Sunday, April 14, 2024

When A Cat Head Bumps You

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Why Do Cats Head Bump Humans

You can lose your mind trying to understand why cats exhibit certain behaviors. Why do they invite affection, only to greet it with a flash of claws and teeth? Why do they like to hang out in ? What is it about that terrifies them? And why do cats like to bump heads with their human companions in a cross-species version of a fist bump?

Unlike many cat habits, this one has a relatively clear explanation. Cats have scent glands on their foreheads that pheromones. Since cats use scents to recognize friendly life forms, a cat rapping its head on yours transfers those pheromones to you, essentially signaling that youre part of the pack.

This action is actually known as head bunting, not headbutting, and is typically reserved for leaders of a cat colony. They may also bunt on your leg or arm.

While you might perceive it as somewhat derogatorythat a cat is marking you as its territoryits more affectionate than that. Cats tend to bunt only when they like their target. You can bunt back, or pet them to return the affection.

Keep in mind a bunt is different from a cat its head on you, which may be a sign of discomfort and could warrant a visit to the vet.

Social Rank Determines Which Cat Head

Bunting ranks higher than urine marking, which is usually done by a more subordinate cat to avoid conflict. Within a multiple cat household or environment, its the dominant cat, the one with the higher social rank in the household, that does the head bunting.

Its not the subordinate, shy, squirrely cats that bonk other cats. Its the confident cat, the one who is everyones friend in the house.  His purpose is to spread the colony smell and groom everyone, Johnson said.

Why Cats Head Bump

Many species, including cats and humans, enjoy friendly touch and use touching as a means of communication. One of cats more distinctive and delightful ways to express themselves with touch is head-bumping, also called head-butting, head-bonking, or bunting. Cat behavior consultant and author Pam Johnson-Bennett explains this behavior well:

When comes up to you, lowers his head, and seems to butt it gently right in your face he may me doing what is referred to as bunting. This is a very affectionate behavior that is displayed only toward another companion animal or human family member. Bunting is a very respectful way that a cat shows affection.1

Bunting also leaves a youre in my club scent mark on the buntee.

Some cats are quite enthusiastic with their bunting. You may occasionally get your eyeglasses knocked slightly askew, or be momentarily startled when your cat affectionately rams his head into your nose. Of course, thats a very small price to pay for genuine kitty love.

When you come home and your cat trots over to greet you, you may want to kneel down and lower your head so your cat can execute a full head bump and give you a proper feline welcome.

Bunting is often the equivalent of a spirited high five. Or it can be a spontaneous expression of happiness or appreciation. At times it may mean much more, as in this anecdote:

Symptoms Of Common Cat Cancers

Type of Cancer What to Look for


Lethargy, progressive loss of appetite, weight loss. Other signs depend on which organ is affected, but you may notice diarrhea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing.

Soft Tissue Sarcoma

Detected as a firm lump or mass. Symptoms depend on the location and degree of the tumor. If in the mouth: Bad breath, loss of appetite, weight loss. If in the gastrointestinal tract: Diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Suspicious sore on a hairless area of the body ; excessive salivation , bad breath, appetite loss, weight loss, swelling of the jaw.

Head Bumping And Head Pressing: Theres A Difference

Cat Bumps On Head

Cats head press when theyre feeling severe discomfort in their head. This could be caused by hypertension, brain tumor, or other neurological problems.

They may walk up to a corner and push on both sides of the wall. Their face is wincing. Their head is throbbing. Its like us pushing into our temples when we have a headache. They may express excessive vocal irritability. They may howl like theyre disoriented, Johnson said.

If your cat has suddenly started pressing his head against walls or furniture, or if you notice any of these strange vocal behaviors, its a medical emergency situation and you should take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.

Johnson-Bennett says the best way to differentiate between these behaviors is to know your cat and be aware of any change in its behavior.

Its those little things that pet owners discover about their cats behavior that can make a real difference in the relationship. If you misunderstand subtle signs it can have a huge impact on whether you have a close bond or not. We misinterpret cat communication all the time. We think we know what theyre saying or we think their behavior is like a dogs behavior. Head bunting is another piece of the puzzle to have a better relationship with your cat. Thats what we all want. We dont want a cat who hides under the bed and doesnt want to be near you, Johnson-Bennett said.

Why Does My Cat Have Scabs

Scabs on a cats head and body can be uncomfortable. Scabs cause a constant itching sensation. When scratched with sharp claws, the scab will drop off and leave an open wound. This can invite bacterial infection.

It is a misconception that most scabs are caused by fighting. It is true that cats battle over territory, or for a potential mate. However, most cats back down before it comes to this. Hissing, growling and aggressive body language are designed to avoid conflict, not provoke it.

