Previous Post Next Post


Brought to you by

Why Do Cats Head Nudge?

By Danielle Sullivan |

Why Do Cats Head Nudge?

Love tap?

My cats bunked in with my son last week when our house flooded from Hurricane Sandy. One of our cats, Lily, a striped tiger tabby who tends to be the most affectionate of the bunch, enjoyed the new room more than Cleo and Baby did. They didn’t mind the change of scenery, but Lily liked the chance to sleep with my son at night. Even more than that, she loved being able to constantly give him little head nudges.

It’s cute whenever she comes close to our heads and gives a slight head butt and the rubs her face around our necks. Although when she does it while we are sleeping (as did to my son last week), it’s not as fun.

I just always assumed that it was love nudge, the equivalent of a human hug for a feline, but there is more to it than just that.

Over at Vestreet, Dr. Meghan E. Herron explains why cats do this:

“Cats do this to deposit facial pheromones on people or objects in their environment. The head butting is actually something that we call bunting. 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. So you could think of it as a sign that they are ‘trusting’ that person or environment.”

Not every cat does this. Only one out of three of mine do. Like people, cats have different degrees of affection and warmth.

Does your cat headbutt?

Image: Flickr/ mattlach


Follow Danielle on Twitter and Facebook and Pinterest (where she maintains an ‘Adorable Pups’ board), or find her at her blog, Just Write Mom and Babble’s Strollerderby.


7 Signs You’re A Proud Dog Lover

Phenomenal Animal Feats In Guinness World Records 2013 Edition

New York Aquarium Closed Indefinitely Due To Damage From Hurricane Sandy

Baboon Adopts Baby Kitten (Video)

More on Babble

About Danielle Sullivan


Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

« Go back to Pets

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, profile photo and other personal information you make public on Facebook (e.g., school, work, current city, age) will appear with your comment. Comments, together with personal information accompanying them, may be used on and other Babble media platforms. Learn More.

One thought on “Why Do Cats Head Nudge?

  1. Cecilia says:

    All three of our cats do this to my husband and I (but only when we are awake) but only Molly (our only female) has done this to the baby. The first time on his third night home. It was very sweet.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *.

Previous Post Next Post