Why does my cat headbutt me?

Posted by Argos, 20 April 2018, last updated 26 September 2022.

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 is a Cat Headbutt?

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. Its likely you have also 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, as they have scent glands all over their bodies, which they use to leave their mark on objects, including their humans. The scent is mainly used for bonding as well as socialising, but 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. A cat headbutt is a great sign, it shows that your cat trusts you enough to be up close and personal with you.

Cat rubbing head on owner's hand


Is a Cat Headbutt a Sign of Affection?

Cat bunting 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. This is mainly to rub their scent onto you and create a colony scent that only cats would be able to detect. But cats don’t just do this to anyone and they certainly have to think highly of you to rub this scent on you.

Cats Marking Territory

Many believe that cats headbutting their owner is a way of simply marking territory, but there is slightly more to it than this. So, why do cats bump heads? Whilst cats do use scent glands to mark their territory, it is important to know that they also use it to create a comforting familiarity and to signify an area as ‘safe’ for them.

Why 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 when your cat may not headbutt you for a while, or even headbutt you at all. But this certainly doesn’t 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 help keep yourself protected from vet bills should your cat get injured with Argos Pet Insurance provided by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Explore our cat insurance policies today.

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