Should I Headbutt My Cat Back 5 Things To Know
Being a cat mom, I get a headbutt from my feline friend more often than not. All my tension and tiredness vanish as soon as my cat does so. And often, I am left thinking with a question: Should I Headbutt My Cat Back?
You should headbutt your cat back as it communicates trust and understanding to your cat.Cats prefer slow and gentle headbutts and view those as safe and kind gestures. Hard headbutts may result in your cat growling, scratching, biting, or fearing you.
So, lets discuss in detail all the things about your cat headbutting you, the various reasons your cat does so, and many other frequently raised questions like biting after the headbutt and why your cat does not headbutt you, and many more.
Dont Confuse Head Pressing For 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. Specifically, head pressing and the symptoms that go along with it usually are caused by problems with the central nervous system, writes Dr. Eric Barchas. In other words, head pressing occurs when something goes wrong with the brain.
Featured photograph: ehaurylik | Thinkstock.
Here’s Why Your Cat Sticks Its Butt In Your Face
Contrary to popular belief, cats do like some people.
Every cat owner has experienced it: You’re curled up on the couch when your kitty approaches, jumps on your lap, walks alllll over your body in search of a comfortable place to sit, and inevitably sticks its butt directly in your face. Why? Do cats not know how gross their butts are? Or are they purposely trying to annoy you? In fact, the answer is neither they’re doing it because they like you. Gee, how touching
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Head Pressing In Cats: A Must
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There are times when cats will do things that leave us guessing. All cat owners can agree with that. But sometimes, your cat can display a behavior that is not only odd, but can also be a startling sign that something is definitely not right with your feline friend. Head pressingnot in a sweet way like head bunting, but against a hard surface like a wallis most definitely a sign that something is very wrong with your cat. Here weve covered what to look for should this occur and what to do to save their life.
Please note: Immediately upon reading this, if your cat is dealing with this issue, please seek medical attention. Do not delay or hesitate, this is a very serious matter and your cats life is at risk.
What Should I Do When My Cat Head Bunts Me
Pam Johnson-Bennett, a cat behavior expert and author, offered the best advice about what to do when a cat bunts you to readers of petmd.com. You should be thrilled that theyve chosen you. Enjoy it and take it as a compliment that youre worthy of their affection that theyve deemed you good enough, she said.
But do not necessarily respond. Some cats may not be comfortable with a response, she explained. It depends on your relationship with the cat. If you are bonded with your cat, you can head bunt back, or offer some other token of your affection, like petting. If your relationship with this cat is just developing, theres nothing wrong with not reciprocating. Rather, continue to build trust over time.
Michelle. Cat Head Bunting: What It Means And How To Respond. Vet Organics, 5 July 2018, www.vet-organics.com/blogs/news/cat-head-bunting.
Rodan, Ilona, Heath, Sarah. Feline Behavioral Health and Welfare. Elsevier Health Sciences, 6 Aug 2015. p 36.
Michelle. Cat Head Bunting: What It Means And How To Respond. Vet Organics, 5 July 2018, www.vet-organics.com/blogs/news/cat-head-bunting.
Cat Behavior: Why Do Cats Rub Against You? Home, PetMD, 14 Apr. 2016, www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/cat-behavior-why-do-cats-rub-against-you.
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What Is Bunting In Cats
According to Pam Johnson-Bennett, a renowned cat behavior expert, the habit that most cat owners refer to as headbutting is actually known as head bunting. So, what is it and why do cats do it? Lets find out.
Bunting is where your cat gently rubs her forehead onto your cheek, chin, or any other part of the body.
As youve figured out, this mostly happens in the morning, but it can happen any time of the day.
You may also observe your cat bunting on furniture, the wall, or other objects.
You see, cats have scent glands in several parts of their bodies, including their heads.
So, every time they rub on to something, theyll leave their scent.
When your cat is gently bunting your face, its simply a social interaction that involves her leaving her scent on you.
Scent-marking in cats is not just for marking their territory. Sometimes they do it to show that they trust you or as a sign of affection .
Check this quick video.
What Is The Difference Between Pressing And Bunting?
While you may mistake headbutting and head pressing, theyre two different habits.
As mentioned earlier, cat bunting involves gentle rubs. On the other hand, head pressing involves your cat pushing hard on a surface.
This could be a wall, a tree, or any other hard object.
While bunting is often a sign of affection, head pressing is often a result of pain, and your cat is looking for ways to relieve it.
Below are some of the reasons your cat may be head pressing
- Head trauma
- A lack of appetite
Why Do Cats Headbutt Me 4 Reasons For This Behavior
If your cat loves to headbutt you, you might be wondering exactly what this means. Does your cat like you, or are they annoyed about something and trying to tell you in their own way?
