Why Do Cats Headbutt



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Having a cat in your home can be a comfort. Cats are affectionate and loving creatures with some strange habits, as any cat guardian will tell you. One peculiar habit you may have noticed is headbutting, also known as bunting. The cat will touch their head to you, other cats in the home, furniture, or other pets.

Why Do Cats Headbutt. A dark grey cat rubbing its head on the side of a wooden chair outside in a yard with a green fence, bricks, and wooden pallet in the background.

Cats have pheromone-releasing glands on their foreheads, cheeks, and chin. So that when they head bunt you, they mark you with their pheromones or scent. Humans will not smell the pheromones, but other cats will be able to smell them.

This isn’t the same as territorial scent marking. Instead, head bunting or headbutting creates a colony scent, marking safe people or places for your cat. The dominant cat usually creates the colony scent in a multiple-cat household by headbutting the other cats.

Is Cat Headbutting A Sign Of Affection

The fact that cat bunting is marking you as part of their colony and that your cat considers you to be a safe person is definitely a sign of affection. For example, our cat Pickles didn’t headbutt our Husky Luna for quite a few years. It wasn’t until Luna was out of her teenage tyrannosaurus rex phase that Pickles started to headbutt her.

Your cat may also use the headbutt to signal that they want some affection. For example, I know my cat Pickles will headbutt me when he wants petting and cuddling. He will also headbutt me when he wants me to move the laptop from my lap so that he can settle down there.

Should I Headbutt My Cat Back

I will sometimes lower my head to allow Pickles to headbutt me, but I’m not sure he would enjoy me headbutting him! Every cat is different, though, but if you are going to headbutt your cat, I would suggest doing so gently! It may be that your cat is more than content to have under its chin scratched.

When Pickles headbutts Luna, he is usually rewarded by having his head licked; he occasionally allows her to groom him. But this is all done on his terms. He is, after all, a cat and master of his domain!

Does Every Cat Headbutt

Each cat is as individual as each person. Some cats will head bunt, and some cats won’t. A confident cat is likelier to head bunt than a shy, timid cat. Some cats will headbutt strangers to feel them out. If your cat is a new rescue or you have moved into a new home, it may take your furry friend a little while to settle in and feel confident and comfortable in your new place.

My Cat No Longer Headbutts

If your cat hasn’t headbutted you in a while, watch for any other signs of behavior changes, as it could be an early sign that it isn’t feeling well. Of course, it’s always best to have a trip to the vet to ensure everything is in order with your feline friend.

Or something in your cat’s environment may have changed, and your cat isn’t feeling settled or comfortable. Cats are very sensitive to changes; even a minor change can upset them. For example, something as simple as the cat litter tray being moved can cause an upset for your cat.

Final Thoughts on Cat Headbutting

I think cats are amazing, with peculiar habits and all. I like it when my cat headbutts me, although it can be dicey when holding a cup of tea! I feel honored to be included in his colony and happy that he feels safe in our home!

I hope that you found this article helpful.

Before you go, you may find these articles interesting:

How High Can A Cat Jump

Why Do Cats Loaf?

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