do cats like head scratches

“Cats typically enjoy being touched on the head, chin, and neck,” says Dr. Carling Matejka, DVM and Spokesperson for Solid Gold. Others don’t care for physical touch, and most have no-touch zones in vulnerable spots like their belly and extremities. That’s why understanding how and where to pet a cat is essential.

It may help to explain why your cat likes to butt his head against you: the scent glands on top of cats’ heads mark territory and diffuse a calming scent that cats find extremely soothing.

Part of being a pet parent is being aware of your pet’s behavior and preferences. Cats, in particular, are known for their very specific preferences. But because of the unfortunate language barrier, we’re never quite sure why some things are more appealing to our pets than others. However, recent studies have shown that the reason cats enjoy head scratches so much is because it makes them think of their mother grooming them when they were kittens. Additionally, it releases scent glands, which may give your cat an enjoyable reaction.

Although dogs enjoy head scratches as well, dog behavior experts advise caution since it may be interpreted as a sign of dominance. Even though many dogs enjoy having their ears and heads scratched, it’s important to recognize any warning signs your dog may be sending to you to avoid a certain area.

“The head and neck are some key areas groomed but mum cats groom their kitties all over until they are old enough to take care of coat care on their own,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor emeritus at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.

Since every cat and dog is different, it’s best to observe your pet’s body language before trying to give them a head or chin rub. On the other hand, if your cat is peaceful and purring as you scratch their head, it’s most likely because it brings back memories of their mother.

Have you ever wondered why your cat loves to have his head scratched so much? Sure, she may crave attention in any form she can get it, but it turns out there’s a lot more to it than that. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, author and professor emeritus at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, spoke to Live Science about his theory on why cats love having their heads scratched.

Their mother would have licked their face and head extensively when they were a kitten, so scratching their head could also serve as a reminder of how their mother groomed them. They lick their paws and rub them over their face and head in an attempt to mimic that portion of the grooming routine. Your fingers probably do a better job than their paws.

According to Dodman, not only does scratching your cat’s head give them the affection they desire, it’s also a location they can’t scratch very well by themselves and they can’t lick it at all. Dodman told Life Science:

Because most of their scent glands are located there, cats may also enjoy having their heads scratched. They are effectively designating you as their territory by allowing you to scratch their head. Cats are also believed to be calmed by scent marking.

Bunting is the friendly act of a cat going so far as to rub their head against you, designating you as their territory and expressing their affectionate feelings for you.

FAQ

Why do cats love head scratches?

But now, new research has revealed that cats love getting their head scratched so much because it reminds them of being groomed by their mother as a kitten. It also releases scent glands which can cause a pleasurable response in your cat.

Do cats like their heads stroked?

Most cats love to be touched on the head near their scent gland areas, around the ears, cheeks, and just under the chin. Other cats may enjoy a soft pet on their back, moving your hand from head to tail. But this can really vary from cat to cat.

Where do cats like to get scratched the most?

2. Learn Where Your Cat Likes to Be Petted. In general, cats prefer to be stroked along their back or scratched under the chin or around the ears. Paws, tails, their underbellies and their whiskers (which are super sensitive) are best avoided.

Why do head scratches feel so good?

When we scratch our heads, blood flows to our scalp, causing warmth and even a tingly sensation. Mix that with serotonin from the itch, and you have an amazing feeling of satisfaction and happiness from a head scratch. It’s not bad to itch your scalp every once in a while.