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Bunting Behavior

CatWise book and a quote from Dr Lore Haug

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Your Cat May be Saying Pet Me, Scratch Me, Pay Attention to Me

Bunting may also be used as an attention-seeking behavior if your cat butts his head up against you and then tucks it down or turns to the side. He may be asking for one of those wonderful neck or head scratches that you often do for him. Past experience has told him when he displays this behavior you typically respond by petting or scratching him in his favorite places. Cats are so smart!

For the cat to place his face so close to yours and engage in this bonding behavior is quite an act of trust. For me, it’s worth getting a little cat hair stuck to my lips just to experience this tender moment with my cat.

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Scent Communication in Cats is Complex

Many people inaccurately assume any time a cat engages in rubbing or bunting then he is merely marking you as his territory. Scent communication is far more complex than that. Cats use scent to mark their territory, yes, but they also do it to create comforting familiarity, show respect (ex: flank rubbing another cat), create a common colony scent (important for survival and cat colony harmony), self soothe, announce sexual status (done through urine-marking), tell other cats about themselves and much more. The reason a cat uses scent depends on his immediate circumstances and the part of his body he uses. When your cat comes face to face with you and bunts or rubs, enjoy it. It’s the next best thing to a kiss on the cheek.

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