Ok. Can any one tell me why 'snuffling' at my cat enrages him?

(61 Posts)
NirvannahCrane Tue 12-Feb-13 22:38:37

If I have the cat on my lap and I make 'snuffling noises' at him, it sends him completely batshit! I don't do it very often but can anyone tell me why this is?

Is it an aggressive gesture in Cat Language or is my cat just an idiot?

Disclaimer: I know my cat is an idiot...there are many varied and wonderful reasons he is an idiot(he's currently head first in a box with his arse in the air) but is it a 'thing' cats hate??

Can you all have a close up snuffle of your cats and see if they go barmy?

I don't know what you mean by a 'snuffle noise'. And how close are you talking? And do you have your face right up to his? None of this will help me to answer your question, as I haven't a clue, I just want to try it with one of mine

Lonecatwithkitten Wed 13-Feb-13 08:54:57

My cats hate air movement across their faces - so if I blow on them. Could this be it?
Head in a box, bum in the air is just playing. Tail less wonder has her mad five minutes in the empty bath chasing around each night. Justbe glad youhave one that can amuse itself. Posh arrogant boy can only play with human interaction and then he has to take it too far and bite.

<goes off to snuffle at cat>

atacareercrossroads Wed 13-Feb-13 16:36:19

When I sneezed one of my cats used to chatter his teeth at me and stick his tongue out.

Awww.....miss my puddy cats sad

NirvannahCrane Wed 13-Feb-13 17:11:22

Snuffling is breathing in and out of your nose very shallow-ly (is that a word?) and very quickly. I do it by the back of his neck. He looks bewildered for about three seconds and then becoes instantly enraged and indignant.

Lonecat, I'm not knocking his ability to entertain himself...just marvelling at the things he finds amusing grin

Now, everyone.....go forth and snuffle the kitties! All in the name of research......

He tried to lick my face.

curlyclaz13 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:15:09

Not tried it in a while (oddly enough !) but don't think they were fans of it. Guess what I will be doing when I get home tonight ?

ratbagcatbag Wed 13-Feb-13 17:16:27

Cats currently legged it so will attempt later and report back smile

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:17:37

Mine just looked at me and went back to sleep.

HecateWhoopass Wed 13-Feb-13 17:18:10

If you did that to me, I'd be fairly indignant grin

My parents had a cat that would attack you if you whistled.

Weird creatures grin

TwllBach Wed 13-Feb-13 17:18:14

Both my dog and my cat despise me blowing in their faces it's quite entertaining

Guntie Wed 13-Feb-13 17:21:33

My cats HATE it if I snort (Pig snort) anywhere near them. Its not the air blowing on face, which they also hate, its the sound, it freaks them right out.
I often wondered why the sound freaked them out so much...

(I clearly have far too much time on my hands...)

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 13-Feb-13 17:22:58

Of course you realise all our cats have just had it confirmed to them that they are the only sane creatures in the house don't you?

bigbadbarry Wed 13-Feb-13 17:23:07

I just went and snuffled at the back of boy-cat's neck. He woke up, sniffed my nose then put his paw (no claws) on my face. Think he quite liked it (but he is very stupid). Will test his much brighter sister when she turns up later.

HecateWhoopass Wed 13-Feb-13 17:38:21

I know, fluffy grin It's funny enough that husbands, partners, kids, etc of mumsnetters generally raise an eyebrow, sigh and say "bloody mumsnet" when we suddenly turn from the computer and ask them what colour dress they'd put a penguin in, or ask if a turtle doesn't have a shell, is it homeless or naked

Imagine if we started getting a "mumsnet again?" look off the cat. grin

ParsingFancy Wed 13-Feb-13 17:45:58

'"MN again?" look off cat' has just made me properly guffaw out loud, Hecate. So it's just as well I don't have a cat or they'd be using it on me right now...

