Scent Glands on Cats

Cats have 9 main scent gland locations throughout their bodies that are responsible for leaving their own unique scent behind! If you ever wondered why your kitty loves rubbing everything, including you, this is why.

The 9 Gland Locations

  1. Pinna: Outer Ear Flaps

  2. Temporal: Temple

  3. Cheek: Sides of Face

  4. Perioral: Mouth Corners

  5. Submandibular: Under Jaw

  6. Interdigital: Between Toes

  7. Anal: Sides of Anus

  8. Caudal: Along Tail

  9. Supra-Caudal: Base of Tail

9 cat scent glands
9 cat scent glands

Pinna Glands

There are two glands that are behind each ear on every feline species. These glands produce a light scented oil and are what causes a cat’s ears to remain one of the softest places on the entire body.

Temporal Glands

There are two glands, one at each temple, that cats use to rub their scent on items they are claiming. This is why they headbutt and rub objects. They also use these scent glands to keep markers of their location so they can easily find their way back home. The areas on the head where fur is finer is where the glands are and the skin is often slightly oily.

Cheek Glands

There are two, one on each cheek, that cats use the same way they use their Temporal Glands. However, these scent glands produce fewer oils and coat the whiskers to rub the oil against objects easier.

Perioral Glands

There are two glands in each corner of the mouth that produce a scent when they chew or grind objects to the sides of their mouths. When your cat is giving you “love bites” they are actually leaving a scent behind on you. These glands are important for mating for male cats as they mark the backs of a female’s neck and leave behind a scent after mating. This is used to hinder other males from mating with the same female that was already claimed.

Submandibular

There is one gland under the jaw (near the center of the chin) that produces lightly scented oils and works the same way and for the same purpose as the Temporal and Cheek Glands.

Interdigital Glands

There are four glands, one on each paw, that gives off a strong scent for other cats to smell when the paw is stretched and the claws are extended out. Sharpening the nails and shedding sheaths is part of the reason cats enjoy clawing things, but they also do it to spread their scent.

Anal Glands

There are two glands, on the left and right of the anus, that helps to produce a fowl smell into a cat’s feces. These glands always have a scent and cats will often check each others’ scent for recognition.

Caudal Glands

These glands are found throughout the tail and are spread when a cat uses his or her tail to communicate. Cats will often bring their tails straight up to not only show they mean no harm but also to spread their scent in the air.

Supra-Caudal

There is one gland located at the base of the tail that produces oil. This oil is not only important for the cat’s own personal cologne but it also keeps away bugs, conditions the fur and skin, and helps their tail spread a more potent musk. Cats can over-produce this oil, this is known as “stud-tail” and is most common intact males, but can also be seen in neutered males and females.

More Amazing Cat Facts

Did you learn something new? Don’t stop here! Learn something else about cats in another article below:

 

Spinal Strokes (FCE) in Cats

Cat Lovers vs Dog Lovers

Can a Cat Get High?

Can Cats Be Gay?

Will a Cat Keep Snakes Away?

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Amy Woodard
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Amy Woodard

Quote: When a male is in heat, he can actually over-produce this oil and this is known as “stud-tail”.
Ummm…..I’m confused about the first part.

Jay
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Jay

Good catch! It has been edited.

David Starkey
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David Starkey

EVERY cat own… staff member should read this!