Why Does My Cat Headbutt Me?

If you are blessed enough to have a feline friend in your life, you must have experienced a headbutt, which could have left you puzzled if you don’t know what your cat is doing.

Another lesser-known fact is that headbutting is known as headhunting; basically, headbutting is how cats deposit their pheromones.

There are many reasons why a cat would headbutt you, and even if your cat doesn’t headbutt you, it is normal too. Every cat owner doubts why their cat is headbutting them and what it means, and this article could certainly clear that up for them. 

Cat headbutting you? Know why

What Is Meant by Cat Headbutts?

If a cat is headbutting you, it will first bump its head against something, per se an object or you, and then it will start moving to rub its cheek.

Head butting, otherwise popularly known as cat bunting, is a pretty classy move of cats, and they do that to almost everything they see or come up against, like a piece of furniture, another cat or animal, and humans, especially their owners. There is a multitude of reasons why a cat would headbutt you. 

Head Pressing Vs. Cat Headbutting-The Difference

People often confuse head pressing with headbutting. Head pushing is when your furry friend starts pressing its head against a wall, a piece of furniture, or an object constantly, which is a sign of abnormal behavior.

It is also accompanied by varied vocalization, disorientation, constant circling, and other activities they don’t normally partake in. When your cat is head pressing, it is a sign of a neurological disorder and denotes that your cat’s central nervous system is affected. 


Cats Headbutting Other Animals: 

  • It is common to find that some cats headbutt other cats for multiple reasons.
  • Cats show their respect by headbutting with the other cats.
  • They also headbutt with each other to create a common colony scent with the other cats in the house. 
  • When a feline cat moves its face closely toward another and starts rubbing its cheek on it, they release and transfer its pheromones among each other, creating a common colony scent.
  • Since it is a behavior that is very closely associated with social bonding, it is also a way of showing friendliness and trust among their cat peers. 
  • To summarize, headbutting within cats is to create a connection within themselves and establish a social bond. 
  • They mix their scents and, in the end, create a single, unique scent that is distributed around by headbutting as a colony scent. 

Marking Their Surroundings

Marking their surroundings using their colony scent is one of the most important reasons why cats headbutt. People believe that cats headbutt to mark their territory, but there is more than that.

These cats use their pheromones to mark their territory with their colony scent, and they also use that scent to create a comforting environment and to signify and mark an area that is safe for them. Cats headbutt with other cats to bond and create familiarity. 

Creation of Colony Scent

First, the scent is secreted from the cat’s glands, which are located in certain body parts. The scent is secreted from the glands, and when cats rub and headbutt against other cats, the scents mix with the other scents, and finally, a colony scent is created.

This scent marks territories, and bonds, creates trust among other cats, and gains affection from their owners.

Bonding With Their People or Marking Them

When a cat rubs their scent on their owner, they think very highly of you and try to gain their affection.

Cat bunting is commonly identified as a sign of affection, and when your cat is headbutting you, it means they require your attention and are trying to connect and bond with you.

Once your cat gives you headbutts and gets used to them, it starts headbutting other objects. To summarize, your cat loves you if it starts headbutting you. 


How Should I Respond When My Cat Is Head Butting Me?

  • Most of the time, when your cat headbutts you, it is a sign of their affection. 
  • If you don’t like to be headbutted by your cat often or if you don’t want your cat to headbutt your newborn baby, it is better to give them something else to distract themselves with.
  • Pick up your kitten and provide them with something else that they can rub on, like a cat tree, a fluffy toy, or anything that can act as a good scratching post. 
  • Sometimes, your cat might head butt you when they are uncertain or stressed about something, and at times like this, pay more attention and find out what exactly is bothering them. 
  • If your cat is headbutting you affectionately, it is good to have some one-on-one time together and give them some pats on their head, and it would be great if you would nuzzle your face against theirs. 
  • But sometimes, your cat might headbutt you when it is not happy, and it can be derived from their body language. 
  • Alongside headbutting, you will observe your cat hissing, growling, dilated and wide eyes, tucked and twitched tail, and so on. These are signs that tell you that your cat is unhappy.
  • Make sure your home is a very cat-friendly place, providing your cat ample space to sleep, eat, hide, and climb.  

What Is the Reason Cats Headbutt?

The main reason cats headbutt is because they create a colony scent, which will help them mark their owners with their colony scent.

They also use headbutting to bond with other cats and to self-soothe themselves. They also use headbutting to map their safe zone.

While cat bunting, the cats use their scent glands, which are located on their forehead, flanks, paw pads, cheeks, and tails, to leave their scent on an object or another human. This smell is from their pheromones, which humans cannot smell, but other cats and themselves can. 

It Is A Way OF Self Soothing

Cats headbutt against their owner and start headbutting against other objects to soothe themselves. Cats love their scent, and when they smell their scent.

It soothes them like purring, and when they rub against you, they start forming pheromones, creating joy for the cat when they smell them.

When your cat is purring and starts headbutting you, it means it is fully contained and smells joy and the familiar scent of home. 


Cats Headbutting Humans:

  • There are many reasons why your cat would headbutt you, and it is vital to know the reasons so you can act accordingly with them. 
  • Your cat might be seeking attention.
  • Your cat might be marking its territory on you.
  • Your cat might use headbutting to display affection and bond with you.
  • It could also utilize headbutting to check out new people. 
  • Since headbutting is a sign of trust, your cat can use it to let you know that it trusts you.
  • To summarize, a cat normally headbutts a human to let them know that they require attention and they want to be petted. 

What Does It Mean If Your Cat Does Not Headbutt You?

Just because it is all over the internet doesn’t mean that your cat should be into headbutting. So do not become anxious when your cat doesn’t headbutt you often or at all.

Some cats choose to headbutt as a way to communicate and express their emotion, but there are other ways to express their affection too.

Another lesser-known fact is that only the most confident cats headbutt, and if your kitten is young and shy, they would be quiet, and it would take them a while to become confident and start headbutting with you. 


There are times when your cat wouldn’t headbutt you, and sometimes, some cats wouldn’t even prefer headbutting all.

But that doesn’t mean that your cat doesn’t want to show affection; cats can show love in many ways. It is preferred if you know your cat’s behavior and habits so that you can be comfortable with them and adopt them easily.  


Why does my cat headbutt me?

There are many reasons why a cat would headbutt you. They make sure they leave their scent on you, and cats often headbutt their owners as a display of affection.

Sometimes they headbutt to mark their territory, to map their safe zones, and they headbutt with other cats to bond with them. 

Why is head pressing different from headbutting?

Headbutting should never be confused with head pressing, which is far more serious.

It could be related to neurological disorders, and if you see the signs, it is better to take your cat to the vet and get it checked immediately. 

What does it mean when your cat is headbutting furniture?

Some behaviorists say that headbutting and moving or inanimate objects can be your cat’s way of marking and recognizing the object’s familiarity, and they also use the technique of headbutting to mark their territory. They also headbutt to mark their safe zone. 

What are the other cat behaviors that can be considered a sign of affection?

Headbutting is not the only way your cat will express its affection. Some of the other ways include purring, kneading, rubbing their head against you, following you, nibbling you, sleeping on you, and so on. 

Why does my cat headbutt me in the morning?

For most cat owners, their morning alarm is their cat rubbing against them and headbutting them.

After they wake you up, you must stroke and scratch them to show your affection, and your cat might have missed you during the night, so it is willing to bond with you in the morning.

Your scent would have changed overnight, and your cat would try to cover it with its pheromones. 

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