Why Do Stray Cats Rub Against Your Legs? Check Out The Reasons Here

Owning a cat teaches you a lot of quirks about them. A cat’s behaviors are sometimes incomprehensible and straight weird for anyone who is not familiar.

If you find a cute cat and call it, it may come to you and rub its head on your leg. If you are not a cat person, this situation can be entirely bewildering to you.

However, if you ever had a cat of your own, you might be wondering why a stray is doing this behavior.

We will discuss this lovely behavior in more detail, and we will start by discovering the reasons behind this very tendency in stray cats.  

Why Do Stray Cats Rub Against Your Legs?

It is tough to explain any cat behavior with exact accuracy. There can be a plethora of plausible reasons behind a cat’s particular behavior.

In this example, we will give you a list of possible reasons why a stray cat might be rubbing against your legs. Let’s go through the reasons one by one:

Asking For Food:

Stray cats do not have a constant source of food at all times. They have to rely on the people or animals in the wild for protection and food. or else they could die without food.

When they are rubbing their heads on your legs, they are trying to grab your attention so that you give them food.

It is their unique way of saying how cute they are and asking for food.  This reason is one of the most observed cases for stray cats.

Although they are timid most of the time, they show this behavior just so that they can find some food from you. 

Marking Their Territory:

Cats have pheromone glands beneath their paws and on their forehead. It is one of the main reasons why they scratch all over the world in a house.

Cats are incredibly territorial, and they prefer to mark their territory first to avoid any conflict in the future.

When the cat is head butting your leg or rubbing their forehead on your leg, they are declaring you as their territory.

You can find this particular behavior particularly cute if you think that stray claims you as their position.

To Judge You:

Cats are incredibly timid in foreign environments, and they take a long time to adjust to any new situation.

House cats generally take a longer time to adjust as they are not familiar with changes at all. However, stray cats do not have such long times to adjust as their environment is constantly changing.

Rubbing their head on your leg is probably the safest and quickest of assessing you.

If the person drives them away, they will understand that very easily. However, if you like this gesture and respond to them, they will keep asking you for food.



Cats can grab your attention in several ways. Constant meowing or roaming around you is sufficient to take the attention they want from you.

If they are going for physical touch, you have to understand that it is something special. Stray cats do not like to go near anyone in general; if they are making an exception for you, there must be something special.

If you are habitual to that location, and the stray cat has started to rub their head lately, they probably want to show their love and affection towards you.

You should be thrilled that the stray cat loves you enough to show this behavior.

What To Do When A Stray Cat Rubs Against Your Legs?

If you are new to having a cat around, this situation can be quite confusing for you.

That is why we are going to give you a detailed overview of the things that you can do when you find yourself in a similar situation.

Wait For A Strong Connection:

When a cat is rubbing its head on your leg, it is making itself vulnerable to you. You have to respect this gesture before making any sudden movement.

They are afraid, and you have to spend some time to establish a strong connection. You can let the cat do what it wants for a few moments. Any sudden movement can make the cat scared.

Understand the Silent Language:

Cats cannot make their feelings understood understandably.

There are very subtle cues that you should understand. You have to be extremely slow while approaching the cat and pet the cat only when it lets you.

You also have to understand when it doesn’t want you to touch it. If it maintains a little distance between you two, you should understand that it needs a little more time to get accustomed.

Avoid Undesirable Parts:

Cats do not like it if you touch on every part of their bodies. So, you cannot touch them on those parts and expect them to stick around.

The most desirable location where they prefer you to touch is their forehead. They can see your approach, and you do not surprise them in any way.

Their backs are also a likely spot as they prefer that sensation. You have to stick to these locations when you are petting the cat for the first time. 

Be Friendly:


Many people think that feral cats are dangerous as they are not used to human touch, and they can react unnecessarily.

It can’t be far from the truth. If you give them an approachable moment, they will approach you like any other house cat. So, our last tip for this situation is to be friendly and welcoming. 

Ways To Stop A Stray Cat Rubbing Against Your Leg:

If you find yourself in a situation where a stray cat is suddenly rubbing against your leg, and you want to avoid that, the best thing you can do is give them what they want.

Most of the time, this behavior stems from the need for food. If you give sufficient food, it will eat it and be on the way to safety.

It would help if you did not scare them at any cost as it is their only means of acquiring food most of the time. 

Why The Cat Would Target The Leg?

Stray cats do not have the security of approaching a large person with no chance of getting hurt. They approach you with caution.

Legs are the most accessible part of the human body to them, and they make themselves the least vulnerable when they are rubbing your leg.

It is the first approach they take to bond with a human. If you let them do what they want and like your behavior, it will assure you with its tail around your leg.


By now, you should well converse about the situation at hand. A stray cat can do things that your house cat does to you as well.

Rubbing their head on your leg is one of the most natural ways of communication for them.

You have to be extremely gentle with a stray cat as they can be spooked quite easily. After this article, you have all the information you need if you find yourself in this situation. 

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