I have seen this all over the web and while it should be taken very seriously with dogs, it’s not so straightforward for cats. Cats are known for sleeping in weird positions, from sideways to upside down. Knowing the difference between head pressing and normal cat behavior will help you better care for your cat.
What Is Head Pressing?
Let’s touch on this for a minute if you don’t know.
“Head pressing is a condition characterized by the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other object for no apparent reason“ – petMD
There are many conditions that can cause this to happen but the most widely recognized is hepatic encephalopathy. This is the result of the liver not functioning correctly so toxins are left in the bloodstream causing nerve damage.
Other causes of head pressing include:
What’s the Difference?
Cats who are sleeping with their face down, this is normal cat behavior. Some cats are just most comfortable like this.
When it comes to head pressing, you will see your cat doing this against walls while sitting, and while awake. They will press their head up against something, unrelaxed.
You must know your cat’s behavior and when to have cause for concern, and be aware that this can happen at any age. Seek medical help for your cat if it is sleeping/sitting like this with diet changes (eating less/more), disoriented behavior, walking in circles, walking into walls, sudden drooling, crying when being picked up, and depression.
When to see a Vet
If you see your cat sleeping with their head pressing down and they are relaxed, there is likely no cause for concern. However, if they are awake and sitting or standing with their head against a wall (or other objects) then they must see a vet asap.
Examples of differences
Below are five pictures of my cat, Joey, sleeping in a “head pressing” position. This is considered “normal cat behavior“ and you can see that he is relaxed.
Now here are some pictures of actual head pressing, you can see the difference! These cats are not relaxed at all, this is when to be concerned.
I hope this clears up any confusion and concerns you may have had. If you have a question about your cat head pressing, leave a comment below!