It’s not uncommon for your cat to press their face against yours, giving you what looks like a headbutt. The latter can also be more or less strong. So of course, it goes without saying that if a human were to stick their forehead against yours, it would be an obvious sign of provocation. But with cats, it’s just the opposite!
1. A gesture of trust
When you get home, does your cat usually greet you with a loud butt? Preferably on the head or on the legs? Be happy, because this gesture, which is a way of saying hello, is exclusively reserved for beings in whom it trusts.
In fact, by doing so, your cat mixes its scent with yours by excreting pheromones. These pheromones are produced by glands located just above its eyes and below its ears. We can also observe, with age, that these areas are more sparse.
Thus, your cat ensures that everyone in its environment smells the same. This makes them feel more secure. Especially since it will then be able to immediately identify an unknown smell if an intruder were to enter their territory.
2. A gesture of dominance
In addition to being a way of marking territory, your cat’s headbutts are determined by social rank. Indeed, head butting, especially between cats, is a way of avoiding conflict.
It is also the dominant cat who gives the head butt to the other cats in the house. The reason? Spread the scent of the colony.
3. A Request for Attention
When your cat comes up to you purring, or even dropping to the floor several times, and nudges you, that’s their way of letting you know it wants cuddles.
This is purely affectionate behavior so take advantage of it!
CAUTION: This behavior should not be confused with the behavior that causes some cats to compulsively press their head against a wall. Often accompanied by abnormal vocalization and other strange behaviors, such as circling, so-called “wall pushing” is often a manifestation of a neurological disorder. The cat must then be taken care of urgently by a veterinarian.