What Does It Mean When Your Cat Headbutts You?

Do you arrive home after a long while to an adorable cat headbutt? Cat loves to headbutt people they love and trust. But that’s not all. Cats rub their heads on almost everything, from people’s legs to furniture and walls.

What does it mean when your cat headbutts you and the things around? For a long time, I have been trying to find out why does my cat headbutt me all the time? Well, the reasons for the headbutt may not be what you think. In fact, there are many reasons, some you may have never even imagined.

My name is Gregory Hogan. From my passion for animals and experience with my three cats, I have come to learn about cat headbutts. In this post, I will tell you what a cat headbutt is, and answer a common question most owners ask, ‘why does my cat headbutt me?’ Also, I will tell other reasons you didn’t know about that make cats headbutt everything around them. If you have been asking yourself, ‘why does my cat headbutt my face?’ Then read on.

What Is a Cat Headbutt and How Does It Look Like?

Ginger cat near the books

Before I discuss why do cats headbutt you, it’s essential to know what a cat headbutt is in the first place. A cat headbutt in technical terms is referred to as bunting. This is where your cat gently taps the head against you and wipes the cheeks against your body or any other nearby surface like furniture and walls.

Headbutting can easily be confused with cat head pressing. While headbutting is gentle, hard pressing is relentless and unnatural, and it involves pressing against objects like furniture rather than humans. Also, in hard pressing, there is no side sweeping with the cheek, and it comes with abnormal behavior like circling and strange meowing. You should pay attention to the difference and be sure to call your vet if you notice signs of hard pressing. This is because such action is always a manifestation of a neurological disorder.

Why Do Cats Headbutt?

Now you know what a cat headbutt is. So what does it mean when your cat headbutts you? We all have different ways of expressing our affection to others. Some of us listen keenly as a way of showing this. Others give a hug while most people prefer to express their love with words.

Cats express their affection to their owners too. If you see your cat headbutting on any part of your body, then it’s a sign of love. Sometimes my cat headbutts me then turns their heads other way. This is always an indication my cats want attention, especially if I have been away for some time. I usually reciprocate by playing with them, pet them, or giving them a head scratch.

Why Does My Cat Headbutt Everything?

Cat sitting on the girls legs

If you are keen, you may have noticed your cat headbutting furniture, floor, and even the walls. A cat headbutts these things as a way of marking territory. Cats have scent glands all over their bodies. They use this scent to leave marks on objects around to claim that area.

Also, cats rub the side of their face along surrounding objects to make the area comforting and familiar. They use scent glands near the chins and lips to leave behind their aroma. This process is called chinning. Cats also leave their odor on objects around the home to mark the area as safe, which makes them feel secure.

If you have other pets like a dog, your cat may try to headbutt it. This is mostly the case if your dog is friendly and familiar to your kitty. Most times, cats do it as a sign of affection and to seek attention. Some dogs may play along, but others who don’t have any idea of what that is may look a bit confused.

Do Cats Headbutt Other Cats?

Cats also rub other cats with their heads. This is a common occurrence that is viewed as a form of handshake that helps the cats to bond among themselves. It is also an act of trust among them. If you spot cats rubbing against each other, then you know they are close friends. Headbutting is also a common occurrence among wild cats, especially those from one family.

What If My Cat Doesn’t Headbutt Me?

Not all cats will headbutt you. Bunting varies in frequency and intensity from one cat to another. Some cats headbutt all the time, others may not bunt you for a while, and others may not headbutt at all. This is because every cat is unique and has its way of expressing affection. Therefore, if your cat doesn’t headbutt you, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t love you. 

There are other methods your cat may use to show affection like purring, licking you, nipping or nibbling you, napping on you, among others. If your cat is showing these signs but doesn’t headbutt you, then you need not worry.

The Love Behind a Cat’s Headbutt

A cat giving their face to some person or another animal is a big deal in the cat world. Cats only headbutt people or pets they trust and feel comfortable around. You should, therefore, feel honored when your kitty headbutts you. It’s their way of showing their love. So enjoy the headbutts as they come.

However, don’t be too hard on your cat or too worried when it doesn’t headbutt you. All kitties have their unique way of showing affection. Just be keen and understand how your cat shows affection, and reciprocate to make it feel loved and be part of your family.

Also, cats headbutt things to mark territory and make an area comfortable. So does your cat headbutt you or the things around? How do you feel about cat headbutts? What do you do when your cat headbutts your face? Do you headbutt your cat back? Please share your cat headbutt story in the comments below!

The article was updated in January, 2020.