my cat is headbutting me

Why Do Cats Headbutt You When You Get Home?


There is nothing like a nice warm welcome when you ​get home from work or ​when you have been out and about for an hour or two.

There is kitty waiting patiently, usually in his favorite spot. Although, he may just ignore you once he has seen you.  They do keep us on our toes.
Once all is in order, you sit down and kitty wants to head butt you.

It is his way of showing affection.  This is all normal and although the term headbutt or head bump is frequently used it is really referring to head bunt, the cat is giving you a head bunt.  

This is a great video which shows the meaning of head bunt without any words at all needed.

Cats have a sophisticated sense of smell, about 200 times stronger than ours. This strong sense of smell forms an integral part of the way in which cats deal with the world about them. ​

Think about your kitty. ​Is he is always smelling and sniffing to work out what's what in his world?

cats headbutting each other

Cats headbutting each other.

Why Do Cats Headbutt?

What does it mean when a cat headbutts you?

It is a sign of affection or greeting and recognizing that you are part of his group. He still needs to put his scent onto you to make sure that are part of that group.  

It is security for him. 

You will often see cats that live together in a group head bunting each other which indicates that there is trust within the group. Even big cats in the cat kingdom display this sort of behavior.
If you also have a pet dog, your kitty cat may even try head bunting the dog, which just makes the dog a bit confused.

Cat rubs head against dog in the yard

Keep calm and​ say nothing! Less trouble that way!

So by giving you a head bunt, your cat is marking his territory. The scent glands are activated in the head area that release pheromones and he is also showing you affection at the same time.

Similar to head bunting but a little different is chinning. Chinning is when cats run the sides of their face or jowls along objects.

cat rubbing the side of face against the surface of a wall

That feels so good and everyone knows - I have been here!

Why Do Cats Rub The Side Of Their Faces On Things?

When your kitty rubs the side of his face along objects, items and in our case my shoes while I am wearing them, he leaves a scent behind.

Cats have many scent glands in their body and multiple glands in the head area.

Our kitty definitely has favorite spots that he has claimed for rubbing the side of his face, one being the edge of a particular kitchen cabinet, a place that he frequently passes.

He also repeatedly rubs the side of his face along any shoes I am wearing, while I am sitting with legs crossed - just at the right height for kitty. ​

This is often referred to as chinning and when kitty is chinning he is using the scent glands along his lips and chin.

What he is doing is leaving his scent behind. The scent glands release pheromones, this scent marks his territory and makes him feel secure. It feels and smells like home.

why do cats headbutt

All kitties like a head scratch

Giving Kitty A Head Scratch

Cats love having a head scratch.  When our kitty gets a scratch in the jowls area, he is in immediate heaven. Where the jaw connects to the chin is a favorite spot for kitty and he will jut his chin out to ask for more.

Cats also loves a gentle scratch between the ears on the top of the head, a gentle scratch​.It’s not an area that kitty can easily groom himself although cat do use their front paws to groom this area.

Use the cues your kitty gives you as to whether he wants more. He may just decide to leave anyway.

Head Pressing

If your cat is pressing his head into a wall or other surface with some force for no reason you can discern or it looks unnatural, it is definitely time to go the the vet for testing and diagnosis. It may be nothing but if your hunch is that something is wrong it is always wise to ask a professional.

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About the Author Rebecca Parker

Hello! I am Rebecca Parker, the content editor of this site. This is my kitty cat in his heyday. He now has diabetes which means twice daily injections and much to his dismay, no more snacking in between meals. This gorgeous and very loved kitty is sadly now deceased, old age caught up with him.