Sometimes when we have quiet times at home, we may notice an unusual and interesting cat behavior. Some people think it is a weird thing, other pet owners think it is just a normal thing, this behavior is cat rubbing. A lot of cats rub their faces on doorways, dining tables, and even their owner’s faces. Vets say that cats rubbing their faces on everything is generally pleasant and enjoyable for them.
The reason for this practice is simply your cat’s body language. Some owners can understand with time the reasons behind this behavior, others love to investigate the reasons for a better understanding of their pet’s body language. Cat owners think it is a gentle shove, but it exceeds rubbing on objects to rubbing on their faces, hands, mouths, and sometimes legs while standing or sitting down. So, why do cats rub their faces on everything? What is the reason behind this behavior?
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Cats Bunting Behavior
Cats’ bunting is regarded for vets as normal behavior that is principally found in cats. They normally bunt or rub their heads against objects or people. Cat owners describe it sometimes as a heat butting behavior which is head bunting. It is known that cats have glands all over their bodies known as scent glands. When they bunt their heads, they tend to leave a scent mark on objects or their owners.
The behavior of bunting is seen as a comforting attitude for cats and a chance of trust bonding with their owners. Vets say that there is a cat to cat head rubbing which happens with cats’ who are from the same family and who have a bonding relationship or friendship. They usually do that with other cats, dogs, and humans. When they like to mark their objects, they do lip rubbing. It may also be considered as an attention-seeking behavior that when they rub they are saying: Scratch my head or neck!
How Cats Rub Their Heads
When cats rub they leave a scent that is created from pheromone. Glands that produce pheromone exist all over the body of cats. They can be found in the tail, the temples, the chin, and the mouth. When cats love to give good soft rubbing, they use all of their heads. However, rubbing depends on the size of the object or the organ of the person. When cats rub on lower objects they use the throat and the chin, but when objects are higher they use their foreheads and ears.
Cats Head Rubbing on their Owners
Actually, the cat’s head rubbing can be annoying because some cats rub the face of their owners softly and others may be harsh when they rub. However, this behavior is always justifiable because cats can never rub their face on a stranger, it shows that we are considered as a part of its family. Cats that rub their heads with very wide eyes have a huge trust in their owners and compassion.
When cats rub using their heads it is called head butting. Most of the cats love to do head rubbing which is a lovely sign of affection for their owners. The cat gets closer to the owner approaching gently with its head using sometimes its cheeks and chins against the owner’s face and forehead. Other cats do their head rubbing like a skull to skull rubbing.
How to Respond To a Head Bunt
Some pets owners know that head bunting is a sign of intimacy and many other reasons, but we have to know how to respond appropriately to this behavior because it is a chance of bonding trust and companionship with the cat. We must understand what our cat is trying to convey.
What has to be first to do is scratching our pet in their favorite body spots, if after scratching they show they have enjoyed, then it is what was asked from you. If they show nothing, the owner should be careful when the cat rubs again in order to he/she responds differently as giving the pet a treat.
What is the difference between head bunting and Head Pressing?
The head bunting and the head pressing are not the same things. This behavior has a completely different message. The head pressing shows the cat is not comfortable. Pressing is one of the cat’s silent illnesses symptoms that the owner should check urgently with the vet.
Why Do Cats Rub Their Faces on Everything?
There are many reasons why your cat rubs its face on you because it is not a sign of affection only. The owner should understand the following reasons to know how to respond appropriately:
I am sharing my Scent
when cats rub their faces on their owners or objects is to show that you are a member of their family or to indicate that the area which includes that object is theirs. As we mentioned above cats have scent glands of pheromones that exist in all their bodies. When they rub their faces sharing their scent, they show their acceptance.
Can I ask something?
Your cat can ask something from you through head bunting because it is attention-getting behavior and it is its way of communicating with you. Your cat simply can ask scratching it, and also it asks for a kiss or a holding up. Some cats rub because they want to have playtime with their partners or some food and snacks.
Let’s Bond our Relationship
The head bunting is an indicator for cats to show who are friends and family members. Vets say that doing this behavior is more efficient than just leaving a scent of urine on them. Head bunting means let’s bond our relationship together. It is a social attitude to show acceptance and affection. You will see ahead bunting between your old and your new pet- in case there is a new cat- If your old dominant cat shows acceptance to the new one as family scent.
Cats Scent Marking
The naming of rubbing on objects is called “bunting”, and when they bunt an object they leave their scent behind it, not as an indication of their territory. Cats determine which part of their bodies or heads to leave a scent mark. Cats bunt over objects they can stick out to and leave their scent behind as a coffee table edge. Vets say that female cats do not bunt as males cats do male cats can bunt on places with previous scents of other cats.
When they leave behind a scent, it is not a territorial marking as spraying for instance. Cats do it only for friendly and relaxing behavior. Vets say that pheromones in cats help them to relax and to get rid of stress and fears. Scent marking is not like spraying, it is not annoying and it does not have a bad smell because it does not last for long times. Cats will come back again to mark scents as refreshing it.
The Implication of Existence
The implication of presence in the environment is one of the reasons for cats’ bunting. Some pets owners can be busy working on something or doing a specific activity, therefore, cats’ bunting is an indication of their presence. Cats bunt also as an indication of stamping, when new cats arrive, old cats bunt them as an implication of their presence and to let them know that there is an older dominant cat before them.
Vets say that is a sociological attitude of felines, and sometimes it is beyond the fact of just implicating their presence in the environment. However, some cats exceed normal bunting leaving scent-marking behind them, yet, it is a normal attitude as vets indicate because they have to refresh and strengthen the meaning behind their bunting. As we mentioned above, bunt scent marking is not like spraying: it does not last for long times.
