Cats are full of charming and hilarious ways of showing affection. One of the cutest is the headbutt. If you have a cat at home, you’ve likely noticed them headbutting you or even headbutting inanimate objects. You might be wondering exactly what it means when your cat headbutts you – here’s the meaning behind this cute behavior.
What is a cat headbutt?
Cats headbutt to release pheromones that mark an area as ‘safe’. This action is sometimes referred to as bunting. They headbutt people, but they also headbutt walls, tables, and other inanimate objects. When a cat headbutts, they start by tapping their head on you and then rub their cheek along the person or object.
Why do cats headbutt?
Scent and pheromones are very important to cats – they use them as a way to communicate with other cats and mark their territory. Pheromones are a little like scent, but they have a specific meaning that (physically and biologically) cannot be ignored.
Cats have scent and pheromone glands located at various points on their body, with some of the most prominent being on their face. Cats headbutt to mark their territory and create a ‘colony scent’ in their living space.
However, headbutting isn’t just a way of marking territory – it’s also used as a bonding behavior. When your cat headbutts you, it is a sign of affection and means that they think of you as a safe, trustworthy person. Cats won’t headbutt just anyone, so when they headbutt you, it’s a strong indicator of their bond with you.
In some cases, headbutting can also be attention seeking. It might mean that your cat wants to be petted or played with.
Do cats headbutt other cats?
If you have more than one cat, you might notice that they headbutt each other as well. They do this as a way of combining their scents to create a ‘colony scent’. This is a blend of their pheromones that helps them feel safe around each other.
Why do cats headbutt furniture?
You’ve probably also noticed your cat headbutting the furniture and walls around your house. They do this as a way of marking their territory – it’s a way of showing other cats where their space is.. Having their scent in the space helps your cat feel more relaxed and comfortable at home. That pheromone means ‘this is safe’, and helps a cat navigate their environment.
Some anxiety diffusers for cats use this pheromone to help a cat feel safer when they’re worried about their environment.
Headbutting is a very common cat behavior that helps them feel safe. Since headbutting is such a sweet sign of affection, it’s definitely a compliment when your cat headbutts you!