Cats exhibit a range of strange behaviors. One of these behaviors is head burying. Usually, this occurs when a cat shoves their head underneath some blankets or a pillow. However, cats can also shove their head into a person’s clothes or under their legs and arms, achieving the same thing. Some cats may do this very often, while others may not do it at all.
While this behavior may seem strange, it is usually not troublesome. Cats do this behavior for all sorts of different reasons, but very few of them are serious.
Here are some reasons your cat may like to bury their head:
The 7 Reasons Why Your Cat Buries Their Head
1. Block Out Light
Just like people, cats sleep better when it is dark. Some cats are more sensitive to light than others, though. In cases where the cat is sensitive, they may attempt to block out the light by hiding their head. Usually, this behavior will occur regularly and not be all that surprising. It may develop when the cat is very young, though older cats can suddenly develop it too.
Either way, this behavior is not troublesome in this case. Your cat may simply like to sleep in the dark!
Many cats like to hide. It’s in their nature. However, what counts as “hiding” can be a bit confusing. While some cats may hide their whole body underneath furniture or inside a cat tree when sleepy, other cats may just hide their head. It’s a case of “you can’t see me if I can’t see you.”
Of course, we can absolutely still see the cat (as well as anyone else who walks by). However, the cat may still feel secure thanks to their “hiding.”
Again, this behavior isn’t troublesome. Cats hide for all sorts of reasons, and it usually isn’t a sign that something is wrong. However, if your cat starts to hide more often than normal, it may be a sign of an underlying issue. As always, consider the prevalence of the behavior and any other odd behaviors when determining if your cat needs to visit the vet.
If your cat is cold, they will seek out warm places. Sometimes, this includes hiding under blankets, pillows, and other objects. Just like for a person, these places are often warmer than the open air. Therefore, they can help keep your cat much warmer.
If it is cold in your home and your cat suddenly starts to hide, this is likely the cause. You may also notice the cat hanging around sunny windows or near heaters.
If your cat is hiding their head on you, it can be a sign of affection. Often, cats will cuddle with their favorite human, which can sometimes lead to them burying their head in your clothes. There are several reasons a cat may do this. For instance, cuddling mixes your scent and your cat’s scent together, which is how cats recognize “friends” in a natural setting. It’s their way of making you a part of their family.
Again, cuddling isn’t a sign of a potential issue unless your cat starts doing it much more than usual. Then, it can be a sign of stress or anxiety, which may hint at an illness. However, this is rare. Cuddling is often just a sign that your cat likes you.
Strokes can sometimes cause a cat to behave strangely. Strokes often cause your cat to stumble, appear disoriented, and tilt their head. The disorientation paired with vision difficulties can cause your cat to bury their head when laying down. Often, your cat will do this accidentally. Their brain issue will cause confusion, which leads to behaviors that don’t really make sense.
Of course, this problem would always come with more symptoms besides just head burying. Your cat would appear confused and disoriented in other ways, too.
6. Brain Tumor
Cats with brain tumors also act a bit strangely. Often, these felines may get headaches, which can make them more affected by light. They may seek out darker places, which can lead to them burying their heads. However, once again, there are usually more symptoms involved than just head burying.
For instance, cats may act weird, and their behavior may change regularly. They may appear fine, and then appear confused, aggressive, or stressed. Many times, vision changes occur too, though it does depend on where the tumor is.
7. Toxin Exposure
If your cat’s sensitive nose, eyes, or mouth was exposed to toxins, it can lead to then burying their face. Often, this is because their face hurts. However, it can be difficult to tell if a cat is in pain or not. Often, cats are great at hiding any weaknesses, including pain. This comes from the days before their domestication when showing weakness could lead to attacks from predators.
Depending on the toxin, the exact symptoms can vary. However, often, there will be other symptoms. You may also know that your cat got into something potentially toxic. Either way, we recommend visiting the vet if you believe your cat has been exposed to toxins. Toxins can be very serious, and the damage can sometimes occur a while after exposure.
When to See the Vet?
If your cat seems to like burying their head, you typically don’t need to visit the vet. This behavior is common and can occur for many benign reasons. It’s when your cat’s behavior suddenly changes that you may need to consider other causes (and a vet visit).
For example, if your cat never buries their head usually, and then suddenly won’t’ stop burying their head, a vet visit may be in order. Furthermore, if your cat seems a little too keen on keeping their head covered, you may also want to visit a vet.
When in doubt, give your vet a call and ask if you should come in.
Usually, head burying is a normal behavior in cats and isn’t anything to be worried about. However, it can sometimes be an indication of something more serious going on. Typically, we recommend considering your cat’s behaviors as a whole. If there are multiple new behaviors or other symptoms, we recommend visiting the vet. Cats are very good at hiding their illnesses, and sometimes strange behaviors are the only sign you’re going to get.
In most cases, though, this behavior is completely benign.