Feline Behavior: Why Do Cats Headbutt Their Owners?

The Following Blog is from a website called And My Cat . It’s a website for cat lovers.


Ever wondered why kitty randomly headbutts your leg? Or arm? Or head? The funny action actually has a name – “bunting” – and there’s a reason behind the curious behavior!

It’s not headbutting in the human sense, because the motivation for kitty is rubbing on you and leaving his or her scent glands there. You can take it as a compliment, because your cat’s intentions are purely friendly – bunting is actually something cats generally only do with other animals and humans they’re familiar with.

So… what exactly is a cat trying to say with each and every head bump? Read below to find out all about this scent communication.

“Pet me, please!”

”Cats are pretty smart, as you probably already know – so if you’ve taken the headbutt as a sign that kitty wants to be petted, then your feline probably quickly associated bunting with getting lots of TLC. On the other hand, your cat’s intentions might’ve been for scratches behind the ears all along.

“Feed me, please!”

This one is purely anecdotal, as one of our cats endlessly headbutts once dinnertime rolls around. You can tell he’s hungry as he struts along the top of the couch – making sure to rub your head and shoulders until it’s finally time for food. Perhaps kitty sees getting fed as a sign of affection, and is encouraging some TLC??

“I love you!”

As mentioned before, bunting – a form of “allorubbing” – isn’t something cats do with strangers. Generally, it’s reserved for other critters – like cats and humans – that the felines find important and want to put their scent on. If kitty greets you with a headbutt, take it as a sign that he or she feels safe and secure with you around – quite the compliment!
Traditionally, it’s thought that cats rub on things to mark them as their own – a matter of being territorial. But researchers now think that rubbing can also be a sign of respect, affection, or simply something that soothes them.

Next time kitty strolls over and rubs (or maybe smashes) his or her face onto yours, you can feel confident that your cat thinks you’re the best!

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