Head Pressing In Cats: Symptoms, Causes, & Treatments

Feral tabby cat hiding behind wooden fence

(Picture Credit: Ben Gyde/Getty Images)

Head pressing in cats is a compulsive behavior that can signify a deeper issue with the animal’s nervous system. It’s a different action from your cat simply pushing their head up against you or your hand while you pet them.

If you notice your cat pressing their head against a wall or other object, you must consult your veterinarian right away. Head pressing in cats can be an indicator of a serious underlying condition.

Here’s what you should know about the symptoms, causes, and treatments for head pressing in cats.

Symptoms Of Head Pressing In Cats

In general, head pressing in cats manifests itself as a cat pressing their head against a wall or a similarly firm object.

Medically, it can be a sign of a disease called prosencephalon, which affects certain parts of a cat’s brain.

As head pressing in cats can indicate a serious illness, you might also notice the following common symptoms:

  • A newfound tendency to pace around in circles
  • More vocalizations
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Problems with vision

Causes Of Head Pressing In Cats



When it comes to the causes of head pressing in cats, it usually signals an issue with a cat’s nervous system or the cat’s brain.

Here are several possible causes of head pressing in cats:

  • Infectious diseases, including rabies
  • Brain tumors
  • Trauma to the head
  • Poisoning, especially due to chemicals or alcohol
  • Metabolic disorders including Hypoglycemia

Treatments For Head Pressing In Cats

When you take your cat to the vet for head pressing, the first examination will often involve looking over the retinas and back of the eyes. The vet will also take a urine sample and perform a blood pressure test .

In some cases, head pressing in cats might require an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan of the cat’s brain.

Once your vet gets closer to figuring out the root cause, it’s important that you follow any medical advice or courses of treatment exactly as they prescribe. If your cat still persists in pressing their head against walls or objects, you must contact your vet again and keep them updated.

Have you ever noticed your cat head pressing against a wall? What did your vet tell you, and how did they treat it? Tell us about your experience in the comments section below!