Why do cats headbutt?

Should I Headbutt My CatPhoto by Ave Calvar on Unsplash

Have you ever observed that your cat is doing a head butt to you every morning? Did your cat wake you up through headbutt? Why do cats headbutt owners when they are sleeping?

You’re not alone, most us cat owners actually experience this. My cat usually wakes me up at the same time in the morning through head butting. Have you ever wonder why do cats head butt? 

There are too many reasons why do cats headbutt. It can be a dominance, affection or markings. Let’s further discuss on this issue.


If you can remember, we discussed pheromones in a cat with open mouth. Let us review what it is, pheromones are the scent that your cat is secreting from different body parts. They use pheromones to send a message and communicate with other cats. Otherwise, they also use their scent to either dominate and mark something with ownership. 


The headbutting behavior from your cats is called bunting. Bunting is a sign of affection from your cat that demonstrates his trust and respect for you. Bunting is different from among all the scent marking done by your cat. 

You should be proud and happy when your cat did bunting with you. Bunting is a compliment from your cat to you. Your cat will not do bunting to others such as strangers or people that they do not know. 

Lastly, when your cat did a bunt to you, it means that he’s marking that you are safe and he can trust you.

Why do cats bunt humans? Should I headbutt my cat back?

When your cat bunts you, your cat is claiming ownership of you. Your cat will never headbutt items, people, and other cats if it is not essential to him. Therefore, if cat bunts you, he’s simply declaring that this human is mine. Back off, this human is the only mine. He considers you to be his own property. 

On the other hand, when cats bunt their humans they are releasing pheromones that are sending other cats that you’re his human and he owns you. If ever someone else’s cat bunts you, your cat will override the smell it gave to you, because he is more possessive than anyone else in your life. Overriding the scent given by other cat is very essential to your owned cat, this means creating a sense of community for your little feline. 

Bunting for your cat is only reserved for people and cats that have an established relationship with. When your cat bunts you.  

Does a cat bunt another cat?

Bunting is not only reserved for the cat’s human. Bunting is also used to other felines more than their human company. When two cats bunt, they are sending a message of affection. Otherwise, they are using bunting, to create a colony scent wherein any feline that carries this scent will be deemed to be safe. 

Bunting another cat is vital for cats in the wild and in the streets. Though cats are very independent, they also live in communities that were created by the pheromones they released during bunting. When a cat is marked with the appropriate scent, that cat will be welcomed in the colony’s territory. If not, the cat will be chased away. 

If you have more than one cat at home, you may try to observe if they bunt. If they bunt they consider each other as friends. Usually, the bunting occurs after the dual grooming of your pets. 

For cats, bunting is a sign of dominance. It is normal that the cat that tops the feline hierarchy will initiate the activity. Therefore, it also means that the top will be the one to spread the approved scent. If someone from the below the hierarchy is an attempt to assert dominance. 

Why doesn’t your cat bunt with you?

Have you observed that your cat didn’t bunt to you ever but bunt every single person you and he meet? Don’t take it personally and don’t think that your cat hated you. Every cat is different and they all have different ways of expressing their affection. 

If your cat doesn’t bunt you, it may mean that you and your cat have a strong bond and your cat doesn’t need any scent reminder. See how much self-value and self-esteem a cat can have. They are very sure when their human is their human and they don’t need any confirmation to assure and guarantee it. 

If your feline doesn’t bunt you here are some other ways he expresses his affection:

– He sits close to you and purrs.

– He always greets you at the door with a swishy tail.

– He follows you from room to room. 

– He shows his tummy or willingly sleeps on his back.

– He nibbles or kneads at your clothing. 

– He grooms you through licking.

– Lastly, even though it is gross, he brings you gifts in the form of dead mice, or birds or roaches. 

Do not feel shame if your feline friend doesn’t do the bunting with you. Remember, cats are known to be mysterious but their love for their owners is very strong. 

Your Loving Cat

Your cat may not be bunting you, or maybe it took some time before your cat starts to bunt you, believed that your cat loves you. In the first place, your cat will not stay in your home if he doesn’t feel any love, security, trust, and safety. Bunting may be a symbol of affection and sign of approval from your cat, but you don’t have to be needy and desperate for your cat to bunt you. Remember, a cat is a master in detecting desperation. Giving your cat space, ignore him a little bit, and act as if you don’t see him, or a week of being a cold shoulder he may come around and give you some bunting. 

Does your cat give you a bunt in the morning? How do you react with it? Do you give him a sweet warm caress?

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