Thursday, October 17, 2013

Scents and Sensibilities

Time to answer some Minion Mail.

Due to privacy concerns, I usually answer Minion Mail in private messages. However, it sometimes happens that I receive a question that the answer of which benefits the entire Universe thingy. What follows is an example of just such a question.

Dear Most Wise and Wonderful Cujo, Supreme Ruler and Grand Poobah Thingy of All Universes, Both Known and Unknown, Smacker of All Things Gray and Whiny, Slayer of Squirrel Thingies, Menacer of Mice, Tormentor of Two leggers and Slayer of Stupidity.
      As an avid reader of your blog thingy, I have often been the beneficiary of your words of wisdom. Your advice and knowledge have helped me immeasurably in my relationship with my feline mistress, Winky. Your post about feline body language was especially helpful.
    Now for my question: Winky seems to spend an inordinate amount of time rubbing against stuff. She rubs her cheeks over every piece of furniture, she rubs her face on my pillows and bedding, she rubs her entire body against my legs whenever I attempt to walk anywhere in my home. I have provided her with many scratching posts and combs to groom herself with, but this seems to go beyond simple self-grooming behavior. 
Is this another form of silent communication?
     I eagerly await your sage reply,
                           Marcy McAnoodle

Dear Marcy,
    First of all, I thank you for your kind and accurate praise.
Your presumption that Winky's behavior is another form of non-verbal communication is spot on. However, this behavior is not a case of body language, it is a case of chemical communication.

Many four leggers, especially felines, use chemicals that their bodies secrete to leave messages to themselves and others.

These chemicals are known as "Furrymones".   

Furrymones are excreted from a variety of locations within the feline anatomy. The furrymone utilized depends upon the message that the cat wishes to convey. These messages can range from the very simple, to the very complex.

The vast majority of feline furrymones are basically conveying one simple message: "This belongs to me. It does not belong to you. You may think it belongs to you, but you would be wrong, because it belongs to me. It may have belonged to you at one time, but it no longer belongs to you. It now belongs to me. I may never use it again, but make no mistake, it still belongs to me.". This particular furrymone is secreted from a gland thingy located on the cheeks. It is also known as a "Furry-mine" .

Another furrymone is excreted from the top of the head. A cat will apply this by ramming its head forcefully into anyone it recognizes as being part of its immediate family. This is commonly known as "Headbonking". Unlike other furrymones, this one is used exclusively on other individuals and never on inanimate objects. Ivan however, seems to consider walls and doors to be close friends and headbonks them often.

Other furrymones can serve as more specialized messages. Here are a few examples:

A cat may appear to be shredding your furniture, however it is actually utilizing the furrymones located in glands in its paws that tells other cats in the area that this couch is worthy of shredding and all are welcome to do so.

Outdoor cats will rub against tree trunks and other landmarks releasing furrymones that serve as chemical waypoints so that they are better able to find their way home after a night of catnip-fueled carousing (Ivan uses the same method to find his way back out of closets).

Females in estrus use furrymones to alert males in the area that they are open to mating and procreation. Much the same way that female two leggers use the phrase "Omigosh! I'm so drunk!".

I have even used a very specialized furrymone to convince Ivan that the male two legger was hiding a bacon sandwich in his sock. To this day the male still walks with a slight limp.

Finally, if you should witness a cat dragging its nether regions across a carpet or rug, it too is leaving a message. However in this case it is not a chemically-based communique.

 It is simply attempting to communicate what it thinks of your choice in floor dressing.


  1. LOL!! ""A cat may appear to be shredding your furniture, however it is actually utilizing the furrymones located in glands in its paws that tells other cats in the area that this couch is worthy of shredding and all are welcome to do so."
    You are one wise cat ComMonster Cujo!! (and thanks for sharing your feline secrets!) This is a mighty mind blowing blog thingy!!

    1. You are most welcome. My goal is to educate :)

  2. You can convince Ivan of anything can't you? One would actually think that a certain learning curve would eventually kick in…guess not in his case. Mom was laughing like crazy over your bacon sandwich ruse. Any plans for Halloween, Cujo? Bet you are the best at tricks. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

    1. It is one of Ivan's endearing qualities that he is so easily manipulated. As for Halloween, oh yes, I have plans........ :)

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