What causes cat head pressing (headache)?

I have answered the question within the question! Bad feline headaches cause head pressing because it alleviates the pain. So what causes feline headaches? Here are some examples.

Feline head pressing
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Feline head pressing. It is not clear this cat has a headache but this is what feline head pressing looks like. Picture in public domain.

The gastro-intestinal parasite trichinosis causes symptoms of muscle pain, headaches and joint pain. This parasite is acquired by ingesting undercooked pork that contains the encysted larvae of Trichina spiralis. Fifteen percent of people living in the US have at some time acquired this disease.

Sinusitis in cats can cause headaches amongst other symptoms.

Cats with impaired liver function can have a range of symptoms including head pressing which is a sign, as mentioned, of having a bad headache. The cat actually puts his forehead against a wall to try and alleviate the pain.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Portosystemic shunts, are an inherited anatomical defect present at birth. Specifically an abnormal portal vein bypasses the liver and takes blood directly to the heart. Food nutrients and waste products are not processed by the liver. Ammonia products build up inside the cat’s system. The illness’s symptoms include head pressing, seizures and circling and also include weight loss, vomiting, diarrhoea and excessive drooling.

Source: Myself nowadays, but details from Cat Owners Home Veterinary Handbook on various pages.

P.S. Don’t laugh at a cat pressing his head against a wall and make a joke about it on the internet — please.


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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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1 Response

  1. Albert Schepis says:

    I don’t think any of my cats had the maladies listed here, certainly not the symptoms or I’d have investigated, but I had one who was a major head-bunter, and another who liked to press his head against something or tuck his head under, which I admit was amusing to me.

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