Pet a cat and if it likes you, it will likely rub against you and turn around to show you its butt. While this might seem like an obscene or rude gesture from a human, when it comes from a cat, it’s actually a sign of trust.

Cat researcher Mikel Delgado said, “For cats, it’s normal for them to sniff each other’s butts as a way to say hello or confirm another cat’s identity. It’s hard for us to relate to, but for them, smell is much more important to cats and how they recognize each other than vision is. So cats may be ‘inviting’ us to check them out, or just giving us a friendly hello.”

So the next time a cat shows you its butt, it’s a sign of affection. Keep telling yourself that while the cat laughs silently to itself.

To learn more about what a cat’s butt means when it’s aimed in your direction, click here.