Why do cats press their head against the wall?

Known as one of the most worrying behaviours that an animal can perform, head pressing in cats can be a serious cause for concern for any pet owner.

Head pressing is the act of a cat pressing their head against a wall or other hard object. Unlike when cats rub their head against you to show affection, head pressing happens for no apparent reason and could signal a serious health issue.

In this guide, we’ve shared how you can spot abnormal head pressing and how to investigate whether or not your cat is suffering with a serious health complication:

Causes of head pressing in cats

Generally, head pressing in cats occurs when there is a problem with their brain or nervous system. Here are the most common causes for why your cat may be performing the behaviour:

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases such as rabies can cause cats to press their head against a wall. Fungal and parasitic infections can also be the problem. If you see your cat doing this, it is best to take them to the vet right away.


Brain tumours

Whilst this is one of the most worrying health complications that your cat could have, it’s essential to get your cat glanced over by a vet immediately as head pressing could be a symptom of a brain tumour.

Known as primary tumours when they occur in the brain, secondary tumours can develop across their body if they aren’t diagnosed and treated quickly.

Toxic poisoning

Your cat may also press their head against a wall if they have suffered from toxic poisoning. This could be a result of overexposure to alcohol, chemicals or a reaction to the toxins within insecticides that are in their surroundings when venturing outdoors.

Cats may also press their head against things if they are recovering from anaesthesia, although this is usually temporary and not usually a cause for major concern.

Metabolic disorders

Hypoglycaemia is a metabolic disorder that occurs when a cat doesn’t have enough glucose or sugar in their body. This results in low energy levels and can be extremely dangerous, and can often be recognised as the cause behind head pressing in cats.

Other symptoms to look for

Because head pressing can be a symptom of a serious illness, you may spot that your feline friend is displaying other symptoms.

Some of the most common that align themselves with head pressing are:

  • Being more vocal
  • Compulsive circling and/or pacing
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils and other vision problems

Is head pressing in cats dangerous?

Because head pressing often occurs for no apparent reason, it is usually a serious sign that something is wrong with your cat and you should consult your vet as soon as possible.

You may need to make an emergency appointment with your vet in order for them to test your cat’s blood pressure, take a urine sample and examine their eyes. This will help with diagnosing any health issues they may be suffering with, and allow them to get the best treatment for their diagnosis.

Looking for more cat advice?

We’ve written some handy cat advice guides, to help you unlock the secrets of your mysterious moggy.


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