How many cat head bumps do you get a week? You come home and your cat jams their head into your leg or other body parts. This doesn’t mean that they’re being bossy, it means something much more important. Congratulations, you’re part of the crew! That’s right; cats do this to members of their colony as a sign of unity.
Cats head bump each other and others to create a communal smell because cats recognize each other by smell before anything else. What your cat is really trying to tell you is, “Hey, I want you to smell a little more like me but don’t worry I still love you!” How is this done? Cats can activate the scent glands on their head just above the eye and below their ear, which excretes pheromones that they in turn rub on you. Just like that, you’re now part of the crew!
If you’re reading this and wondering why your cat doesn’t do this, don’t stress! Not all cats are part of the head bumping community. There is a hierarchy in cat colonies, and only the most confident cats are the ones that head bump.
Now that you know your cat head bumps you to say, “I love you,” it’s time to give the love back. You can head bump your cat right back, pet them, scratch their chin, or anything else that you know they love. This will be a great way for you and your cat to bond. Now, the head bumps can be your fun little way to communicate.
However, there is something else you should be looking out for. If your cat presses their head against you instead of bumping, they may be telling you they have discomfort. Keep a close eye on that behavior and be sure to contact your veterinarian (or us if it’s after hours) if the problem persists. This behavior can be caused by hypertension, a brain tumor, or other neurological problems that can be causing them pain.
Cats are complicated, but it is good to know that some of their weird little quirks are just their way of saying, “I love you.” Continue to build a bond with your pet and give the had bumps back when they come your way! Your cat will appreciate it.