Cats are not the best at showing love, and sometimes we need to look for more subtle crews that they’ve accepted us as part of their group. Not all cats will come up and lick your hand or face like a dog, but they still have their own way of showing affection. You’ve probably been on the other end of a cat head bump, haven’t you? Guess what, it’s a good thing! In the “cat world,” cats do this to members of their colony as a sign of unity. A head bump on the leg, hand, or even face is a good thing – we promise!
So…why do they do this?
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.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!” Cats head bump each other and others to create a communal smell because cats recognize each other by smell before anything else.
If your cat doesn’t head bump you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love or accept you. Within cat colonies, there is a hierarchy and only the most confident cats head bump to spread the scent. If your cat is head bumping you, you have one confident kitty! Of course, now it’s time to say it back. You can head bump your cat right back (be gentle, please), pet them, scratch their chin, or anything else that you know they love. Let the bonding begin!
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 us 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 and unique animals, 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.