Cat Buries Head in my Hand. What does it mean?

Cats exhibit different behaviors, some of which may be strange to us. However, in most scenarios, your cat is trying to express herself about something. Some cat owners have had incidences whereby a cat buries head in my hand. In this article, we are going to explore head-butting and head pressing cat behavior

My cat buries head in my hands. What does it mean?

  1. To show affection
  2. A form of greeting
  3. Territorial marking
  4. Attention seeking behavior


Usually, when a cat exhibits this behavior, she wants to deposit her scent to you. It is mostly a friendly gesture, whereby your cat is trying to display her affection towards you. The common reasons for cat burying her head in your hand include the following: 


Why do Cats like their Faces Rubbed


To show affection

As we have mentioned earlier, head butting, or when your cat buries her head in your hand, is a sign that your cat loves you. I mean, why else would she want you to have her scent? 

When she does that, it means that not only does she loves you but she also trusts you. Therefore, head butting is not exactly an unusual behavior. Rather, it is one of the many ways in which a cat expresses her affection towards her owner or the members of the household.

It could be that you are petting your cat and she buries her head in your hands. She is probably trying to let you know that she is enjoying the session as you are. 


Form of greeting

Your cat will also head-butt you when she wants to check on you. As we have mentioned above, head butting can be an expression of affection from your cat. Well, it means that she has accepted you in her gang and you can now bond more effectively. 

However, it could be that she is checking on you. Well, when cats engage in head butting, they deposit some of their pheromones onto the surface. It is a great way to identify familiar environments. 

Also, cats with anxiety may tend to head butt more than usual. It is because by depositing her scent on you, she feels safe and protected. Well, is there a better way to calm down a cat than her scent? 


Cat Buries Head in my Hands

Territorial marking 

When your cat buries her head in your hand, she could also be marking her territory, which also includes you. Backing up a little bit, cats need to feel secure at all times. To ensure they do, they usually deposit their pheromones all over the house, to mark items and even you. 

When you have her scent on you, she is sure that you belong in the territory and therefore harmless to her. And since cats are territorial creatures, it is a common behavior. She will even bury her head in a stranger’s hand to identify them. 

Understand that a cat is going to pick any strange scents in the house. In most cases, it causes anxiety when she does. To calm herself down, your cat may walk up to the stranger in the house and rub against them. Once your cat is sure that the person is totally friendly, she might initiate a more intimate connection. To do so, she might bury her head in the stranger’s hands to mark them in her territory. 


Attention seeking behavior

Some cats will also bury their heads in our hands as a gesture to seek your attention. She knows that it is a strange behavior and thus it works for her almost all the time. Also, when a cat wants you to pet her, she might bury her head in your hands. 

It usually happens when you are probably petting your cat. Should you stop in the middle, she might try to get you to keep rubbing her body by burying her head in your hands. 

The above-discussed points are the reasons why a cat might bury her head in your hands. However, sometimes this is confused with head pressing, which is a more serious issue. Below, we are going to explore head pressing and causes of this behavior.


Head Pressing in felines


unlike head butting which is associated with displaying affection, head pressing is a more serious behavior. It involves your cat pressing against a wall, or any other objects. Unfortunately, it is not a good sign as it may be associated with a couple of illnesses. 

The act of head pressing is usually related to illnesses that involve damage to the nervous system. Below, we are going to discuss the reasons behind this compulsive behavior. 


Infectious disease

In most scenarios head pressing in cats is as a result of medical problems. Therefore, do not ignore your cat when she suddenly starts head pressing against you or the wall compulsively. 

It could be that your cat is suffering from an infectious disease. Well, parasitic and fungal diseases are among the top reasons why a cat will head press against objects. Also, cats who have contracted other diseases such as rabies may exhibit this behavior. 

Consider checking with your vet whenever you observe this behavior. Upon diagnosis, your vet will be able to treat and recommend medications for your cat. 


Metabolism disorders

Other times, your cat will engage in head pressing as a result of metabolic issues. For instance, diabetes, and particularly hypoglycemia could be the reason why your cat is pushing her head against you or other objects. Understand that this behavior can be quite dangerous since it leads to extremely low energy levels. 


Cat Buries Head in my Hand


Sometimes head pressing is caused by exposure to toxic foods or drinks. For example, if your cat has been accidentally exposed to alcohol or other chemicals such as insecticides outdoors, she might be reacting to these toxins. 