Some owners ignore their pets and this behavior of cats bunting is an attention-seeking attitude to bring things to their spots, a non-response from the owner can cause other problems as cats running for instance.
Cats search Information
Many owners can question this section of how my pet searches for information due to head bunting or head butting. Many vets indicate that cats mark their scent due to head bunting in the environment around them to know information about the owner and the place, this happens mostly in the case of new cats arrivals.
So, the owner can respond by holding his cat and show it the place and the people who live in the house, some owners can show their new cats the pets they have as dogs, birds, or other old cats. Vets confirm that head bunting is a way for cats to mark the group, the people, and the environment they belong to.
There is another case that shows well this case, cats do not rub strangers, but if they do rub on a new visitor it means the cat looks for information about the visitor, yet it is not a clue to have scratches or to show love and affection. In the same case with strangers, vets say when cats rub it never means an invitation to be petted.
Do Cats Show Their Affection when they rub their faces on you?
We already know that cats rub heads on their owners seeking attention. Among the reasons for the head, rubbing is that your cat is just showing love. Cats in general mark scents with affection. Vets say when cats rub on you is not only to leave their scents but also to take your scent also. Picking up their owner’s scents is an indication of trust and comfort. They add that rubbing on objects is a sexual clue that other cats visually notice it, or their owners understand that their cats are in the mating period though there are other indications.
Usually, sexual purposes after rubbing are done by male cats. Some male cats can rub female cats for sexual purposes. The importance of rubbing is to bond a trust connection between you and your cat, it is a chance to show your love by scratching it and giving it treats.
Why Cats Do Knead Their Paws When They Rub?
Some pets’ owners notice that their cats knead their paws in and out of an object when they rub. It can happen in a blanket or your lap. We can say it is childish behavior that cats love to do it mostly young ones. Some vets did not understand why cats knead their paws, but they claimed four main theories:
Vets say that cats knead their paws as remembering paws kneading when their mothers nursed them at a young age. It is said that doing this again as adults’ cats is a comforting behavior and it shows that cats feel safe as if they are in their mothers’ laps.
A Reconfirmation of Love
there are some cats who love to knead humans just a reconfirmation that they love their owners after rubbing on their faces. Some owners say that when cats knead their paws in their laps is quite painful because they use sharply their long nails. Vets recommend dealing gently with this problem because wrong responding may cause psychological issues to your cat, put a pillow between your cat and your lap in case your cat comes near you, or keep on cutting always their long nails.
Stretching their Muscles
vets say that cats love to stretch their muscles and practice kinks after their naps. So, cats knead their paws on your shoulder or your back as stretching out after bunting because it is a natural thing for them before napping.
Is It Normal That My Cat Always Rubbing Against Me?
It is okay and quite normal that your cat rubs against you because it is their way of communicating with you. Scent marking is a way of communication that indicates a lot of things as we have mentioned above. So if the cats always do that, it conveys a lot of different messages that you must know them and learn how to appropriately respond to them. Vets and pets owners confirm that cats have vocal communication that depends on hissing and breathing. However, voices are not left in the place as scents and they do not last for a while.
Some pets’ owners just forget about what their cats try to convey orally, so your cats keep rubbing on you till you respond to them. Therefore, vets always advise cats’ owners to watch out the rubbing of cats and communicate with them. It shows love, acceptance, and safety because if you are not pleasing your cat, it will never rub against you which is an indicator to fix your behavior with your cat. But if your cat loves you and rubs against you, it just means “you are a member of my family!” In this case, reinforce your cat rubbing by petting your cat.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do cats target different spots to rub on purpose?
No, Cats do not target spots to rub on purposes, they just go for the most accessible places in the human body. Cats that rub human’s faces mostly are heartwarming cats that show a lot of love and affection to their owners. Cats place their faces and eyes in an open position against the face of their owners which is called sometimes head butting. So, when the cat can reach a certain place of the human body, it rubs against it as legs. They can rub their whole bodies around their owners’ legs and wrap their tails around in case the owner is standing up.
Do cats get physical pleasure from rubbing their faces against you?
Cats do not get physical pleasure from rubbing their faces against you as they would get emotional pleasure communicating with you showing their friendliness and love. Cats have scent glands all over their bodies marking every single place or humans affectionately. Sometimes, it can have a sexual message with other cats. However, it is a gesture of social bonding only that happens with familiar relationships.
What if a cat does not head bunt?
It is okay if the cat does not bunt because head bunting is a way of communication, and cats mostly have many different ways of communication. It depends on each cat’s behavior, environment, and nature. Other communication methods that your cat can use to show love and affection are like paws kneading, grooming their owners, and licking. Other cats can just stand near their owners and play with some specific items in front of them is an indication for love and affection. It only needs to better know how cats do communicate with their owners in order to better understand their pets.
Cats rub their faces on everything like blankets, soft pillows, and their owners. Vets say it is a normal behavior called bunting behavior that has many reasons behind it. When your cat bunts against you or on objects, it leaves scents because of special glands that exist all over its body.
When your cat does the bunting, it may mean that it has a certain affection towards you as bunting may also mean that your cat is looking for certain information. Therefore, vets say that we must understand the head bunting of the cat and respond well to it. If your cat does this behavior a lot, it is not something to worry about, it is an indication of love and passion as it is a way of communication.
Most cats do bunting because it is a natural attitude. Try to bond your relationship with your pet if it starts doing this and respond well by giving it treats and nice scratches, do not panic when it kneads its paws after rubbing because it is the reinforcement of emotions towards you after all. When cats rub their faces on everything around them, it shows how safe and comfortable they are, and any owner has to take this behavior happily because it shows how his/ her cat is psychologically safe and happy.