Why Dogs and Cats Love a Good Head Scratch!
19 June, 2017
Why do some cats and dogs practically beg you to give them a really good scratch on the top of their head? Is it their soft spot or maybe they merely want you to scratch an itch! Dogs and cats have similar reasons and a few that are particular to each that make them happy when their furry heads are rubbed.
Petting dogs and cats on the head them gives them attention
Petting a cat or a dog on the head gives the animal attention, which it might crave, said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a professor emeritus at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. It’s difficult for cats and dogs to touch the tops of their heads with their paws, and it’s impossible for them to lick it with their tongues.
Cats like to be scratched on the head because it reminds them of kitten-hood
A friendly caress on the head, cheeks or chin might remind them of their grooming routine, when they lick the backs of their paws and rub their heads. The head scratch could also remind them of their mothers, who licked the tops of their heads when they were kittens. And other think of a head scratch as a personal grooming that you are giving them. After all, that’s what their real cat mom did.
Cats’ scent glands are concentrated on their head their heads
Cats have scent glands all over their bodies and they are concentrated on a cat’s forehead, cheeks and chin, said Mikel Delgado, a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, who is also a certified cat behavior consultant. “When they’re rubbing on things — be it your hand, the corner of a wall or on another cat — they’re spreading their scent,” Delgado said.
And, of course, when cats rub our heads, it’s a loving gesture
But one head rub stands above the others. When a cat rubs its forehead on a human — a friendly social behavior known as bunting — “that’s a very loving gesture,” Delgado said. These behaviors show that head rubbing serves a dual purpose for felines: It marks their territory, and expresses friendly feelings, she said.
Dogs sometimes nuzzle their owners with their heads
Just like bunting in cats, dogs may nuzzle their owners with their heads. This is usually a sign of affection and bonding, said Leni Kaplan, a lecturer and clinician in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithaca, New York.
Most dogs though seem to love the attention and scratch
Dogs will give you that look or nuzzle with you when you rub or scratch their heads. That means, they really, really love it! Don’t miss the ears either ore even the side of the face!
Careful, though, not all dogs enjoy getting head pats!
However, not all dogs enjoy getting head pats. Some dogs don’t like their head scratched (or approaching them from the top), because it can appear to be a dominating gesture. It’s how they approach other scared dogs. As always, just watch your dogs’ body language to see how they react to head rubs!
The original article can be found on Live Science.