A Kitty's Point of View: Why Does My Cat Headbutt?
Written by FELIWAY, published on 25 May 2021
Meow! Meow! There are many ways I can show my human that I really love them. They only need to look at my body language to know when I’m happy; my eyes, my ears and my whiskers will tell them a lot, but I’m not sure they know how I’m feeling when I headbutt them!No, I’m not getting angry - it’s not like when humans headbutt each other - well that is just not nice at all! When I headbutt my human, I am trying to bond with them and show them affection. It’s not a hard bump, it’s a gentle, but firm, tap against them and I usually close (or half close) my eyes when I’m doing it so that I can really enjoy the experience. My whiskers and ears will also look relaxed.
Why do I headbutt my human?
You see, I have glands on my head - on my temples, cheeks and between my eyes and ears. I use my glands to mark things, and this makes me feel safe and secure - so when I’m headbutting my human, I’m just showing them that I feel safe and secure with them.
I leave my scent (my pheromones) on things when I feel comfortable so that I know my territory is safe. But it’s not just about feeling safe; it’s also my way of creating familiarity and showing respect. My ancestors in the wild used cat bunting (that’s another name for headbutting) in their colony, so they shared their scent with others, which was a sign of trust. So, when I headbutt my human it means that I trust them and they are my very best friend and part of my colony!
My human also helps me safe and secure because she has started using the new FELIWAY Optimum in the house - it really does make me feel serene and that I can cope with anything - especially as they always seem to be changing things around, and the kids are always bringing friends home. This would normally make me feel really uncomfortable, but if I hang around in the room with the FELIWAY Optimum, I’m just a laid back cat! Apparently, some clever scientists have discovered this new Feline Pheromone Complex to relieve kitty stress and it really works!
Other reasons why I headbutt!
It’s something I learned when I was in my litter; I used to headbutt my siblings to build a bond and tell them I loved them too.
Headbutting other cats
We do have another cat in our house and I’m pleased to say we rub along quite well. My human obviously read about introducing another cat into the house and made sure that we all have enough resources to go round. We don’t like sharing! But we do get along and we do headbutt each other at times, our way to remind each other that we’re friends.
Sometimes, I will headbutt when I’m rubbing up against other things in the house, like a chair or a door - or even when someone comes into the house - it’s also my way of confirming that it’s a safe place to be.
I’m not very keen on visitors (as I’ve told you before). As long as they let me come to them on my terms, I’ll do a bit of investigating and leave my scent on them - they quite like it and I hear them saying “Oh, isn’t she cute! - She must like me!” Meow! Yes, you’re OK, but just don’t pick me up until I’m ready! My human has also started using FELIWAY Optimum to make me feel more serene and comfortable at home - and I’ve noticed that this helps me feel more chilled out when visitors come by.
OK, I’ll hold my paws up! I do sometimes headbutt to get attention - I’ve got to use my feline wiles when I can. If I bump my head against my human and tuck my head underneath to one side, it’s a sure bet I’ll get a lovely head scratch as they know that’s my favorite place!
What if cats don’t bunt
Don’t worry, not all cats bunt. All cats are individuals and some of my feline friends don’t headbutt very often - but they will show other signs of affection and trust - they may slow blink at you, they may come to greet you when you come home, and if their tail is upright and they are purring, you’ll know they are really happy to see you!