GoSuckEggs Wed 13-Feb-13 18:09:24

I love love blowing my at with a straw. He does not seem to care, well not enough to move although if i come too close he will bite me.

curlyclaz13 Wed 13-Feb-13 18:37:06

idgie cat gave me a filthy look then moved away quickly. flump is eating dinner at the mo.

crazynanna Wed 13-Feb-13 18:47:19

Crazycat thought it was just an invitation to sit part on my knee and part onlaptop...again!

She gets really scared (bendy legs and everything) if I pass wind a little too loudly blush

BoyMeetsWorld Wed 13-Feb-13 19:36:08

Best thread in ages

curlyclaz13 Wed 13-Feb-13 19:49:32

flump gave me a kiss.

MikeOxardAndWellard Wed 13-Feb-13 19:56:59

Hilarious thread :D <Goes to find random cats to snuffle at>

NirvannahCrane Wed 13-Feb-13 20:16:37

So, until the results come back in from all the folks waiting to get home, find a random cat, until the more intelligent cat comes home....... the stats suggest that, apart from the odd look of mild indignation and one or two legging it on commencement of snuffling, it's just mine that flies into an enraged fury is it? He hates it. He regularly (and I mean regularly) supplies a random hand/arm savaging if he decrees I am not paying him enough (or conversely, I am paying him too much) attention but he never goes for the face. But on snuffling, he will take a furious swipe at whatever body part happens to be closest.....he actually punched me in the nose last time.

I suspected mine was not right in his witless, furry head. I now have official, MN confirmation.

More snuffling experiments needed though, don't give up, we need results!

NirvannahCrane Wed 13-Feb-13 20:18:53

Fluffycloud I realise for all his..erm...intellectual shortcomings, he is probably a lot saner than I am. Although I have never fallen off the window sill three times in a row, having been frightened by my own tail.....

NomNomDePlumPudding Wed 13-Feb-13 20:32:45

i don't know the answer to this (perhaps if you are basically heavy breathing at the back of his neck, that's a bit ick from a cat's perspective? actually, from a human perspective too) but my old sulk used to attack your hands if you been eating an orange - trying to bite the offending scent off. never could work out whether it was kindly meant or not - she was always a bit opaque that way.

bonzo77 Wed 13-Feb-13 20:40:43

My cat just gave me a hmm face.

PetiteRaleuse Wed 13-Feb-13 20:45:47

Wonderful thread. OP you are not alone, both my cats hiss and bugger off at speed when I do that to them. Can't tell you why though, as they think snuffling at me is perfectly reasonable behaviour.

NirvannahCrane Wed 13-Feb-13 21:07:45

Petite finally...another moggie that shares Bert's rage! I know what you mean....I wake up to his stood astride me, sniffing my face...he chews my hair, he sticks his bum in my face, all acceptable to him! A bit of snuffling from me, suddenly, I'M THE BITCH!!!

NomNom are you saying that he is interpreting my snuffling as an inappropriate and unwanted sexual gesture? shock I have been 'coming on' to him all this time? Well, really. And to think that when he stretches out languidly on his back and shows me his little willy, I don't read too uch into it! Talk about double standards.......tut.

bigbadbarry Wed 13-Feb-13 21:57:56

The bright one looked like this hmm then joined in a bit with some fast sniffing back at me! Then ran away.

I've just tried the 'snuffling' on four of mine that happen to be on the sofa with me at the moment. Not one even noticed. Perhaps I'm not doing it right ...

monsterchild Thu 14-Feb-13 03:07:16

My old cat snuffles at the young ones when they bug her and they back off. She honestly sounds like an horse when she does it. One big long snort at them. It must be some kind of "buzz off" signal. '
the youngsters don't seem to care if I do it. They must know she'll back it up...