A cat will rarely prolong a fight once injured. If a feline draws blood, its opponent will usually flee. Cats are governed by survival instinct. It would take a long, drawn-out brawl to cover a cats head and body in scabs.

It is likelier that your cat has feline miliary dermatitis. This condition is so named as it caused small lesions on the skin that resemble millets. This will lead to spotty and flaky skin, which in turn causes itching. This can then lead to scabs. As per Companion Animal Practice, this common complaint has many possible medical explanations.

Listening To Tail Talk

Cat tails tell the story of a felines mood, and the more we know about what those whips and wags mean, the better we can understand what our cats are communicating. For example, knowing your cats tail cues can help you respect kittys space when they say space is needed through an agitated back and forth lash of the tail. Recognizing a cats ill mood can save you and your kitty from having an argument where they use teeth or claws.

Cat tales speak volumes. 

Just because you dont speak tail language, doesnt mean you cant understand it. Become fluent in tail swish with Wedgewood Pharmacys guide to cat tail meanings. Our aim as devoted cat parents is to keep our cats tail up and hooked at the tip!

Do Cats Know We Love Them

Cats give us unconditional love. Maybe most of all, we know cats feel love from the unconditional love they give to us. Unless a cat has had a traumatic history with humans, she will seek out her owner for affection in the form of play, stroking, or perhaps a chat. And you know a serene and loving cat by her purr.

Dont Stare Your Cat Finds It Rude

Cats stare for lots of reasons. They stare off into space, lost in their kitty thoughts. They stare at things they want to catch. When a food bowl is not full enough, your cat will stare you down too. But these focused gazes come with curious, but normal-sized pupils. If those pupils swell and the stare becomes intense though, somebody furry is not happy.

Dont confuse your cat with a direct stare. 

Cats dont care for unblinking, direct eye contact with anyone. In the wild world, staring at another animal with unblinking eyes signals threatening intent. So, cats can take our intense stares the wrong way, thinking were telling them we have an issue.

As we spend more time with our cats, though, we begin to understand each others cues better. What might be once interpreted as a battle stare becomes just the usual between a cat and her family.

Why Do Cats Love Their Heads Rubbed

Cats love having their head scratched because it reminds them of their mothers who licked their faces when they were kittens, according to feline experts. The concentration of scent glands on their heads is also stimulated when theyre having a blissful rub which releases smells that they find extremely relaxing.

Why Do Cats Head Bump

Cats head bump to communicate. Cats primarily communicate through scent. A head bump deposits a small amount of your cats scent pheromones on your skin. This lingering scent-marking identifies you as safe.

Many cat owners and feline veterinarians and behaviorists also believe cat head bumps are a sign of affection. But until we can speak cat we will never know for sure.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Headbutts You The Science

Technically headbutting is really head bunting. This is a social bonding behaviour that is used by cats. It is often intended to show friendliness and trust.

Cats headbutt to create a colony scent. A cat headbutt is a great sign. It shows that your cat trusts you enough to be up close and personal with you.

Cats have scent glands all over their bodies. They use them to leave their mark on objects, including their humans. Cats have scent glands just above their eyes and below their ears. When they activate these glands whilst rubbing against you they will emit pheromones.

If you have several cats you may well find that each of them headbutts you. They may take it in turns or they may each take different days with you to stake their claim. They are hardwired to compete for your love and attention!

Head Bumping Is A Sensory Experience For Cats

This Is Why Your Cat Loves To Head Bump You ...

Head bumping, head butting and bunting are all interchangeable terms for the same basic behavior. Allorubbing or head rubbing are also variations on the same theme.

But as Cat Behavior Associates points out, different cats may do this in slightly different ways.

And the same cat may gently head bump you one day and use their head as a battering ram into your forehead or thigh or arm the next day.

How To Clean A Cat Abscess Wound

If you have an indoor-outdoor or outdoor cat , you may want to house them indoors until the wound heals to avoid contamination.

My vet suggested I do the following for an outdoor cat that seems to be eating and behaving normally who cannot be brought indoors. Use the supplies in your cat first aid kit and any antibiotics or medications your vet may prescribe as directed. Perform the above steps 2 or 3 times a day for 34 days:

Why Do Cats Head Bump: Looking Deeper At This Unusual Feline Trait

Shannon CuttsCat Behavior

Cats may be one of the more enigmatic of all pet animals and owners spend a lot of time trying to figure out how their cat feels about them.

If you have ever watched your cat and wondered what is going on inside that adorable furry head, you are definitely not alone.

When your cat approaches you and seems to deliberately bump its head into you, this brings up even more questions. What is your cat trying to ask you, show you, or tell you?

This post will look deeply into cat head bump behaviors to answer this question.

Why Do Cats Headbutt Each Other

If you see your cat headbutting another cat does this mean that they really like them to? Well, headbutting between cats is a way to show respect or to align themselves with that cat eg if there are several cats in a household.

