Behavior Mod.

Why Does My Cat Give Me Head Butts?

Nelson head buttIf a human were to walk up to you and slam his forehead into yours, it would generally be a bad thing – and probably lead to a fight! However, when your cat does it to you, it means something entirely different.

The technical term for what your cat is doing when he bonks you on the head with his own is bunting. Bunting includes head-cracking and also rubbing themselves against your legs. They do this for a few reasons – to communicate (“Hi, how are you!”), to leave their scent on you, or because they want to be petted.

Cats communicate with us using body language and if a cat head butts you, he is extremely content, greeting you with love and affection. And, remember, he is bunting, or leaving his mark on you to signify that you are safe, trusting and comfortable.

Some cats tend to bunt more frequently than others, so don’t be concerned if your cat isn’t giving you skull-cracking head bonks. He’s probably showing his affection in some other way!

Check out this video of kitties Emma and Portia giving head butts, filmed with a GoPro HD helmet cam. Cool!

Does your cat give you head butts?



  1. Diane Porter

    Nov 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    we have 4 cats, only 1 gives us head bumps, usually when he is hungry. The others show their affection in other ways.

    • Amanda brown

      Jul 1, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      I have one cat and she gives me headbutts all the time and she like it when I do it back to her

  2. Catburglar

    Nov 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Very cute, and I wish my new boy did this, but he’s not a head-butter. And… I know, I’m going to get flack for mentioning this, but, folks, forgive me, I just can’t stand it. It’s “… or because they want to be petted.” Your cat doesn’t want to be pet – after all, he/she is already your pet!

    • Marjean

      Nov 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

      Thank you for saying what I wanted to say! That drives me nuts!

  3. Matt

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:04 pm

    I’m sorry to say this but….

    could they find an UGLIER cat to demonstrate this?!

    It’s not an overly popular breed and ugly as sin, WHY didn’t they use ANY other cat breed?!

    • Brooke Arnold

      Brooke Arnold

      Nov 7, 2013 at 1:40 pm

      Actually, the Sphynx is the 10th most popular cat breed according to The Cat Fanciers Association. 🙂 And I find them especially cute.

      • Christine

        Nov 7, 2013 at 7:25 pm

        Actually, the SPYNX in the picture is one of the most loving species to be had. I recently have gotten one and it was the best decision we have ever made. Our Allergic child could now have a cat. No reaction at all.
        So, Mr. Matt unless your the hottest thing on earth, it’s kinda .. well, ZIP IT!

    • Tina Kipp

      Nov 8, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      I love those cats, I call them Pumpkin cats. I think they are so beautiful. I’m a cat lover so….all cats are beautiful to me.

    • dd

      Nov 8, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      There are NO ugly animals!!!

    • B

      Sep 19, 2014 at 8:16 pm

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Dont judge a loving soul, this cat does not judge you. You could learn a thing or two from this cat you call “ugly”.

  4. Merk

    Nov 7, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    what does it mean when they head bonk you, then bite the crap out of your hand when you try to pet them, then run.

    • Donna

      Nov 8, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      that you shouldn’t pet them at that time? Without seeing what the cat is doing, I would say the cat wants to play and is getting overexcited.

  5. Kay Powell

    Nov 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    My boys love to head-butt me. One of them wakes me up at night with his amorous advances!

  6. Eveline

    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    My oldest cat, Jujuba, does is all the time, head cracking ones. Joaquim hops on the table, gives us a head-butt and then turns around and points his butt to us, and then head butts and points his butt,… many times! My youngest one, Mel, doesn’t like faces too close to her face, so, her head-butts are generally done on our legs or hands.

  7. Norah James

    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    I have one cat that head bumps me, but our other cat doesn’t do it all that often. He head bumps my husband all the time, so I’m thinking he doesn’t like me as much.

  8. Chris A

    Nov 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    I have had communicative cats that talked all the time and typical cuddlers but this last one is my first boy. He is pretty funny. He head butts me every morning to get up and if that doesn’t work, he walks across my boobs. OUch. That works for me. I get up and feed him. He also plays fetch. My dogs don’t fetch. He is only vocal when he wants to play, eat, or go outback with the dogs because he isn’t sure what he is but he knows he is the most special of the bunch….

    • Tia

      Jan 23, 2016 at 12:52 pm

      Lol! I thought I was the only one whose cat walked across their hurts! And it’s a bit painful but I love my little Stormy!