The good news is that a cat headbutt can usually be seen as a sign of affection. Even if your cat jumps up and headbutts you so hard that your cup of coffee goes flying or your glasses fall off your face, you can be sure your cat is happy to see you.
There can be a few different reasons for a cat headbutt, so lets take a closer look at this behavior and find out exactly why your cat might be doing it.
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Why Does My Cat Headbutt Me In The Morning
Cat owners rarely enjoy a peaceful start to the morning. Most days begin with a cat staring at you, just inches from your face. In some cases, cats even appear to headbutt you. Contrary to appearances, this is not an act of aggression. A feline headbutt is known as bunting.
Cats have scent glands at the top of the head. By bunting you, the cat is exchanging scents. This is partly to mark you as the cats property. Its also likely that your cat missed you while you were sleeping. Bunting can be a plea for attention. In the morning, a cat is likely requesting breakfast or play. Ensure your cat is not bunting to display dominance.
Do not confuse bunting with head pressing. This is a separate behavior that has negative connotations. Its important to recognize when a cat is bunting and why. This will lead to a positive bond between you and your cat.
Your Cat Wants To Convey Im Sorry
Since cats cannot speak just as humans do, that doesnt mean that they cannot convey their feelings.
Many times, if you show your cat that you are upset by her actions, she will most likely try to cheer you up.
Your cat will try to apologize by various actions, like purring, headbutting you, or simply sitting in your lap. All these are great gestures that indicate that your cat is sorry for its behavior and wants you to play again with her.
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Why Is My Cat Headbutting Me In The Morning
First, lets put any fears you may have to rest theres nothing aggressive about those AM headbutting sessions.
For the most part, its just your cats way of saying hi to you. She could also be seeking your attention or showing affection.
Maybe she missed you all night, and she wants to spend some time with you. Or shes hungry, and shes just asking for breakfast.
Lets take a closer look at the behavior- called bunting- and get a more in-depth with those reasons, shall we?
Reason : Your Cat Is Marking Their Territory
While there are several meanings behind the feline headbutt, the primary purpose is for a cat to spread their scent and place pheromones on important objects, people, or other cats.
For some cats, the bite or nibble after the headbutt may be a natural extension of their scent marking. Headbutting typically leads to cheek rubbing which can often include a little teeth. Some cats take things a little too far and vigorous check rubbing can turn into a bite.
Veterinarian and feline specialist Michele Gaspar explains this further when she writes that Cats who mouth or love bite their humans are taking this type of marking behavior to a more extreme position, if you will.
In other words, your cat may be getting just a little too excited about sharing their scent with you and a nibble seems like a natural next step for your feline friend.
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What Causes Cat Head Pressing
What is cat head pressing, and why does it happen? Let me start by saying that the type of head pressing Im discussing in this article is not the same as the cat headbutt. By head butting, I am referring to the affectionate behavior exhibited by cats in which they bump their head and then rub their face on your hand, face, leg, or an inanimate object. This behavior, which occurs in domestic and wild cats , is a gesture of friendliness and a solicitation of affection.
Head Bunting Versus Head Pressing
Almost the opposite of head bunting is head pressing. When a cat presses their head against us, a wall, or other surfaces, its a sign of severe discomfort. It could be the result of hypertension, head injury, a tumor, or a developing neurological problem. Watch for wincing, vocalizing, irritability, and disorientation. Any and all of these behaviors mean there is a medical emergency and a vet visit should happen immediately.
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Feral Cats Headbutt To Maintain Peace
Head bunting is also an integral part of feral cat behavior within large colonies. In a colony of feral cats, head bunting is a sign of trust and loyalty. As a feral cat colony expands, the dynamic changes with stronger cats ousting weaker rivals. This behavior is a strong form of communication among cats, and senior members headbutt younger felines.
Responding To Your Cats Headbutt
Below are few ways in which you can respond to your cats headbutts.
Headbutt your cat back. Or you can scratch her chin, pat her lightly on the head and talk in a sweet tone with your cat.
If your cat shows aggressive behavior when you headbutt her, it indicates that she doesnt appreciate the headbutt in response.
You can try out other responses like providing her with cat treats, slowly and softly brushing her fur, or talking with her by simply kneeling. Your cat will be all smiles when she gets your undivided attention.
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Shes Seeking Your Attention Or Shes Hungry
Your cat may also be looking forward to the days routine. If you have a feeding or petting routine every morning, she may headbutt you to get your attention or remind you.