Dottiespots Thu 14-Feb-13 03:34:58

My boy cat, Tom, does it when he is eating as a sort of threat display for people to back off his food. He also does it when he is angry and doesnt want to be touched by certain people or played with. Guessing its an agressive display thing.

qazxc Sun 17-Feb-13 14:53:16

is it that he is afraid to get sneezed on? a mate of mine had a cat that would attack if you sneezed or did the breathing in thing you do before you sneeze.

HazeltheMcWitch Sun 17-Feb-13 15:04:47

My most scaredy-cat seems not to care if I snuffle at him. He just carried on purring and trying to butt my face.

But I'm not convinced that I am snuffling right. Perhaps you could upload a short video of you snuffling onto YouTube? That way, we can introduce some rigour into this experiment. And we can also then find out if it's all cats/your cat/^YOU^.


Ginger cat: panicked and tried to run away backwards, crashed into door

Grey cat: ignored me and stuck her tail up my nose, then asked for food.

Black and white cat: I didn't dare do it, she's a tamed feral and 'doesn't do' people faces getting to close to her, I could have lost an eye.

I can't find the black cats, I'll report on them when they appear

Will try this on my 3 when they appear.

My girl cat goes fecking crazy if you make a long "ohhhhhhhhhh" noise though.

Boy cat 1 goes mad if you miaw, he seems to think some other cat is in pain or something and furiously hunts for it. Same cat also smacked a dog today who was barking at him.

Boy cat 2 thinks anything you do is an invite to be petted.

Female black cat wasn't bothered.... Which is surprising actually as she views most actions of mine as poorly concealed attempts on her life hmm

GarbledMessage Sun 17-Feb-13 15:46:59

OP. I have found through extensive research over the years that if you do this snuffling very energetically amd hide round the corner, (but peep and catch a cats eye) they go MAD for it! The reactions vary, but range from full on attack ya face mode to scatty running round the room like a looper. Some talk at you when you do it too. Never understood why, but it's one of my fave cat games!

pirouette Sun 17-Feb-13 15:54:51

We used to have a cat which became enraged at snuffling. My brother and father had some dreadful infliction that they both snuffled and nose-breathed noisily especially when they read the paper or ate. hmm

Cue cat launching itself at them to put them out of their misery.

fackinell Sun 17-Feb-13 21:11:33

Mine ignored me and snoozed on.

VivaLeBeaver Sun 17-Feb-13 21:26:13

I'm curious as to how you found this out in the first place?

WhatKindofFool Mon 18-Feb-13 09:29:25

I think they think that you are checking out their scent, I.e., where they have been, and this makes them indignant. I don't know this but I have observed this behaviour between my own cats. If one has been somewhere, like the vets, another might give a sniff to them, and they hate it.

ILoveMyCats Thu 21-Feb-13 22:07:26

DH has just told me to leave the room as I'm laughing so much at this thread! I love the penguins in dresses and naked turtles!!

Cat snuffling is well received in my house....sneezing is another matter.

nirvannah you have a tail?! wink

TheSilveryPussycat Fri 22-Feb-13 10:17:29

Indifference from my old lady - perhaps she is used to my funny little ways and nothing can faze her?

Ok, I chanced it with the elderly tamed feral and it turns out she kisses me in response shock very unexpected and quite sweet!

Big black male just looked at me sleepily and didn't react.

So out of 5:
1 panic
2 ignore
1 ask for food
1 kiss

Cailleach Fri 22-Feb-13 18:12:49

Been waiting for an opportunity to do this to my calico cat, and am happy to report that I just got a lovely kiss on the nose in reply. She has never done that to me before.

Pointless trying this with LittleWhiteFluffyCat, though, as she's stone deaf, so not sure how she'd react.

Thanks, OP.

Just tried it and had one of mine attempt to lodge her entire nose up my nostril.

That's a memory that isn't going away anytime soon.

