People who have spent time around cats (or even watched nature shows featuring wild felines) recognize the head-butting phenomenon. We rightfully assess that cats seem calm and relaxed when they engage in this conduct. The behavior is actually called bunting and it is a sign that a cat feels comfortable with another living thing. People have hypothesized that cats are trying to leave a scent on their people and mark their territory, but it is more complicated than that. Veterinary behaviorists seem to believe that bunting is more of a family acknowledgement and possibly an outward sign that the cat feels safe and calm.
Some people even think that cats learn that bunting will elicit petting or feeding from you and are using it as a tool to get what they want. People seem to be very amenable to this type of training as it is almost always effective!
Companies have recognized this bonding behavior and the scent marks associated with it and have been able to isolate synthetic “calm pheromone” for wide distribution. Feline Facial Pheromone can be utilized to help cats feel calm in settings where they might not, like a veterinary hospital or car.
Whether your cat is trying to flag you as safe, reaffirm your family bond, or encourage you to pet him in ways that he likes, you can feel certain that bunting is a good thing.
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