Why does my cat headbutt me?

Posted by Argos, April 20th 2018, last updated October 1st 2020.

If you’ve got a cat that loves lots of affection, you’ve probably found yourself on the receiving end of a lovely, soft… headbutt. You might have been left wondering why did your cat headbutt you? And if your cat should be doing this? We’ve got a few answers for you here at Argos Pet Insurance!

What does a cat headbutt look like?

A cat headbutt, also known as ‘bunting’, is when a cat uses their head to make contact with you. Usually, they will tap their head against you and rub their cheek along whatever body part they’re near. You’ve probably seen your cat headbutt objects like walls, chairs and furniture too.

Cat headbutting dog

Why do cats headbutt?

Cats headbutt to create a colony scent. A cat headbutt is a great sign. It shows that your cat trusts you enough to be up close and personal with you.

Cats have scent glands all over their bodies. They use them to leave their mark on objects, including their humans. It is mainly used for bonding as well as socialising. If you notice your cat headbutt you, then turn their head to their side or tuck it down, it’s likely that they’re looking for attention.

Cat rubbing head on owner's hand


Is a cat headbutt a sign of affection?

A headbutt given to you by your cat is most commonly perceived as a sign of affection. However, you may notice that once your cat has given you a headbutt, they may also start headbutting inanimate objects around you too. The main reason a cat will headbutt you is to rub their scent onto you and create a colony scent that only cats would be able to detect. But, a cat would not do this to just anybody, and they certainly have to think highly of you to rub this scent on you.

Is a cat headbutt to mark territory?

Many believe that this is a way of simply marking territory, but it’s more complicated than this. While cats do use scent glands to mark their territory, they also use it to create comforting familiarity or signify an area as ‘safe’.

Do cats headbutt other cats?

You may notice that sometimes cats headbutt other cats too. This is to show respect to other cats or to create a common colony scent with other cats in the household. If a feline moves their face closely towards another cat and rubs their cheek on them, they will be releasing pheromones that creates their common scent.

What if my cat doesn’t headbutt me?

There are often times however when your cat may not headbutt you for a while, or headbutt you at all. This certainly does not mean that your cat doesn’t want to show affection towards you, as cats show their love in a number of different ways.

Now you understand your cat’s behaviours a little bit more, remember to keep it protected with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our cat insurance policies today.

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