QuietTiger Sun 24-Feb-13 13:36:34

It's actually a feline swear word and seems to be the equivalent of "Fuck you". grin

I've just tried it with one of mine, she replied in kind then gave me the feline look of death!

janflan Sun 24-Feb-13 19:19:48

I tried it on my cat who is normally loving but can't quickly turn savage. At first he whipped his head back really fast and i got scared and moved quick. Then he started liking it and rubbing my head with his head.

QOD Sun 24-Feb-13 19:34:10

Very glad this surfaced again as did try it on cat a couple of times!!


No reaction at all ... Most disappointing

TheSilveryPussycat Sun 24-Feb-13 22:41:42

QuietTiger you might be on the right lines. It might mean 'fancy a bit' to some felines, 'fuck off' to others, and 'humour/ignore that crazy human she's been on MN' to yet others. Perhaps we need a breakdown by gender, age and neutered-status?

On this theory mine is either too old, or knows me too well...

Rhubarbgarden Tue 26-Feb-13 20:43:52

Large one shot me a wild-eyed look and ran away. Small one started purring and went flat.

NirvannahCrane Fri 01-Mar-13 21:16:06

Ah. Many thanks for the results.

I'm actually goint to go with QuietTiger's theory that it is the feline equivalent of Fuck You.

Viva I cannot tell you how I discovered this cat-foible. I can't remember why I first did it or what prompted the inagural snuffle. But I did it and he HATES it. I haven't done it in a while as it's only a matter of time before he gets a luccky paw-strike and I end up in Emergency Opthalmic surgery.

HazeltheMcWitch I am NOT putting it on YouTube, even in the interests of making sure you are all snuffling correctly. I don't mind you lot thinking I'm a Cat-Snuffling loon but I'm not having digital, video, there-for-bloody-ever internet evidence of the fact!

When I do it to Step-Cat, an ancient black female, she eyes me with indifference. The only think that can get a reaction from her is an over-enthusiastic furmination of her tail area...

NirvannahCrane Sat 02-Mar-13 18:33:23

I've remembered why I was snuffling the cat in the first place.....I was trying to do Cat Yodelling. I failed.


TheSilveryPussycat Sat 02-Mar-13 22:04:51

Oh what utter joy smile And now I've seen it, I think DCat might well have it in her to yodel - since I know she can get annoyed grin

Stephenie Sat 02-Mar-13 22:29:45

OMG!!!!! Best thread ever!!! I used to do this to my cats who I had to leave with my ex husband but my boy cat (Dali) used to go mental when i did it, he would start by running over to me and just rub his face all over mine and then slowly become more and more silly and end up lying on the floor and just rolling over and over and half playfully and half not playfully attack with his paws, my girl cat (Willow) wasn't really bothered by it!!!!

To think I joined this site to talk about the problems of ttc but have now ended my evening giggling and with lovely memories of my gorgeous kitty's is brilliant!! Thank you NirvannahCrane for starting this thread. smile

Oh, I'm so going yo try that with grey kitten.... She makes that howling noise every time I pick her up so I won't even have to get her annoyed to try it.

Will report back when I've tried it... Hopefully I'll still have both eyes and ten fingers left grin

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 02-Mar-13 23:11:38

I didn't like that video at all. I thought it looked a bit cruel really.

Fluffy.... Depends on the personality of the cat.

Two of mine love a bit of rough cuddling, two of the others like it as long as they're not being held, the fifth hates it.

The two that love it will come looking for it and purr like lunatics.

You can tell by the way those cats in the video behave towards the men that they're not scared of them.

Like I said one of mine yowls every time she's picked up.... Doesn't stop her climbing my legs looking for cuddles!

NirvannahCrane Mon 04-Mar-13 07:26:40

Fluffy, I think the three cats in the video were just so daft and laid back that they really didn't mind being yodelled/dressed up/exposed to engineers. Those two guys have made other videos where they do daft things to the cats...if the cats disliked it, they'd make their feelings known.

SummerRain the trick to keeping all your extremities is to gaffer-tape kitchen paper round the cat's paws grin

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