Why Do Cats Bury Their Heads?

If a feline buries her head into you, she wants you to have her scent.
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If you adore cats, you may have a fondness for one of their most endearing behaviors: head-butting. If your cat buries her head in you, whether your chest, leg or face, she's actually offering you her scent. Take the act as a big compliment coming from your fluffy friend.

Territorial Behavior

Cats bury their heads in a lot of different things, not just people. You may notice your kitty burying her head into your living room sofa, your bay windows and perhaps even her food and water bowls. According to the Humane Society of the United States, this head rubbing serves a territorial marking purpose. She's using the scent glands on her cheek to take ownership of her "turf," whether a person or an inanimate object. If you want to give the behavior a super-positive spin, interpret it as your pet loves you so much that she wants the entire world to know it!


In the kitty world, a light head rubbing may also be a cheerful greeting. If you ever observe a pair of cats interacting with each other, you may notice that they often "say hello" by rubbing their faces against each other -- that is, if they're on a friendly basis, of course.

PBS indicates that felines occasionally partake in this behavior with their most trusted human companions. In fact, if your cat buries her fluffy face into yours, then she's basically communicating to you that she considers you to be one of her own -- aww. If she gently strokes your her nose onto your cheeks, it may be her feline way of saying "I love you."

Distance-Reducing Behavior

ASPCA Professional notes that burying the head is a "distance-reducing behavior." In a nutshell, if your cat is rubbing her head into your hand, it means that she wants to get closer to you, and that she thinks you're pretty alright. If you need a little hint as to your cat's intentions, pay close attention to her tail positioning. If it's pointing straight into the air, then you're probably on the right track.


The Dublin Laurens Humane Society states that, in some cases, a cat burying her head into you may actually be an aggressive and demanding way to get your attention. If your cat wants to be petted -- now -- she may attempt to get your undivided attention by cutely rubbing her head on you, so beware!

Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.

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