Click here to learn more.
If a person were to head butt you, you’d probably have a pretty good idea of what they were trying to tell you.
But when a kitty bonks you with her forehead, the meaning may be less clear. Is she merely saying hello or has she been watching too much pro wrestling?
We asked Dr. Meghan E. Herron, DVM, DACVB, a clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine in the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Ohio State University, to explain the curious cat phenomenon.
According to Dr. Herron, this behavior is something that domestic cats share with their wild counterparts.
“Cats do this to deposit facial pheromones on people or objects in their environment,” explains Dr. Herron. “The head butting is actually something that we call bunting.”
Since kitties usually seem relaxed and friendly while bunting, people rightfully assume that it's a sign of affection or acceptance into the feline’s domain. But Dr. Herron says that bunting is a bit more nuanced.
“Rather than territorial marking or ‘claiming’ someone, as is commonly thought, cats do this to mark something as safe — sort of like leaving a signal of comfort and safety,” adds Dr. Herron. “So you could think of it as a sign that they are ‘trusting’ that person or environment.”
There are a lot of bunting variations among kitties, with a wide range of frequency and intensity, so you shouldn’t necessarily be concerned if your cat doesn’t bump or push you with her head.
“While cats that do this are often feeling safe and trusting, I don't know that I would say a lack of bunting indicates a problem,” says Dr. Herron. “Each cat may have a different propensity to bunt over others.”
More on Vetstreet.com:
* Don't Make These 5 Cat Care Mistakes
* 4 Best Places to Pet Your Cat -- and 1 to Leave Alone
* Why Does My Cat... Bite Me When I Pet Her?
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
Thank you for subscribing to Petwire. Look for the latest newsletter each Wednesday.
An adorable black and white cat parked
himself right in the way of one of the
holes on a mini-golf course.
Vets performed a two-hour surgery to try to
save the leg of a Maltese struck
by a stolen van during a police chase.
You may be more familiar with the black-and-white variety of panda, but the red panda
had the name first.
Nocturne: Creatures of the Night, by Traer
Scott, showcases night-loving animals like
owls, moths and raccoons.
At this point in your dog's life, he's likely
beginning to show the signs of his age
and is not as active or…
With 40,000 animals poached each year
for the ivory trade, it might not be long
before elephants disappear…
When she's not curled in your lap, the affectionate and elegant Birman will gladly play fetch or chase a ball.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.