Why Do Cats Rub Their Heads Against Things?

Have you ever wondered why cats rub their heads on things?

The phenomenon is known as head butting, head bunting, or head bonking. It’s something most cat owners have probably noticed their felines doing, but many may not understand why.

Photo: Pexels/Cleomar Mattos

Renowned cat expert Jackson Galaxy dives into the topic on YouTube, writing:

“Why do cats rub their face against things including you? What do we make of cats head-butting you and other cats? Expression of true love? Passive-aggressive cat display of dissatisfaction? The head bonk can be an adorable and, to some, odd cat behavior; if you’ve experienced it, you know it (and have felt it)! In this edition of Cat Daddy Dictionary, we explore not just the what, but the why of head bonk. Watch and discover!”

Photo: Unsplash/Yerlin Matu

In the video, he explains that cats use head bonks to mark their scents on both people and things that they love.

Jackson said, “With the head bonk, or a big sort of all-in hug or something like that, then we have no reservations. We have no protection, we have no boundaries. That’s what your cat is showing to you by doing the head bonk. They leave scent on you. They could rub up onto your head or your cheek, meet your cheeks with theirs. It is absolutely in my experience one of the most loving gestures that you’ll get from from a cat.”

Photo: Unsplash/Yerlin Matu

Considering cats have the reputation of being rather aloof and disinterested, it’s nice to know that the head bonk gesture is one of affection and care.

As Jackson said, “it’s all about love, you guys, it’s all about love.”

Check out the video below to learn more:

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