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What Is Cat Nuzzling? Behaviour Reasons & FAQ

For most cat parents, it warms their hearts for their cat to climb up in their lap and nuzzle their necks or anywhere else. Usually, a cat will knead your chest or lap during nuzzling and purr. It makes you laugh, sigh, and love your cat even more, every time they do it.

Have you ever wondered why your cat nuzzles you? Cat nuzzling is when the cat rubs against your neck, armpit, or another part of your body. Cats nuzzle for a couple of reasons, and we’ll discuss them below, so you’ll understand your feline’s intentions.

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How Does Your Cat Nuzzle?

By definition, nuzzling is an action where you touch, press, or rub someone or something in a gentle way that shows love. Other terms for cat nuzzling include nudging, rubbing, prodding, bunting, and even headbutting.

Your cat may rub its face against your neck or even your face. This happens mostly when you’re distracted, like on the computer for work or watching TV. Does this mean your cat is trying to get your attention? Does it mean the cat is trying to show its love?

Gray cat linking owners face
Image Credit: Caterina Trimarchi, Shutterstock

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The Reasons Cats Nuzzle

Cats nuzzle their owners for a few reasons. However, the cat may be nuzzling you for one reason one day and an entirely new reason the next. Below we’ll give you some of the most common reasons your cat could be engaging in nuzzling behavior.

1. The Cat is Stressed

If you’ve recently brought another pet home, a new baby, or moved the cat from one house to another, it could nuzzle you because it is stressed and worried about the change in its life and environment.

Your cat might be looking for comfort by nuzzling your face, neck, or head. In many cases, the repetitive motion of nuzzling comforts your cat and helps it feel secure, especially if it is just a kitten.

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2. The Cat Is Showing Affection

It is possible that your cat is nuzzling your face to feel close to you and show you affection. Cats in the wild often nuzzle to feel safe and secure. Since domestic cats retain some of those traits, they will do the same thing.

cat licking his owners face
Image Credit: Kasefoto, Shutterstock
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3. The Cat Wants Attention

Cats also nuzzle their owners because they want their attention. Have you ever noticed that it’s usually when you’re doing something else, like working, reading, talking to a friend, or watching TV, that your cat wants to nuzzle? This is the cat’s way of saying, “pay attention to me!” Cats also nuzzle to tell you things, such as it’s time to eat or that it wants a treat.

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4. The Cat Is Saying Hello

Cats sometimes nuzzle their owners as a way to say hello. If your cat nuzzles you more when you’ve been at work all day or gone for whatever reason, it might be telling you it’s glad that you’re home.

a sick siberian cat being carried by owner
Image Credit: Anna Krivitskaya, Shutterstock
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5. The Cat Is Being Territorial

Every pet parent knows that cats can be territorial, and your cat may be nuzzling you to mark you as their own. When the cat nuzzles you, it’s transferring its unique scent to you and making you it is own at the same time.

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Final Thoughts

Cat nuzzling is when your cat nuzzles your neck, face, hair, or other parts of your body. If your cat nuzzles you, it could be for various reasons, and the reason could change from day to day. Cat nuzzling is adorable, and most of us love it when our cats do it.

If your cat is nuzzling you and won’t stop, it is possible that the cat needs your attention. You and your cat will be just fine if you pay attention to its nuzzling and love it for it.

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Featured Image Credit: I Wei Huang, Shutterstock