Headbutting also allows cats to exchange scents. The creation of a group scent amongst several cats is a sign of a strong bond.

As I mentioned earlier, head bunting is social animal behaviour and can be part of creating a stronger relationship between cats. And this behaviour can also take place between cats and dogs not always mortal enemies!

When Cats Headbutt Other Animals

Technically, the cat headbutt were so familiar with is called head bunting. Bunting is a behavior associated with social bonding, and even big cats do it with their friends and family. Lions like to headbutt other members of their pride as a way of recognizing their family dynamic. According to cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennet, putting their head so close to another is a sign of trust and friendliness. 

Cats also headbutt as a way to mark and exchange scents. Felines have scent glands all over their bodies. When they rub their head on another cat, they create a group scent that signifies a close bond.

Should You Headbutt Your Cat

If you know your cat likes to put their head close to yours, go ahead and try out your own headbutt. Keep it slow and gentle and see how your cat reacts. Shell most likely return the gesture and headbutt you back. 

Your cat knows you dont speak the same language, but understanding feline body language is a great way to communicate. You can tell your cat how you feel about her in a way shell fully understand.

When Cats Headbutt Furniture

While cat headbutting can signify a social bond, what does it mean when your cat headbutts your sofa? Are they saying theyre best friends with your furniture?

Not exactly.

While some behaviorists say headbutting an inanimate object can be a cats way of recognizing that objects familiarity, its more likely to do with scents and territory. Cats use the scent glands located on their cheeks to mark their territory. It lets other animals know that territory has already been claimed, and it also makes the area seem more safe and comforting to the cat.

Its important to never confuse headbutting with head pressing. If your cat is consistently pressing their head against the wall, floor, or furniture, it could be a sign of a serious neurological disorder.

Bacterial Or Fungal Infection

One of the biggest risks of scabs is inviting bacterial infection by scratching them. Bacteria often enters a cats body through open wounds. It is possible that a cat has scabs due to an existing bacterial or fungal infection.

These ailments typically impact outdoor cats. The more time a cat spends outside, the more external elements it will interact with. This includes potential contagious disease, or contaminated food or water. Fighting with other cats can also provoke an infection.

Bacterial and fungal infections can usually be treated with minimal difficulty. You will need to act quickly, though. The longer your cat lives with infection, the more severe it will grow.

Feline Acne

Feline acne commonly forms around a cats chin. In many respects, it resembles human acne. The skin will become inflamed, covered in blackheads, pimples, and pustules. These will eventually scab over.

The Japanese Journal of Veterinary Dermatology notes that any cat, regardless of age, sex or breed, can develop acne. Sometimes, the problem can be treated at home. Ensure that the impacted skin is regularly washed and cleaned. 

If cleaning clears up the acne, no further treatment is needed. This was clearly a temporary outbreak, potentially hormonal in nature. If the problem persists, check with a professional. Your cats skin may have a bacterial infection that requires treatment with drugs.

Pus Pockets



Step 3: Use Light Pressure

Kitty Head Bumps

Wear gloves for this step. Once the abscess is draining, you can help the discharge escape with light pressure. Be sure not to push too hard, or you will hurt the cat. I choose not to do this step because I am afraid to hurt the cat. I let the wound clear on its own while gently wiping the area with a warm washrag to remove germs and other debris. Once the wound is finished draining, you can proceed to the next step.

Pooping Outside The Box

Its not pleasant when a cat starts going outside of the litter box. If this is happening in your home, you should try to figure out the cause. Make sure the litter box is clean, easily accessible, and in a semi-private space.

You should also have an adequate number of litter boxes, which is one per cat plus an additional one. So, if you have two cats, you should have three litter boxes. You can try out a variety of boxes to see what your cat prefers.

If you have older cats, they might have trouble going up and down the stairs or getting into litter boxes with high sides. Try placing a litter box on the floor where your cat lives and purchase one they can get in and out of easily.

Litter box issues can also be caused by illnesses, such as a urinary tract infection. If you suspect a medical issue or if youre having trouble solving the problem, you should talk with your veterinarian.

Get the scoop on cat poop, including more tips on keeping your cat from going outside the box.

When Should I See A Vet

Anytime you are in doubt, take the cat to a vet for a consultation. The vet will then either keep your cat and take care of the abscess or send you home with a list of instructions. I am by no means a vet, vet tech, or vet assistant. This is information I have learned over the years and from my own vet. You should always seek veterinary attention if:

  • The cat is more lethargic than normal.
  • The cat appears to be in any pain or distress.
  • The cat has lost its appetite or stopped eating.
  • The cat is vomiting .
  • The abscess does not stop draining within 48 hours.
  • The area of the wound is very large.
  • The cat is immunocompromised.

