Facts about the animal kingdom

Why Do Cats Headbutt You?

Ameera Mills
By Ameera Mills. January 29, 2019
Why Do Cats Headbutt You?

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Are you wondering what cat headbutting means? does your cat rub its head against you and you don’t know why? Cats are enigmatic creatures and can prove to be a mystery to their human companions. They tend to be really sleepy, emit interesting sounds and purrs and do things that are sometimes inexplicable, like rubbing against you.

Are you looking to understand your cat better? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Cat behavior is often directly linked to cat body language. For more about cat rubbing and cat headbutting, keep reading here at AnimalWised.

You may also be interested in: Cat Body Language - Examples and Pictures


  1. Cat head butting: meaning
  2. Why is my cat headbutting me?
  3. Cat headbutting my face
  4. Why is my cat headbutting everything?
  5. Why does my cat rub against me so much?
  6. Weird things cats do

Cat head butting: meaning

Imagine the following situation: you arrive home and the first thing your cat does is rub its body against your legs or headbutt you. Does this scene sound familiar? Virtually all cat owners experience something similar almost daily!

When it comes to cat behavior, two of the most important elements include; the delimitation of territory and companion identification. Therefore, when your cat rubs its body against your legs, it spreads its scent and ‘marks’ its territory. In addition, this headbutting or rubbing also makes you part of its clowder.

Cat face rubbing

Cat face rubbing is also connected to the concept of a cat marking its territory. Well, something similar. A cats face has glands which are responsible for releasing pheromones, specifically in between the eyes, ears and around the mouth. These same pheromones, in addition, are also secreted through a cat’s legs and flanks.

But, you may be wondering, what are pheromones in cats? Pheromones are chemical substances in the form of aromas secreted by cats and other animals. These pheromones send certain signals to other individuals of the same species. In this sense, pheromones can indicate, for example, if a cat is in heat, its mood and/or serve as a kind of identification method, allowing different felines to recognize each other. Find out more about pheromones in cats here!

When your cat rubs its face against yours or if your cat rubs against your legs its done, in part, to impregnate you with its smell and pheromones. This is also a cat’s way of marking you ‘belonging’ to your cat. And, if you think about it, when you leave the house your cat’s scent will fade throughout the day. This is why, generally, cat face rubbing or cat headbutting occurs first thing on arrival.

So if you are wondering, ‘‘Do cats get jealous of other cats?’’ They do! If you leave the house and pet another cat, through smell and scent, your cat will know this occurred and therefore remark their territory.

Cat headbutting or rubbing also serves to create a common smell between the two of you, making you both part of the same family. For more, we recommend taking a look at our article were we discuss why does my cat smell my face.

Why Do Cats Headbutt You? - Cat head butting: meaning

Why is my cat headbutting me?

So now that we’ve covered the general reasoning behind why cats headbutt and rub, you may be wondering, ‘‘What does a cat headbutting mean?’’ First things first, if your cat rubs against you or headbutts you, consider yourself special. Yes, the main reason for headbutting in cats and rubbing is to mark their territory, but the second reason is because they trust you and feel safe with you.

Usually if a cat headbutts you one after another, they are greeting you.

All of these signs and movements are part of cat body language, which in essence is the same language it uses to communicate with other felines. That’s why, when you see that two cats headbutt each other followed by rubbing, it means that they feel comfortable with each other.

Should I headbutt my cat

If your cat headbutts you, be gentle with it. Do not physically headbutt it back with force, but remain still and give it a little rub. If a cat is trying to express they feel comfortable with you, this should be returned.

For more about understanding cats, we recommend reading our article where we discuss everything you need to know about cat body language.

Cat headbutting my face

Is your kitten headbutting you? Newborn cats develop their sense of smell much earlier than sight. This means that they use their nose from very young in order to find their mother for food, care and protection. As they grow older, cats maintain this habit, rubbing and cat headbutting to greet, ask for food, for protection and to exchange information.

When cats headbutt each other it is not a sign of affection or love, but rather of trust and kindness. Therefore, you may also notice that your cat will headbutt other animals in the home, like dogs.

Does your cat rub its nose against your nose? Now you know why, they trust you! For more, take a look at our article where we answer the question, ‘‘How do cats communicate?’’

Why Do Cats Headbutt You? - Cat headbutting my face

Why is my cat headbutting everything?

Have you notice your cat rubbing everything? How about your cat headbutting everything? This is because its pheromones need to be spread ALL OVER its territory, i.e: you and the house. This will be especially evident when something new is brought into the home.

However, if you notice that your cat is excessively rubbing everything and this behavior doesn’t remit, take note. These such compulsive behaviors in cats can be a sign of stress and anxiety. In addition, by releasing pheromones, it gives the cat a chance to stabilize emotionally by changing their own mood.

For more about stress in cats, we recommend consulting these following articles:

Why does my cat rub against me so much?

Have you noticed your cat rubbing against you and meowing? Headbutting in cats and meowing are both signs that your cat is hungry. After centuries of evolution, cats recognize now that emitting sound will result in human attention. This is why a cat rubbing and meowing doesn’t only occur when you arrive home, but also in other stages of the day.

Meowing in cats can also be a sign of pain. Therefore, if your cat meows excessively or more than normal, we recommend consulting a veterinarian to rule our any possibility of pathology. Read here to find out more about why my cat meows so much.

Why Do Cats Headbutt You? - Why does my cat rub against me so much?

Weird things cats do

If you’d like to find out more about how to understand your cat, take a look at our video below:

If you want to read similar articles to Why Do Cats Headbutt You?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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Why Do Cats Headbutt You?