  9. Claire

    Nov 8, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    Everyday after I would get home from school my wonderful cat, Olivia, would be waiting at the door. She would stare at me as it come in and quickly follow me up to my room and hope on my bed. I would quickly take me shoes and backpack off and join her on the bed and we would head butt each other for a few minutes before she would ask for a belly rub.
    I always feel like you have a rare connection when you can do that with a cat.

    • Fanny

      Dec 5, 2016 at 9:11 pm

      Wonderful exialnatpon of facts available here.

    • http://www./

      Dec 24, 2016 at 9:56 am

      IJWTS wow! Why can’t I think of things like that?

    • pokemon go cydia hack for android

      Feb 14, 2017 at 11:31 am

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    • http://www./

      Mar 1, 2017 at 3:22 am

      הנני מורה העתידה לצאת לחופשת לידה לקראת סוף החודש. על פי החישוב שלי חופשת הלידה מסתיימת בימיו הראשונים של חופשת הקיץ.שאלתי היא האם הזכויות המגיעות לי בחופשת הקיץ אינם יפגעו כתוצאה מכך…?

  10. Jennifer

    Nov 9, 2013 at 6:34 am

    I have 4 indoor cats and they all do this bunting or head butting. My question is that one in particular will rarely head butt me, even though he may come up to me an do the little paw thing cats do (push their paws up and down in one place) and he seems happy enough, yet if my children are beside me, he’ll head butt them, but yet still stay on my lap/ chest…..I have no doubt he loves me, and I am always gentle with him and affectionate. Why would he not head butt me?

    • Ben

      Mar 30, 2014 at 9:21 pm

      he sees you as his mother! The paw thing is called “kneeding”, its a call back to when they are padding their mother for milk, he definitely loves you if he trusts you enough to kneed, feel honored he sees you as his surrogate mother!

      • mary

        Feb 21, 2019 at 6:49 pm

        this makes me happy to hear. my rescue cat favors me the most. follows me every where talks to me all the times. kneading often and belly rubs often. she’s very scared of certin ppl runs away doesn’t let them touch her at all.

  11. Kaylene

    Apr 3, 2014 at 7:43 am

    My cat head butts me to try and get me out of bed & she will keep doing it until I get up… I find it quite cute 🙂

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  22. tracylee

    Jan 1, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Great idea!
    Let’s not keep cutting and pasting the same thing over and over again. Ok? Yup, ok, good talk.

  23. Gwen

    Jun 15, 2015 at 5:18 am

    My new 1 year old cat Milo (just got him yesterday) is such an affectionate little dude! He woke me up at 4 with his usual motorboat purring and when he saw I was awake, padded right over to me to be pet. I wasn’t mad, in fact, I was grinning like a maniac because he seems to like me so much. As far as I can tell, he loves to “bunt” which my family thinks is so adorable.

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  26. Lisa

    Jul 6, 2017 at 5:49 am

    My Siamese, Manny, is a big head bunter. He also likes to sit real close when I’m lying down on the couch and lick my neck. He’s a big purr meister too. He’s 17. He doesn’t knead like the previous cat, and he used to nurse my belly for 13 years which was fine until he used teeth and I pushed him away. He then decided to head bunt and lick my neck. I sometimes get the huggies and hug him as hard as I can and he loves it! He also talks to me as he’s a Siamese and a beautiful Bluepoint Balinese Siamese he is. When Taco passed in 2000 I thought I’d never get another cat but I broke down. When I got uim he was the only kitten of four who didn’t run away, put him on his breeder’s couch and asked if he wanted me to be his new mom and he licked my finger. I knew he was for me. 17 years and counting. Love my boy. What I didn’t realize was his jelousy when I had gotten my puppy two years later and Manny took her down like a lion with teeth at her throat and had to yank Manny off her. But he puts up with his Chihuahua sister. Manny had pretty big paws to fill after Taco passed and he’s so much like him. Manny didn’t like the name I originally gave him but responded to Manny and it stuck. Manny is like his father, gentle, and loving. I adore my boy. He’s my thir Siamese. They’re great cats. I love both my ‘kids’. My dog is now 15 and is two years younger than Manny so I have teenage fur kids. My Manny is a good baby sitter for my dog and sometimes grooms her. When I ask Manny if he loves me I get a hard head bunt. I used to be scared of cats until a kennel cat taught me how wonderful they are. When things get rough it’s my Siamese whose the comforter and when he’s done my dog takes over. Yeah fur kids!

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  28. Sandy Steve

    Aug 8, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    Nice post to read through. There is a connection between Facebook and cat.

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