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.
Millions tuned in to the Thanksgiving Day
NBC broadcast to watch as judges
crowned 4-year-old Nathan Best in Show.
A Golden Retriever stepped in to nurse
a litter of African wild dogs after their
mother showed a lack of maternal…
Take a look at the Best in Show
winners of the last decade. Plus, meet this year's National Dog Show champion.
As you brine the turkey or cheer for your
favorite football team, take time to be
thankful for your furry family…
From "drop it" to "wait at the door," Mikkel
Becker shares commands you should
teach your pup…
Decorate your home for the holidays
without compromising your cat's safety
with tips from a cat style expert.
We’re sharing our favorite budget-friendly
gifts, from a custom smartphone cover to
the perfect dog treats for…
The plus-size Maine Coon has an adorable chirping voice and gets along with everyone, even the family dog.
If the video doesn't start playing momentarily,
please install the latest version of Flash.
Thank you for subscribing.