpits?

Did your cat ever sniff your armpit and flash a shocked, open-mouthed expression? Before you get offended, you should know that this is something to do with your pet’s sense of smell.

Cats experience the so-called Flehmen response triggered by their vomeronasal organ, also known as the Jacobson’s organ. Your cat opens its mouth after sniffing to flick their tongues and funnel the scent into this organ.

Why does my cat leave its mouth open after sniffing my armpits

Aside from that, cats use their nasopalatine canals as a pump for the Jacobson’s organ. By opening their mouth, cats will have better access to the scent so they can process it further. In short, your cat is performing extreme sniffing on your armpits.

So why do cats do this? The Flehmen response allows cats to distinguish each smell from the other. So even if two scents seem to be alike, cats can easily identify one from the other. Take note that the Flehmen response is an involuntary movement.


Why does my cat nuzzle my armpit? Your kitty probably likes the smell and warmth of your underarms. Also, the cat might be missing you, scared, or marking you with their scent. Overall, this is a harmless behavior unless your cat is nibbling on your armpit or being too demanding. When that happens, training and setting the boundaries will solve the problem. You shouldn’t shy away from the help of professionals.

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