Why Do Cats Headbutt?

You are a cat lover and often think they also love you. You purchase a variety of toys, offer them plenty of their most loved treats and buy one luxurious mattress after the next. However, even with the money spent on a display of love, your cat will not necessarily feel at home until the whole house is smelling … just like their scent. That includes you. This is the reason why headbutting is so important.

If your cat gently touches their foreheads to yours or when they gently press its head against your legs, they’re releasing a tiny amount of its scent onto you. They might think you’re in need of a little more scent (kitty scent). They might also think that you’ve had too much time watching Netflix and that it’s time for play. Let’s look at the three most common reasons your cat is headbutting you.

What is the meaning when you are hit by a cat?

If you’re fortunate enough to be a beloved human to a feline friend You might witness cats rubbing their heads against yours, and rubbing their faces all over yours. Awww. Sometimes, this head-to-head contact is a bit forceful and it’s like an animal headbutt. However, the proper term for cute behavior is head bunting. Head bunting occurs when a cat rubs its scent glands against an object and releases its scent to a different surface.

Three Reasons your cat is headbutting you a.k.a. “Head Bunting”

One thing is certain. Head bunting when done at a low level, is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. However, this cat’s performance is actually full of purpose.

1. Your cat is scent marking

Feline foreheads are soft and airy and full of smell glands. The smells also known as smells are very important for cats (both wild and domesticated) as they assist cats to connect with their surroundings. Cats are able to produce many scents and possess scent glands throughout the body, including the front paws and the underside of the tail cheeks, chin, cheeks, and lips as well as the forehead.

Every time a cat comes into contact with the surface and rubs its smell glands against it, they release the scent of pheromones. Pheromones are chemical compounds that function as a kind of communication between animals belonging to identical species.

“Cats have smell glands on their foreheads. head bunting towards a human is done to release the scents in an affiliation show,” says Pam Johnson-Bennett, CCBC, author and the owner of Cat Behavior Associates.

If your cat begins to swat at your head, they’re deliberately leaving its scent all over your face. Thoughtful, right?

2. Your Cat Prefers Familiarity

You may think it’s odd to think that the scent of your cat is all over your face right now and the cat’s scent is an amazing thing! You’re now smelling exactly like your cat! In fact, everything in your home smells just like your cat. Just like they’d like it to. Therefore, your face may be included. Cats like the place they call home to be familiar. Nothing can be more familiar than the scent of your own scent. The scent that they leave around your home, and on you will keep your cat happy and at ease in their surroundings.

“It [buntingis a frank way of combing smells (yours as well as theirs) to increase familiarity and bonds,” Johnson-Bennett says.

It’s not just our home cats that exhibit this behavior, too. Large felines, such as lions, are also known to exhibit head bunting when they recognize someone they know or return home to the joy of an outing hunting. It makes them feel more comfortable as they know that other members from the same group are in the area and are safe.

In a household that is shared with other animals your cat trusts and loves that they are safe, they could head rub your cat or another feline friend and create a peaceful, calming scent that is shared among pets.

3. Your cat is looking for attention

You were working all day and then went home to relax and eat unhealthy food in the living room. But you see your cat getting onto your lab and pressing their beautiful face into yours. Your cat didn’t get to see you, and they’re looking for your attention! Put down that crispy delicious treat and give your cat affection. It’s a blessing that they picked for you (says your cat).

How to respond to your cat’s Head Bunting

When your cat’s head is bouncing and rubbing your face, it has affectionate associations. If you’d prefer that they did not do this to you, or to the tiny and loud creature you created (a baby) simply gently stroke your cat and give them something else to rub like an excellent scratching post, cat tree, or a pet toy that they enjoy.

There are occasions where head bunting can occur due to your cat being overwhelmed or confused in their current environment. It is important to be aware of the behavior, and mindful of the time it occurs. Did you come home after an exhausting morning at work? Are there new acquaintances around or plenty of loud people at the home? The context is crucial.

If you believe your cat is affectionate and would like some time alone, give them a gentle and slow pet, or gently rub your face to theirs. However, if your cat exhibits other body expressions, you should be aware of indications in conjunction with head bunting behavior including wide or dilated eyes ears resting on their heads or hissing, groaning or twitching the tail, or attempts to bite or swat your pet, they are not at peace. Do not continue to try to touch them. Instead, let them spend some time in a peaceful space and think about what’s different within the surroundings that might upset your cat. Be sure that your home is cat-friendly, and offers plenty of spots where your feline can take a bath in the sunshine, climb, hide, and even sleep.

If you notice your cat pressing its head on a hard surface or with its face downwards at a corner it might not be head bunting. It could indicate head pressure which could be a serious indicator that your cat has an illness that requires you to see your veterinarian immediately.

Cats are extremely social animals that communicate using their bodies and their senses. Head bunting is only one of the many things cats perform that make us fascinated and want to love them even more. If your cat ever “head and butts” you, think about the emotions they could be experiencing … and smell.

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