Head Pressing in Pets

Everyone loves internet memes, especially when there’s a cute furry friend involved! But there’s been a rise in photos of pets doing weird things that we might think is cute, but is a cry for help. Particularly photos of our furry friends pushing their heads against the wall. Despite the adorable pictures, this is a serious sign all pawrents should look out for in their fur babies, as it can be a symptom of neurological damage or even metabolic issues.

According to PetMD, head pressing is the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other object for no apparent reason. This seemingly cute action is actually signaling a damaged nervous system, specifically in the forebrain and thalamus area. This can happen to pets of all genders, breeds, and ages.

Photo Credit: FACE Foundation, USA

Other than head pressing, symptoms of a damaged or infected nervous system may include: seizures, walking or running around in circles, issues with their vision, and an overall change in character. A few examples of a change in character would include forgetting their potty training or losing their appetite. 

The cause of head pressing in animals isn’t limited to a damaged nervous system, but it can also indicate a metabolic issue. Sodium imbalances, kidney or liver disease, tumors, rabies, head injuries, or even coming into contact with dangerous substances like lead could all be the cause of head pressing. 

As we can see here, these are some serious issues. As pawrents, it’s our job to notice and pay attention to our pet’s behavior. It is so important and crucial to monitor any changes or shift in character as it can signal a significant health issue. If your pet has been pressing the top of their head against walls or hard surfaces, or they are exhibiting any of the symptoms we’ve mentioned, please seek immediate care 🚨👩‍⚕️. Visit your nearest veterinarian for an accurate diagnosis, and further steps you can take to help your beloved Friend. 

My kitty likes to headbutt me, is that something I should be worried about?

When our cats head bunt or rub their faces against ours, it’s their way of telling us they love us! Cats produce their scents through their faces, so when they rub their faces near us, it’s their way of announcing to the world, “I love this hooman!”. The difference between head bunting and head pressing is that when they’re head pressing, they will repeatedly and compulsively press the top of their heads against a wall, or any other surface. Compared to head bunting where they will rub their faces on us while exhibiting other positive body language and purring. 

This article is reviewed by the veterinarian from Small Animal Teaching Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University (CUVET)

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