In addition to head pressing, pay attention to your cat’s behavior. She might have compulsive vocalization, disorientation or even seizures. Also, observe other symptoms of medical problems that may be causing head pressing behavior. 


Brain tumor

A brain tumor is also a common cause for head pressing in cats. This is especially in the case of an older cat even though younger cats could also contract this illness. 

It is going to be a difficult task for you to tell whether your cat has a brain tumor yourself. However, in addition to other symptoms of this deadly illness, your cat will head press, circle, and pace around the house. Sometimes, your cat will also have excessive and compulsive vocalization.


How to handle a cat with head pressing problems


As we indicated above, when a cat buries her head in your hands, it could be an expression of love and trust she has for you. On the other hand, head pressing is compulsive and an indication that your cat is not doing too well. 

Observe your cat for any other symptoms other than head pressing. They may include circling and pacing around, seizures, and slowed reflexes, consider checking with your vet. Let us look at how to handle a cat with head-pressing issues below: 


Visit your vet

By now, I am sure you have already mastered some of the symptoms of head pressing. Well, when your cat starts doing so, take her to see a vet. As we have mentioned above, head pressing is more of a medical problem than a behavioral problem. 

Your vet will conduct a physical exam as well as medical tests to determine why she is head pressing. I should mention that this behavior is also a major sign of nervous system down. 

Treatment of head pressing may involve medication, surgery and sometimes your vet will recommend dietary adjustments. It will solely depend on the diagnosis results. 

Head pressing in cats must be treated by a vet. Recovery from head pressing will depend on the causing agent. 


My cat sleeps while she buries her head in my hands


In some instances, you might notice your cat sleeping while tucking her head in your hands. They love doing this, especially right after a petting session. Below are some of the reasons why your cat may feel the need to bury her head in your hands as she sleeps. 


Sense of security

As much as cats are expressive, they are as vulnerable. She needs to feel safe, and especially new kittens. Well, let me state that your cat will not fall asleep if she does not feel safe with you. To feel safe, she might bury her head in your hands. 

Well, there is usually nothing wrong with this. However, if your cat seems anxious or stressed, check on him. Observe her behavior and identify the cause of anxiety. New cats may need some time before they adjust to new environments.

Blocking out the light

Cat Buries Head in my Hand


The same way we hate falling asleep with the lights on so does your cat. However, cats need to sleep more than we do. I mean, she will sleep for more than 16 hours in a day. this means that she will fall asleep during the day. 

Whether you are petting her or she is relaxing, she might bury her head as she sleeps to keep excessive light out. 


To keep her face/nose warm

When your cat buries her head when she sleeps, it could also be a gesture to keep herself warm. If she does not have her bed, you might notice her burying her face, especially during chilly weather. 

Provide your cat with a warm bed and make it her safe place. Note that the goal is not to try to stop your cat from sleeping in this position. Rather, it is a gesture to make her even more comfortable. 




In conclusion, cats are quite strange and they exhibit strange behaviors. These behaviors include burying her head in your hands, head pressing and weird sleeping positions. In most cases, your cat is normal, unless she starts head pressing. 

If you suspect that your cat is head pressing, see your vet immediately. It could be one of the symptoms of an underlying illness. For instance, it could be a brain tumor, metabolic disorders or even diabetes. 

If she tends to bury her head in a stranger’s hands, it could be that she likes them. She wants to mark them as members of her squad. Whenever she does so, she will leave her scent on you. Also, it is a way for your cat to mark her territories. In other cases, it is a friendly gesture, and she is trying to show you affection or reciprocate it when you are petting her. 

Lastly, if you suspect that your cat is sick, check with your vet immediately. Always rule out medical complications before you analyze her behavior. Good luck!


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Michael Grover

About Me I have been a pet owner for most of my life. I am now retired and spend my days writing about problems relating to cats, dogs, and funeral poems. I am passionate to stop animal cruelty in any shape or form. My passion is to help people like you identify behavior problems in cats and dogs. That is what I do. Over the years of my life, I have always kept cats and dogs. About 4 years ago I retired and found I had a lot of time on hands so I started to write all about dog and cat problems. It was suggested to me that I should start up a website and publish my words to help people with their pet problems. I am still writing every day and hope you find my articles useful. Regards Mike Grover

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