So What’s Up with the Head Bunt?

Did you ever notice that your cat loves to bump you with her head?  Sometimes, she will bump you on your hand or your leg.  If she gets closer still, she may head bump you. So what does all of this mean to your cat?

Bunting is Body Language for “You’re Part of the Group”

Head bunting is a form of cat communication or body language that expressed that you are a special person to her.  She is showing that you are a member of her group.  This behavior is seen in cat colonies.  It is a way of sharing sent so the cats know that they are each a member of the group.

Allorubbing to Say Hello

So…your cat is making sure that you are recognized as a member of the group!  Bunting you is part of your cat’s scent communication, which also includes rubbing against you, other pets, and objects in the environment.  Head bunting and rubbing their bodies and tails against you are all part of behavior called allorubbing.  Your cat will do these things when she is happy.

If You Ain’t Bunting, You Ain’t Happy

Head bunting, in particular, is used when your cat is happy and not when she is having negative feelings.  She is expressing her love and trust, and bonding with you, by bunting you.  You can reciprocate by offering your forehead to receive the bunt, by petting your cat, or talking gently to her.

Leaving Her Scent Behind

Another reason for head bunting is to for your cat to mark you with her scent.  Cats leave behind pheromones when they bunt you, which claims you as part of their family and expresses their affection.

Cats have scent glands all around their faces and when they rub against you, another cat, or even a favorite piece of furniture, they are leaving their scent by depositing pheromones.  The purpose of this behavior is to mark the cat’s territory.  And to claim cat and human recipients as a part of the cat’s group.

This behavior started with the big cats and it is believed that it was part of mating behaviors.  Leaving pheromones on objects is used to mark territories in the wild as well as to leave scent communication, such as messages of bonding, alarm, and invitations to mating.

Attention-Seeking Kitties

If your cat turns his head down or to the side when he bunts, a good ear or chin scratch could be in order.  Cats love to have those areas stroked.  It releases endorphins when those areas are massaged and makes you cat feel good.  A purrfect ending to a purrfect day.

Best wishes for a great day for you and your cat!


Resources: › Pets › Cats › Living with Cats › Cat Behavior

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