Cat pressing head against veterinary nurse

Head pressing: why is my cat pressing their head against everything?

If your cat has started pressing their head against furniture or walls for no apparent reason, it’s understandable that you want to know why.

Head pressing can affect both male and female cats of any age and breed, and there are many possible causes. While most cats will rub their head against things from time to time – including your legs when they want feeding! – head pressing is more forceful and repetitive.

The only way to establish the reason why your cat has started pressing her head is to get her along to your local vet for investigation.

Possible causes of head pressing in cats

The most common cause of head pressing is damage to the nervous system (neurological damage). This can have a range of causes, including:

  •  Head injury, sometimes caused by being hit by a car
  •  Brain tumour
  •  Inflammation of the brain – also called encephalitis
  •  Toxic poisoning
  •  Liver problems
  •  Metabolic disorders
  •  Infection of the nervous system
  •  Prosencephalon disease

Prosencephalon disease? What’s that?

Prosencephalon disease is a condition that affects a cat’s brain.
Other symptoms include:

  • Changes in behaviour
  • Circling and pacing
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Eye problems
  • Damaged reflexes

Diagnosing the cause of head pressing

If your cat starts to press her head against things, or displays any of the symptoms listed above, make an appointment with your local vet. Your vet may decide to carry out a range of tests – such as blood tests, a CT scan or MRI scan – to diagnose the cause of the behaviour.

Treatment for head pressing in cats

Treatment depends on the cause and the severity of your cat’s condition. Once your vet has established the cause, he or she will recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Questions about head pressing?

For expert advice on head pressing and other symptoms, get in touch with your local vet. To find your nearest recommended vet or pet clinic, use our Find a Vet page.