Not that youd forget your responsibilities to her, but her night may not have been as peaceful as yours. If bunting doesnt work, she may try to be more aggressive by scratching your bed or meowing continuously. Other behaviors of seeking attention include
- Circling your legs
When Cats Headbutt Furniture
While cat headbutting can signify a social bond, what does it mean when your cat headbutts your sofa? Are they saying theyre best friends with your furniture?
While some behaviorists say headbutting an inanimate object can be a cats way of recognizing that objects familiarity, its more likely to do with scents and territory. Cats use the scent glands located on their cheeks to mark their territory. It lets other animals know that territory has already been claimed, and it also makes the area seem more safe and comforting to the cat.
Its important to never confuse headbutting with head pressing. If your cat is consistently pressing their head against the wall, floor, or furniture, it could be a sign of a serious neurological disorder.
to learn more.
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Your Cat Has Heard Something That You Cant
Cats have sensitive hearing and can easily detect small sounds that simply pass us by. Weve heard stories of families finding rodents or raccoons making nests in their walls after they were alerted to a specific spot by their cat becoming obsessed with staring at it!
If your cats ears are pricked toward the wall and they appear to be fiercely concentrating, they may be listening to something that you cant hear, such as the sound of a family members car arriving home. If a cat is listening to a particular sound, they may be sitting still. While it looks like theyre staring at the wall, theyre actually concentrating on figuring out what the sound is.
When Cats Headbutt Humans
Cats headbutt humans for the same reasons they headbutt other animals and even the furniture. Its their way of expressing a familial relationship and using scent as a marker. Marking you with her own scent makes your cat feel even safer around you than she did before.
Super friendly cats might feel confident enough to headbutt just about anyone they meet, but most cats reserve bunting for their favorite humans..Consider it your cats way of saying, Were in this together, pal.
Theres also the chance that your cats headbutting is a way to seek attention. They know you cant ignore them when their face is pressed up against yours. Its an excellent way to solicit scratches.
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Why Does My Cat Do This
According to Dr. Herron, this behavior is something that domestic cats share with their wild counterparts.
Cats do this to deposit facial pheromones on people or objects in their environment, explains Dr. Herron. The head butting is actually something that we call bunting.
Since kitties usually seem relaxed and friendly while bunting, people rightfully assume that it’s a sign of affection or acceptance into the felines domain. But Dr. Herron says that bunting is a bit more nuanced.
Rather than territorial marking or claiming someone, as is commonly thought, cats do this to mark something as safe sort of like leaving a signal of comfort and safety, adds Dr. Herron. So you could think of it as a sign that they are trusting that person or environment.
Head Pressing Vs Bunting
A cat pressing its head firmly against you or your walls or floors for a prolonged period of time is not bunting. This is called head pressing. Head pressing in cats is a much more serious problem than bunting.
Head pressing is an attempt at relieving pain, perhaps due to a headache. As per the British Veterinary Journal, these human medications are toxic to cats. The cat will resort to other means to relieve discomfort.
Reasons for feline head pressing include:
- Ocular problems, including glaucoma
- Swelling in the brain due to head trauma
- Tumors growing within the brain
As per the Journal of the American Veterinary Association, head pressing is also linked to high blood sugar. Older cats, especially those carrying extra weight, can be prone to diabetes.
A vet will run tests on your cat to determine the cause of the head pressing. Resolution and prognosis depend entirely on this diagnosis. As always, early intervention will yield the best results.
Bunting in cats is usually just a means of displaying affection. If its anything else, other behaviors will be displayed. Its also important to be able to tell the difference between bunting and head pressing.
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Social Rank Determines Which Cat Head
Bunting ranks higher than urine marking, which is usually done by a more subordinate cat to avoid conflict. Within a multiple cat household or environment, its the dominant cat, the one with the higher social rank in the household, that does the head bunting.
Its not the subordinate, shy, squirrely cats that bonk other cats. Its the confident cat, the one who is everyones friend in the house. His purpose is to spread the colony smell and groom everyone, Johnson said.
Seeking Food Or Attention
Many cats look for attention first thing in the morning. Nighttime can be boring for a feline. Cats are not nocturnal but are often active after dark. They enjoy the peace and quiet afforded by life without active humans. After a while, the cat will seek interaction with you.
Some cats will amuse themselves by wandering at night. Others simply stare out of the window. By the time you wake, the cat is ready for interaction. This is especially likely if you have established a play routine or feeding first thing in the morning.
If you have established this routine, do not deviate from it. The bunting is a gentle reminder of your responsibilities. If you fail to meet the cats expectations, these reminders will become less subtle. Elongated meows, and even scratching or biting, can follow.
You could also look out for other classic signs of attention-seeking in cats. These include:
- Circling your feet when you get out of bed
- Pawing at your face or toes
- Flopping onto the back and exposing its belly
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