Headbutting is a signature move of cats. The act of rubbing their facial scent glands against objects, a piece of furniture, people, places, and animals is known as “Headbutt”. Cats headbutt for establishing social connections, marking territories, creating colony scent, seeking attention, checking out strange things, and bonding with others.
Cats also headbutt to soothe themselves. It is the same feeling they get when making biscuits (the behavior of kneading with their paws). In short, it is a way through which cats regulate their emotional state. However, as a cat owner, you should know the difference between a headbutt and a head press.
While headbutting is healthy social behavior, head pressing can signify a chronic neurological condition. Head pressing can be easily identified when your cat frequently presses its head against the wall or other inanimate objects. Additionally, sometimes a cat might display unusual vocalizations and disorientation signs.
Take your cat to the vet asap if it is repeatedly pressing its head against things. Cat insurance helps provide your cat with quality medical care during unexpected health issues and emergencies. You have no pet insurance? If so, consider purchasing a pet policy to potentially lower your economic burden in times like these and many more.
Meanwhile, read this article to learn some reasons why your cat might bite after headbutting.
My cat headbutts and then bites me. What is my cat’s intention?
Probably your cat is too enthusiastic about painting you with its scent. It can mean anything from a request to play to ask for your attention or meals. However, you might get clues on your cat’s intention by reflecting on the context in which they gave you a headbutt and then a quick bite.
- Biting is sometimes considered an extension of scent marking behavior. A typical headbutt will lead to cheek rubbing, which then proceeds to work their little fangs. Some cats delight in vigorous cheek rubbing and biting while marking their humans. So, respond to your cat with a headbutt but stay away from its tiny mouth.
- Your cat might be too excited to share its scent and get into nibbling mode without even realizing what they are up to. Giving love bites is an extreme scent marking behavior observed in cats. So, beware of your cat’s next move after a headbutt and gently move aside as soon as you realize it is heading for a love bite.
- Some cats show love through aggression and mostly assume that their humans know that. Over time your cat might get too comfortable and bite you (even if they love you), especially if you are not discouraging the behavior.
- Although headbutting and rubbing are common ways to greet near and dear ones in the cat world, young kittens can amp up the level with biting and nibbling gestures towards their humans.
- Overstimulation and excessive petting can also elicit biting responses from irritated cats. So, end the petting session if you think it has gone far too long. Not all cats walk away when tensed; some can bite their owners right on the cheek to express their distress.
- If you are using your hand too much to play with your cat, then it is the most accessible place to bite when needed. So, don’t let your cat toy with your hand.
- When your cat cannot get a message across to you through a headbutt, it can try biting to reassert the same. For instance, your cat may headbutt and meow, asking for meals; if you don’t understand, they may bite you to tell you it is food that they want.
Even with all this in mind, get your cat medical help if you suspect behavioral problems. Although cat insurance doesn’t cover behavioral issues, it will cover your furball’s testing and treatments for accidents and certain illnesses and other medical conditions. Read the fine print in the policy disclosure statements to know what’s covered before purchasing pet insurance.