There are a couple of things that we were told not to do in public as kids by our parents. For example, not to pick our noses, adjust our undies, smell our armpits or burp loudly.
I just my cat must have gotten a different upbringing from his mother because he loves to nuzzle my armpits.
Before you start jumping to conclusions about my personal hygiene, I am very particular about cleanliness so no, I don’t smell like day-old tuna.
So why does my cat nuzzle my armpit then?
Some cats tend to nuzzle their owner’s armpit because they enjoy the smell of that body part. Cats are also drawn to the warmth and your underarms can get rather hot at times. Don’t be surprised to find your cat cuddling up to you by trying to nuzzle into your armpits.
In this article, we will take a closer look at why some cats have a rather intimate affair with their owner’s armpits and should something be done about it?
Why Does My Cat Bury His Face In My Armpit?
If your cat has been nuzzling his nose or head into your armpits, here are some reasons that might explain such an adorable behavior.
Your Cats Likes The Smell
You might think that your armpit smells like a mouldy piece of cheese but your cat is thinking otherwise.
To deeper understand what would make your cat obsessed with your armpit, you need to ‘smell’ it from your cat’s point of view.
Cats have a very different sense of smell compared to humans. Cats communicate primarily through scent and their noses are made for this purpose. They have scent glands located at many different places of their body that they can use to mark their scent.
A cat’s nose consists of 200 million odor sensors allowing them to pick up on smells that are undetectable by humans.
Think of your armpits as your own scent gland.
We have something called the apocrine sweat glands in our armpits. The purpose of these glands is to help us regulate our body’s response to emotional stress. It produces a liquid that is rich in protein and fats when we feel stressed out.
The apocrine sweat glands also secret pheromones that act as a territorial marker.
These days, we claim our territories by building fences and walls instead of rubbing our armpits on objects to warn off trespassers.
It could be that your kitty likes the smell of your pheromones and finds it very intriguing compared to the other cats.
Your Cat Likes The Taste
You might find it hard to believe but your cat nuzzles your pits because it might actually like the taste of your armpits.
As mentioned above, the apocrine glands secrete a liquid that is rich in protein and fats. This is something that your at is able to smell even before licking your armpits.
This is due to the Jacobson’s organ in your cat’s mouth that allows it to taste the scent particles found in odors.
It is said that many cats are drawn to plastic bags due to the presence of animal fat that is used in the manufacturing process.
If cats can smell that in plastic bags, they can smell the protein and fat in your armpit sweat.
I know it sounds kinda gross but definitely not to your cat when it is licking under your arm.
Your Cat Likes The Warmth
Cats are naturally drawn to warm places to their higher body temperature. A cat’s core temperature ranges from 100.4 – 102.5 F which is a few degrees higher than a human’s.
This means that they are more susceptible to heat loss and need to keep warm most of the time.
Your armpits are one of the warmest areas due to the lack of airflow and skin folds. When your kitty nuzzles your armpits, it could be trying to keep warm.
This can happen more during the winter months when the room temperature can drop drastically.
Cats can regulate their body temperature via their ears by controlling the amount and speed of blood flow to that area.
However, when it gets too cold for them, your warm armpits might just be the ideal heat source for them.
If you have an old cat or a kitten, you might see them do this more often as they are not able to regulate their body temperature well.
Having additional blankets for your cat during the winter months would be a good way for it to keep warm instead of using your armpits.
Cat breeds like the Sphynx or the Corish Rex might need more help in keeping warm as they have little to no fur.
Your Cat Is Showing Affection
Your cat might be nuzzling your armpit as a sign of affection. On the contrary to what most people might think, cats are very affectionate creatures.
Even if your cat isn’t a cuddle bug, it still likes to spend time with you by just being around you.
Many cats show their affection for their owners by rubbing their faces against them. Your cat has scent glands around the check and mouth areas.
Your cat is rubbing its gums and teeth onto your armpits to imprint its scent on you. Cats do this to people that they like which means in cat language “You belong to me.”
Your Cat Is Afraid Of Something
Cats are jumpy creatures and can be afraid of things that aren’t even a threat to them, like a cucumber.
A cat’s natural reaction is to hide and make itself as small as possible when afraid. Your cat finds your armpits to be the best hiding place from whatever he is hiding from.
It might be due to a loud sound or the presence of other animals roaming outside your home that is causing your kitty to be afraid.
Your cat is feeling very safe and comforted by being close to you.
Not only do cats imprint their own unique scent on other cats, but other cats will also do likewise by kneading on the cat or grooming it.
Your cat could be nuzzling your armpits to get your smell and pheromones stuck on its fur. That is how cats remember and recognize each other from birth.
The mother cat will groom her kittens to leave her smell on them. And her kittens will knead her to leave their own scent on mommy cat.
How to Stop My Cat From Nuzzling My Armpits?
In all honesty, I don’t really see a need to stop your cat from wanting to be close to you in the form of its armpit fetish.
However, if your cat nuzzles your armpits all the time to the point of being compulsive, then it should be corrected.
Once your cat starts expressing its strong desire for your armpit, tell it firmly “No!” and redirect its attention to something else like a toy or scratching post.
You want to move your cat’s attention away from your armpits to something else more interesting.
Keep on doing this until your kitty prefers to focus its attention on something else besides your armpits.
What Not To Do?
You might think that putting a scent that your cats hate on your armpits might work as a deterrent. But we strongly advise against it.
First of all, putting stuff like vinegar and essential oils on your armpits might irritate your skin there as it is sensitive.
Secondly, a lot of scents that repel cats are also toxic to them when ingested or consumed.
Why Does My Cat Lick My Deodorant?
There might be a chemical compound or scent in the deodorant that your cat is attracted to. Deodorant contains aluminium salt thus making it salty and cats like the taste of salt.
Do note that there might be some chemicals in deodorants that can be toxic to cats hence it would be best to not let your cat ingest any of it.
I hope this article has answered the mystery of “Why does my cat nuzzle my armpit?”
As cat owners, I don’t think there is much to be worried about if your cat enjoys nuzzling in your armpits.
It is just your cat’s weird way of showing affection or seeking security and comfort just by being close to you.
The only time that you should correct the behavior is when it starts to get compulsive. Otherwise, it might be a great new way to bond with your cat.