cat head pressing

Cat head pressing, what does it mean?

There are strange things which we observe in our cats, some of them harmless and some less so, including so-called head pressing, which is often resting the head on hard surfaces and staying like that, as if suspended/in a trance. Head pressing is a symptom of a pathology in dogs as well, and if we see that our cat often exhibits this behavior, it is cause for concern.

What is head pressing in the cat

It happens that our cat presses his head against us, rubbing to leave his pheromones on us, to classify us as “his property,” and this behavior is completely normal. Cat rubbing should not be confused with head pressing. If your cat consciously and continuously presses its head against hard surfaces, such as a wall, this behavior may be associated with some damage to its nervous system.

The causes could be many and varied, including diseases of the forebrain or even poisoning. Here are some pictures showing head pressing in the cat:

In conjunction with this need to press the head hard against a hard surface, there are also other signs that indicate your cat may have nervous system problems, including:

  • compulsive, circular movements
  • sudden change in habitual behavior
  • seizures
  • poor reflexes
  • visual problems

Some of these symptoms may lead to additional problems, such as skin problems from compulsive licking or head or muzzle injuries from prolonged pressure of the head against a surface.

Along with this sudden need to brazenly press their head, there are some other signs and triggers that your cat may be experiencing damage to their nervous system.

Causes of head pressing in the cat

Head pressing in cats is caused by something that interferes with the proper functioning of the brain and can be determined by:

  • infection (bacterial, fungal, parasitic or tick-borne)
  • exposure to toxins
  • trauma
  • brain tumor
  • stroke
  • metabolic disease
  • liver failure

Because of the severity of the condition, if you notice that your cat frequently does head pressing and there are other symptoms that we saw earlier, take him to the vet right away.

Sometimes cats engage in this head pressing behavior, that is, they press their heads against things even when they are recovering from anesthesia, and this behavior in that case is temporary and not a cause for concern.

How is head pressing in the cat treated?

The veterinarian will perform some tests to assess the cat’s health, including:

  • an examination of the retina and back of the eye to check for problems with infectious or inflammatory diseases, as well as to reveal irregularities in the brain
  • blood pressure testing to assess whether the blood pressure is too high
  • an MRI to monitor brain activity and check for abnormalities
  • a urinalysis to check for problems in the metabolic system.

Your veterinarian will ask you numerous questions about your cat’s life and general health, any injuries or accidents that have occurred, to understand the causes of this sudden condition.

Depending on the severity of the situation and your cat’s overall health, the diagnosis may change. Your cat will likely need to be monitored in the clinic and more extensive testing will be done to properly assess your cat’s health and treatment plan.
Although head pressing can be a serious condition, the chances of recovery are both real and high for cats, although in some cases the condition can be fatal.
The prognosis depends on the underlying cause of the head pressing. The best thing to do is to take the cat to the veterinarian immediately at the first signs of head pressing. In this way, many diseases can be resolved in time and not cause permanent or fatal damage to the cat.

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