Why does my cat headbutt me? – All about cat bunting

You may understand the meaning when a human headbutts you but might just not get an answer when thinking why does my cat headbutt me. This is a very random expression shown by cats and can be hinting at any of the possibilities that we are going to explore in this article. Let’s begin without any ado.


Know the cat headbutt

Firstly, it is important to understand the particular way in which the cat headbutts because that will help you to differentiate between the different physical signs of the cat!

A typical cat headbutt involves the cat tapping her head against any living beings or objects followed by rubbing her cheek on the same surface too. Cats display the tendency of headbutting anything ranging from fellow friendly animals, human beings, or even objects like furniture, walls, etc. Such an event can mostly be seen during day time or when they are highly active.

Headbutting is also referred by the name cat bunting by the animal experts. Now, you must be intrigued to know how headbutt helps the cat anyways.

The scent glands are present on every spot of the cat’s body which release pheromones and these are left by the cat on the surfaces they touch to mark it as their property. A headbutt is one such method of doing so but it involves other social and behavioral purposes too.

You must also know that no matter how natural cat headbutting may be, it’s not a mandatory thing in cats. Some felines do so while others don’t and it’s perfectly normal. At the same time, some cats do a headbutt with higher intensity than the others and the same variation exists in the frequency too.

Reasons for the cat headbutting you

why does my cat headbutt me

If you wonder why does my cat headbutt me every time it does so, there can be many reasons for it. The act does not have any violent tendencies at all and may hint at the following things.

Share smell

We already discussed that cats communicate via scent exchanging and a headbutt helps them in doing so. When cat headbutts on you or any other surface, they secret their scent and smudge on it that spot to mix their scent with the others. In a way, they mark the person or object for later visit, possession, or ownership.

This is a common behavior seen in the domestic cats which they do frequently. It can also be understood as a part of the process where the cats are trying to accept the people and the place as their home. It’s a positive sign and should be accepted readily.

Show affection

Your cat may headbutt you simply to show her affection towards you. This is one of the best ways the cat knows to express her love and respect for you. You can determine this reason by observing any purring and head movement done by the cat along with the headbutt.

The cat may also do so to seek your attention and this can be understood when they shift their head down or turn it sidewards after butting it into you.

Demand for their needs

Cats have needs too like food, interaction, and other resources and they demand their fulfillment by various signals, headbutt being one of them. In a way, they bunt at you to remind you of the responsibilities and meet them at due time. If you fail to do so, the bunting may get followed by meows, howls, or even scratches.

Cats may also circle feet, paw, knock things, cuddle, purr, or lay flat on their belly if you thing why do cats headbutt you only for wanting interaction or attention.

Display dominance

Displaying dominance through a headbutt is not a very pleasant expression that involves the cat smearing its scent aggressively on the desired spot to not only make a mark but also dominate over the object too. They make sure that the pheromones spread deeply and widely.

At the same time, such behavior is mostly seen to be exhibited by dominant cats over submissive or leaner cats and seldom on a superior being. However, you should watch out for aggressive behavior in your cat if it does this headbutt frequently and grooms afterward.

Meaning of cat headbutts in different scenarios

As said already, a cat can do a headbutt with different things, and here’s what every headbutt usually means.

Cat headbutting with other animals

This indicates their attempt at social bonding with fellow pets or cats to establish a sort of treaty marked by friendship and trust. They exchange their scents to establish a close bond between their creeds or to demarcate their areas. It can also be considered as a general way of greeting where they identify the other animals by the smell.

Cat headbutting non-living objects

Felines tend to headbutt with objects too like furniture, bed, or any other mundane thing. They use the same smell mechanism to mark those objects which in a way shows that they like it or display their possession over that particular thing. However, ensure that they are not severely pressing their head against any object as it can be a neurological condition. See how.

Cat headbutting with humans

The reason for why do cats headbutt you is the same here and for every other human too. This shows the familial and affectionate relations they want to establish with you by marking you via the pheromones. They might tend to do the same with strangers too but it is mostly seen to occur with the family members.

Ways to perceive and respond to the cat headbutt

Usually, the best way to respond to headbutts by cats is by doing nothing and just accepting them readily. Watch out for the sigs as we discussed above to know what the cat is conveying and tailor the response accordingly. Maintain a poker face and see what the cat does after the headbutt.

Don’t encourage bunting but don’t deter it too. You can also calmly tickle or pet the cat after you talk to them in a soft voice as the first response. Don’t resort to treating them immediately as they may get used to it.

Most importantly, it is better to never return the headbutt with a headbutt. Respond through different and softer affectionate ways and let them know calmly in case you didn’t like the headbutt.


We hope that by now you must have been able to solve the puzzling question of why does my cat headbutt me. You must understand the underlying meaning carefully to not end up giving an undesirable response and invite serious repercussions.

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Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.