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Headbutting As A Form Of Communication

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Headbutting may seem like a strange topic for me, a canine, to write about, but it has happened at our house. It is an arcane form of communication my human mother has taken up with the C-A-T.

We, meaning she and I, were watching Live with Regis and Kelly the other day, and an animal trainer was waxing eloquent about how to connect with felines (he was definitely delusional). He suggested, and then demonstrated with a cheetah, the art of headbutting. Apparently this is “Hello” in their twisted world.

Ah, my adopted parental unit was all excited about this new morsel of information. She promptly told me Salem was in for the greeting of his life. “Just wait and see, Buttons. He’s gonna love it.” Foolish, foolish woman that she was.

The next morning, Salem jumped up on the counter, and the headbutting commenced. The boy went wild while I watched in canine amazement. My mother dipped her head down and went right for his forehead. He started meowing like crazy and hitting his head up against hers, reminiscent of Zadine and Materazzi in 2006, but without the screaming fans.

The two of them kept up this ridiculous activity for the next 60 seconds. Neither of them acted like they had any sense at all. I said to myself that no good was going to come of this experiment, but I didn’t share my thoughts.

It didn’t take long before my prediction came true. This morning at 6:00, Salem strolled into the bedroom, leapt on the bed, and began headbutting my mother. That would have been fine except that she was sound asleep. More importantly, so was I.

What happened next was not pretty. She sat straight up in bed and started yelling. Not to be outdone, I began barking. That mangy, wretched thing jumped down and began scratching the back of the love seat with his claws.

I ran down my ramp yapping madly, telling him to run like the wind because good old mom was pretty steamed up over the whole incident. She said she had cat fur in her mouth, but that’s only because it was open from her snoring. Maybe I shouldn’t say that, but what the heck, it’s true.

She is always saying, “You don’t have to tell everything you know.” So I left out the part about her sleeping in the buff and taking my sister to school in her snowman pajamas and dachshund socks. She justifies any of her behaviors by always wearing perfume and lip gloss, no matter what.

Neither the feline nor yours truly cares how she clothes herself or what she smells like. We are most interested in being fed and sleeping on her bed. In the hopes of preserving these interests, we both agree she should stay away from morning television.

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About Dr. Juliann Mitchell, PhD

  • Sweet story, thanks for sharing. I taught this to my 2 doxies when they were pups, and they still do it as an expression of love. We don’t actually butt heads, but press heads against each other. They do it to each other, and will press their heads up against the legs or crotch (when people sit to greet them) of some people that they meet.

  • So glad you enjoyed the article. I checked out your blog, it is absolutely wonderful. What a grand celebration of doxies. It is just beautiful.

  • Thanks Juliann for such kind words.

    Joey and Maggie