Why Does My Cat Headbutt Me?

I tend to think I am one of the few weird persons left in the world. I mean, my favourite moments is when my cat, Tom, out of nowhere decides to give me a head butt. Good thing she does this all too often and regularly enough to feed my insatiable need for the head butt. Saying that I love it is an understatement even though she knocks my glasses off every time. I love it because I know what it means. To try and get you to be a weirdo like I am, I seek to explain what a cat’s head butt means. But first, what does a cat head butt look like?

If you are thinking it is when a cat sticks its head in another cat’s cat, you are wrong (though it would be funny to watch my cat try and do this to another cat). A head butt is when your cat taps its head against you and proceeds to run her cheeks/face on whichever part of your body that is close to her. Some cats even head butt walls and furniture. Let us answer, "Why Does My Cat Headbutt Me?"

Several Reasons Why Cats Involve Themselves in Head Butting


At this, point I feel it is important to make something clear. Head butting is also referred to as head bunting. This is actually the official reference to this cat behaviour.

Cats are created with sent glands on almost every part of their body. Cats make use of the scent produced to leave their mark on objects. In this case, the object is you. The rubbing and bunting is reserved for social, bonding, friendly as well as comforting purposes. When your cat is head butting you, he is being affectionate with you as well as placing a scent on you. Marking you is a sign of saying he/she ‘owns’ you and does not want another to come nearly as close.

Cat to cat head butting on the other hand is only reserved for cats that already are familiar with each other and have a close relationship. Your cat may also display this behaviour towards other animal like dogs, in the event they are friendly with each other and have created a bond over time.

Your Cat is Begging to be Petted, Scratched or Played With

Head butting is also a cat’s way of seeking your attention. My cat does this thing where it head butts me and then tucks its head under my chin and at times turn to the side. I find this irresistibly cute and I cannot help myself. I think to myself, ‘if it is head scratches my cat wants, it is head scratches it will get’.

In your case, if you have severally given your cat the attention it seeks after it head butts you, you should expect it to do it many more times. Cats are smart and will always stick to what they know works for them.

If you have studied your cat for a while, you might have noticed that it does not get its face close to just anyone. As such, the fact that it is doing so with you is a great show of trust. At the very least, this should earn your cat a little rubbing on its chin.

There is More to the Scent Communication

It is easy to assume that the head butting is all about territory marking. But here is the thing. Scent communication is slightly more complex than just marking territory. The scent is also used to create a familiarity that your cat is comfortable with, to show respect and develop a common colony scent (which is crucial for survival, peace and harmony in a territory), to soothe self and announce its sexual orientation. Simply put, how a cat uses its scent is completely dependent on the surrounding circumstances and also the part of its body it uses to do so.

It is a Form of Greeting

Cats and kittens greet each other by rubbing their faces against each other. As earlier pointed out, it is to mark each other as members of the colony and identify each other. With head butting, your feline considers you part of its pack and wants to give you the pack treatment.

Why Does my Cat Rub Her Face on my Face?

As mentioned above, it is mostly to express its affection and to mark you as its safe territory. If you are not like me and or some reason find it unpleasant when your cat does this, you should not push it away. Try your best to enjoy it as it is as good as a kiss on a cheek. Shunning your cat from doing this is equivalent to turning your loved one away when they are giving you a hug or kissing you on the cheek.

Why Do Some Cats Head Butt and Some Do Not?

There are numerous RARE cat breeds in the world. Some are rare and some common, some big and some small. In addition, and just like humans, all cats have different personalities. It is as such not uncommon to find a cat that does not head butt other felines or even you. Do not take it personality or interpret is as lack of love for you. There are other ways your cat can express and show its love for you (its parent).

Additionally, the intensity and frequency of a cat’s head butt varies greatly. All in all, you should not worry when your cat does not do this.

Why Does My Cat Bite my Nose?

We have already established that head butting is normal. And even while your cat may not be the type to do it, it should not be a cause for alarm. But what about the bite that follows the loving and affectionate head butt?

Why would your cat turn vampire on you suddenly? Well, the bite is not one of aggression. If anything, it is an affectionate one. As a matter of fact, you could even consider it a love bite. Think about it, every time it has happened it has been a light bite. The kind that feels more like a nibble than anything else. It did not break your skin and it let go when it noticed you were taken aback right?

Do Not Mistake Head Pressing for Head Butting

Head pressing is when your cat presses its head against a piece of furniture or a wall relentlessly. This is often accompanied by some abnormal vocalization or some odd behaviour including circling. For the most part, cat head pressing is a sign that your cat has a neurological disorder. When you notice this and other symptoms signifying that something is wrong with your cat’s brain, book an appointment with your veterinary.

What May Be The Cause of Head Pressing?

Head pressing is as a result of some kind of intoxication. This could be exposure to marijuana, alcohol or any illicit or prescription drugs. Also cats that have been given tranquilizing medication and that are recovering from the anaesthesia in a vet office may experience some temporary head pressing.

There are also some diseases that cause head pressing. These include Feline AIDS, leukaemia and feline infectious peritonitis.

Bottom Line

At this you should have a conclusive answer as to, ‘why does my cat headbutt me’. In most cases, it is to show affection and mark you as its territory. Other times it is just to get some warmth and to get your attention so that you can pet it. Whichever it is, it is a lovely feeling and you should definitely encourage the behaviour.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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