Why Do Cats Headbutt You

Many cat owners will have experienced their cat jumping up onto their lap and headbutting them straight in the face. If a human did this we may think they were trying to attack us, but dont worry. With cats they are doing something totally different.

A beautiful young siamese kitten cuddling its owner

1. Pheromones

Pheromones are chemicals that are secreted outside the body and can affect the behaviour of other animals. Cats produce lots of pheromones in glands around their face which they use to mark things they come in contact with. It is thought that cats do this to claim certain things as their property/territory such as their favourite human.

2. Affection

The head butting behaviour can also be taken as a sign of love. Both domestic cats and wild cats will face rub and headbutt with cats they know well. They also do it to members of their pride as a way to mark each other as family and show affection. You should feel honored if your cat headbutts you as its cat language for Hey, you, youre in my gang.

Reason For Cat Bunting

Why do cats headbutt? They engage in this behavior to help create a colony scent. During this process, they are using some of their scent glands, which are located in their cheeks, lips, forehead, flanks, paw pads and tail, to leave their scent on you or another object. This scent comes from their pheromones, which we cant smell, but is clear to themselves and other cats. Leaving their scent helps cats with:

  • Marking their owners to create a colony scent
  • Bonding with other cats
  • Self-soothing

Fight Wounds Introduce Bacteria

Cats tend to be very territorial, and they fight using claws and teeth, which carry a lot of bacteria. A cats skin is also thickespecially an outdoor cat. When a cats needle-like claws or teeth go into another cats skin, dirt and bacteria get pushed in along the way. When the cats claw or tooth is pulled back out, the other cats thick skin seals together over the hole and traps the dirt and bacteria under the outermost layer of thick skin.

Cat Scab Treatment And Control

If you spot scabs on your cats skin, resist the urge to pick at them. This is a short-term solution that will cause longer-term issues. The skin will bleed, and your cat may develop a bacterial infection.

Preventing scabs is always preferable to curing them. If you learn what is causing this skin complaint, you can protect your cat. Removing triggers and following an appropriate lifestyle plan will help.

If your cat already has scabs, offer comfort. There are multiple ways to achieve this aim using lotions and medications. If unsure, speak to a vet. You can typically find remedies over the counter at a pet store, though.

Home Care And Remedies For Cat Wounds

I feed several stray cats from my neighborhood. Quite a few of them will even let me carry them around and treat them like babies. The rest just run like mad at the sight of me. One of the cats I feed showed up the other day with a wound on the back of his neck. It looked like it went all the way down to the bone, and the gaping hole had fur hanging to the side. I called the vet and ran the cat in to see what could be done to minimize the poor thing’s suffering.

The vet explained to me that the cause of the gaping wound was most likely an abscess that had burst. The vet then explained how a cat gets an abscess, how to care for the abscess at home, and how to know when a vets medical attention is necessary. In this article, we will take a look at the following:

  • The definition of a cat abscess
  • Abscess symptoms and types
  • How to treat a cat abscess at home
  • Necessary supplies and cat handling
  • When to see a veterinarian

When A Cat Head Bumps You

Red Bumps On Cats Head

Table of Contents

When A Cat Head Bumps You? A head bump on the leg, hand, or even face is a good thing we promise! So why do they do this? Cats can activate the scent glands on their head just above the eye and below their ear, which excretes pheromones that they in turn rub on you.

When your cat rubs their face on you, its a seemingly loving display of affection and feels good for all involved. Just as you suspected, one of the main reasons that cats like to rub their head against you is to show affection and there is even a name for this behaviour bunting. Cats bunt primarily as a way of bonding, and they do this not only to you and other humans but also with other cats and even dogs. Bunting is your cats way of communicating their affection for you and identifying you as one of their friends. No doubt youll have noticed that your cat also likes to bunt against things around the house, as well as against you. Cats may even attempt to bunt over the scent marks left by other cats. Female cats use bunting as a way of indicating their scent change and to try to entice male curiosity.

What does it mean when my cat rubs her head on my head? bunting

You Might Also Like: Do Cats Have 100 Vocal Cords?

Head Bumps Are A Bonding Ritual Among Cats

The Rescue Vets highlight the importance of head bumps, which are sometimes also called head butts or bunting, as a bonding ritual between two cats.

Interestingly, even though the most confident cat will initial a head bump, in that head bump the two cats involved actually exchange scents.

The initiating cat will deposit their scent pheromones on the receiving cat. And the receiving cat also deposits some of its scent pheromones on the initiating cat.

Within a cat colony, head bumping is an important way to identify who is a part of the cat colony and who is an outsider.

Within your home, your pet cat may have a rather unusual assortment of colony members you and your family but the importance of head bumping to exchange scents still remains.

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