Paul Klee---Cat With Ginger Spots Licking Itself---1905
Cat With Ginger Spots Licking Itself

Paul Klee, 1905

Cultivating Identity

For centuries, man has puzzled over the importance of one of the most distinguished and prominent feline features: the cat’s butt.  While humans understandably find it disturbing to do so among most others of their own kind, cats know one another by the scents that are produced by numerous glands located around their bodies. Importantly, the anal gland secretions are a necessary feature for feline identification.  Due to the linear positioning of the scent glands along the body, an appropriate greeting between cats would generally be fulfilled by rubbing bodies against one another front head-to-tail.  Humans do not possess the innate knowledge of this procedure and thus cats are often met with consternation when a cat greets a human in this most natural and effective manner.