My cats act weird when I sniff them???

abufish

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This sounds a little weird but we noticed by accident that my cats act weird when we make the "sniffing" sound near them.


The sound we make is more like heavy breathing or sniffing, as if we are blowing the nose without hand holding the nose.

The cats would seem a little nervous (not sure), they would stand up if they were lied down, sometimes sniff back, they would meow, wondering around the person, or run away. One of my cat lies on his belly and meows.

What does all these mean? We are very curious what the cats are thinking. Do they believe we no longer recognize them if we "sniff" them? I tried to "sniff" my neighbor's cat who is always friendly, he ran away when I did that...

Anyone have a clue or similar experience?
 
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abufish

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LOL, it maybe true. I always want to understand their language but there's always something you can't find an answer
 

pekoe & nigel

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I remember a thread awhile back about someone noticing their cat reacting strangely when they "panted" at them. Maybe it's something similar in cat-language?

ETA: The panting thread is located here.
 

cheylink

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The actual sound and action of sniffing is an aggressive scent acknowledgment. Although they are comfortable with you, if you sniff them they may become slightly alert or defensive since it is what cats do when they are unfamiliar with another's scent. Basically they reconfirm their familiarity this way. I actually am very guilty of playing around with Maia trying different cat behaviors and movements to see how she responds. If you crawl across the floor on all fours, I guarantee you get another different reaction! I f they ever get very upset by this or the sniffing, just lie down on your tummy or back, this is a sign of submission.
 
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kalikat

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I tried it and got no reaction. She just wondered why I was so close & pawed my arm.
 

chloe anto

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My Kitten bites me when I do it, but she regrets it when she licks me where she bit me, but I still love her <3
 

nessie

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Omg my cat does this, too! I noticed her making that exaggerated sniffing noise when I unwrapped an ice cream bar, and since her head was close to my face, I decided on a whim to imitate her sniffing noise as I smelled her forehead. She seemed to become defensive and kind of angry! Her ears went back and her eyes went big, then she ran away from me. I have no idea why she does this.

She doesn't seem to care if I make that noise as long as I'm not close to her. It's only when I've got my face close to her (whether it's her head or her body) and sniff like that that she seems to get mad/scared.
 

C2k

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I know this is old, but imma bump it.

cheylink cheylink gave a good comprehensive answer. I feel like it might be a predator thing. Like how a bear sniffs something it's attacked/going to attack. Is that what an aggressive scent acknowledgment is?
 
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