Why does my cat lean her head against the wall

Cats are experts at hiding pain. They do it so well that often when we realize that something bad is happening to them, the disease has already advanced a lot, enough for the treatment to be longer than it would have been if we had been able to detect the problem earlier. Therefore, if they begin to lean their head against the wall we have to worry and take them to the vet as soon as possible.

So if you are wondering why my cat rests his head against the wall, then I will explain everything you need to know about this topic.

The head pressing , as it is known in English, is the compulsive act with animals pressing the head against the wall or other hard surface for long periods of time . This attitude, which may even seem sympathetic to us, hides a very serious problem: you may have a damaged nervous system or a neurological disease such as cancer. The most common causes are :

  • Blow to the head
  • Tumors
  • Liver deviation
  • Cerebrovascular accident
  • Hepatic encephalopathy (metabolic disorder that occurs as a result of liver disease)
  • Nervous system infection, such as parasites, bacterial, viral or fungal infection, rabies)
  • Toxic poisoning

It is not to be confused with the loving behavior that the cat has when it rubs its head against a living being. In fact, in addition to pressing your head against the wall or another hard place, we will see that you have other symptoms that are : seizures, visual problems, walking in circles, staying motionless looking at a wall or in a corner, pressing your face against the ground or the earth.

If we suspect that our cat may have a problem, we must not hesitate for a moment: we must take him to the vet as soon as possible.

It is not the same as sleeping on your stomach

A cat can sleep on its stomach and that does not mean that it has a serious health problem, far from it. It can be totally normal behavior and there is no need to worry. Some cats are more comfortable sleeping this way.

When it comes to head pressing, you will see your cat doing this against walls while sitting up and awake. They will press their head against something, without relaxing.  Know your cat’s behavior and when to be concerned, and be aware that this can happen at any age. 

Seek medical help for your cat if he is sleeping / sitting like this with dietary changes (eating less / more), disoriented behavior, walking in circles, walking on walls, suddenly drooling, crying when picked up, and depression. Although below we are going to detail more the symptoms, causes and behavior that may concern you.

It is normal for you to worry


Known as one of the most worrisome behaviors an animal can perform, head pressing on cats can be a serious concern for any owner of this pet.

Head pressing is the act of a cat pressing its head against a wall or other hard object . Unlike when cats rub their heads against you to show affection, head pressing occurs for no apparent reason and could indicate a serious health problem. In this guide, we’ve shared how you can detect abnormal head pressure and how to investigate whether or not your cat is suffering from a serious health complication.


The act of pressing the head is only one sign of forebrain disease, in which parts of the forebrain and thalamus are affected. Other symptoms that may accompany this include compulsive stimulation and circling, changes in learned (trained) behavior, seizures, impaired reflexes, and visual problems.

Some of these symptoms can lead to injuries, for example foot sores as a result of compulsive pacing or face / head injuries as a result of pressing the head against a surface for long periods of time.

Causes of head pressing in cats


In general, head pressure in cats occurs when there is a problem with their brain or nervous system. In addition to those mentioned above, these are the most common causes of why your cat may be performing the behavior:

Infectious diseases

Infectious diseases like rabies can cause cats to press their heads against the wall . Fungal and parasitic infections can also be the problem. If you see your cat doing this, it’s best to take him to the vet right away.

Brain tumors

While this is one of the most worrisome health complications your cat could have, it is essential to have it checked out by a veterinarian immediately, as head pressing could be a symptom of a brain tumor . Known as primary tumors when they occur in the brain, secondary tumors can develop throughout the body if they are not quickly diagnosed and treated.


Your cat can also press its head against the wall if it has suffered from poisoning. This could be the result of overexposure to alcohol, chemicals, or a reaction to toxins within insecticides that are around you when venturing outdoors.

Cats can also press their head against things if they are recovering from anesthesia , although this is usually temporary and is not usually a cause for great concern.

Metabolic disorders

Hypoglycemia is a metabolic disorder that occurs when a cat does not have enough glucose or sugar in its body . This results in low energy levels and can be extremely dangerous, and can often be recognized as the cause behind head pressure in cats.

Other symptoms to watch out for

Because head pressing can be a symptom of a serious illness, you may notice that your feline friend is displaying other symptoms. Some of the most common that line up with head pressing are:

  • Frequent meows
  • Compulsive circulation and / or stimulation
  • Disorientation
  • Convulsions
  • Dilated pupils and other vision problems

Is it dangerous to press the head in cats?

Because head pressure often occurs for no apparent reason, it is usually a serious sign that something is wrong with your cat and you should see your vet as soon as possible. You may need to make an emergency appointment with your vet so that he can test your cat’s blood pressure, take a urine sample, and examine his eyes. This will help diagnose any health problems you may be suffering from and allow you to get the best treatment for your diagnosis.

Treatment for this behavior

If you have noticed that your cat exhibits a pressing behavior on the head, it is important, as we have indicated above, to visit your veterinarian immediately to determine the underlying cause of the problem.

Head pressing is the compulsive act of pressing the head against a wall or other surface without rest, for no apparent reason. Head pressing is usually a sign of nervous system damage, which can be the result of a number of underlying problems.

The most appropriate treatment in each case will depend on the reason that causes it and what the veterinarian considers. Although usually it is usually finished with medications, diet surgery. The method of treatment for this behavior depends on the veterinarian’s diagnosis of the underlying cause of the behavior. Treatment should not be done until a diagnosis has been made .

What to expect at the vet’s office


Next we are going to explain in detail what the vet will do when you take your cat to his consultation due to this problem that worries you so much.

To determine the underlying cause of the head pressing behavior, your vet will likely perform a fundic examination of the retina  (the layer of the eye that receives and processes images) and other structures at the back of the eye. This can reveal irregularities in the brain or infectious or inflammatory diseases.

Other useful tests include measurements of blood pressure (the amount of pressure applied by the blood in the arteries) to determine if your cat has high blood pressure and CT or MRI scans of the brain.

Your vet will also perform a blood test and urinalysis , which could reveal a problem with the metabolic system or help determine if there are toxins in the system.




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