Cat Behavior 101: Why Do Cats Headbutt?

July 10, 2018

Cat Behavior 101: Why Do Cats Headbutt?

If a person wants to headbutt you, chances are, you know exactly what they’re trying to convey.


So, what exactly does a cat mean when it head butts you?


Many cat owners experience their cat randomly jumping onto their lap and headbutting them. Some people think that they’re being attacked while others think that it’s one way their kitty is showing them affection.


But, which one of the two is it, exactly?


In this blog post, I will answer the question, “Why do cats headbutt?” in as much detail as I possibly can.


Let’s begin, shall we?

What Does A Headbutt Exactly Look Like?

Before I answer the question, “why do cats headbutt?”I thin it is important to define what a headbutt actually is, right?


When a cat headbutts, she taps her head against you and rubs her cheeks along whatever body part she’s near. Cats also headbutt objects like walls, chairs and furniture.


While this behavior may be something that’ll be quite confusing to you, it is something that cats do quite a lot during the day.


Now, let’s figure out what it actually means!

Why Do Cats Headbutt?

To answer this question. I’ll have to jump into some cat basics.


Are you ready?


So, cats have scent glands all over their bodies, and use them to leave marks on objects, including you. According toPam Johnson-Bennett who’s a cat behaviorist, cat headbutting is typically used for bonding and social purposes.


She says, “For the cat to place his face so close to yours and engage in this bonding behavior is quite an act of trust.”


Johnson-Bennett also explains that this behavior is more properly called cat bunting.


People often inaccurately think that the cat headbutt is just a means of marking territory, but it’s a lot more than that. Scent communication is complex, and while cats do use scent to mark their territory, cat bunting can also be used to create familiarity and show respect.


Johnson-Bennett also says that cat headbutting may be attention-seeking behavior, particularly if your cat butts his head against you and then tucks it down or turns it to the side.

Do cats headbutt other cats as well as people?

Yes.


In fact, you’ll often see kitty friends rub onto one another with their heads.


Why is that so?


Well, not only does this behavior create the “colony scent,” it also helps with the bonding process among the members as well. This is simply a measure of deep trust for another cat to put her head so close to one of her feline companions.


So, if you see your kitty headbutt another one, know that it means that they’re close buddies.


Fun fact: Cat bunting is also seen in wild cats, so it’s something that comes to cats naturally through millennia of evolution.

Should I Worry If My Cat Doesn't Do This?

There are a lot of bunting variations among kitties, with a wide range of frequency and intensity, so you shouldn’t necessarily be concerned if your cat doesn’t bump or push you with her head.


Dr. Herron says, “While cats that do this are often feeling safe and trusting, I don't know that I would say a lack of bunting indicates a problem, each cat may have a different propensity to bunt over others.


Why Some Cats headbutt While Others Don’t

You should keep in mind that every kitty is unique in her own way and so, don’t worry if your cat doesn’t headbutt you or her fellow felines.


There is a lot of variation in the frequency as well as intensity of the kitty headbutt and there also are thousands of different ways in which kitties are known to show their affection.

Head Pressing Versus Headbutting

Head pressing is when a cat presses her head against a wall or a piece of furniture relentlessly.


Often accompanied by abnormal vocalization or other odd behaviors like circling and disorientation, cat head pressing is a manifestation of a neurological disorder.


According to Dr. Eric Barchas “Specifically, head pressing and the symptoms that go along with it usually are caused by problems with the central nervous system, In other words, head pressing occurs when something goes wrong with the brain.


People often inaccurately think that the cat headbutt is just a means of marking territory, but it’s a lot more than that.


Scent communication is complex, and while cats do use scent to mark their territory, cat bunting can also be used to create familiarity and show respect.


Do you have questions? If so, leave them in the comments, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Cat Behavior 101: Why Do Cats Headbutt?

Many cat owners experience their cat randomly jumping onto their lap and headbutting them. Some people think that they’re being attacked while others think that it’s one way their kitty is showing them affection.


So, cats have scent glands all over their bodies, and use them to leave marks on objects, including you.


According toPam Johnson-Bennett who’s a cat behaviorist, cat headbutting is typically used for bonding and social purposes.


Johnson-Bennett also says that cat headbutting may be attention-seeking behavior, particularly if your cat butts his head against you and then tucks it down or turns it to the side.


Do you still have questions? If so, leave them in the comments, and we’ll answer them as soon as possible.




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