Cat Bobbing Head

In this post, we will be talking about cat behavior that you may have seen before: bobbing their head. Initially, the act looks hilarious, but it can be a serious issue. Some people think it is because the cat is trying to get rid of an itch or they are suffering from pain in the ear, but this isn’t always the case. There are plenty of reasons for a cat to bob their heads.

Let’s take a look at why your cat might be doing this and what you can do in response if your cat starts bobbing their head.

cat bobbing head

Reasons Why Your Cat Bobbing head:

Why is your cat bobbing her head? Continue reading to know the exact reason:

It can be due to Ear problems

You may think that your cat is just trying to hear better, but the most common reason for bobbing their head could actually be ear issues. In some cases, it can be as simple as a buildup of wax causing uneasiness or hearing difficulties which require cleaning with cotton swabs or scrub pads.

While it can be an indication of an ear infection that throws your friend off balance, and by bobbing their head, they attempt to find the right balance. Usually, this brings various other issues such as vomiting and lack of appetite.

Here we will advise you to conduct a thorough check on your friend’s ears for wax build-up and other symptoms. Furthermore, check for redness, swelling, or pain around the ear as all these things indicate an ear infection.

Due to medication

Reactions to medications and drugs can result in head bobbing in cats. In severe cases, it can lead to seizures. So it is possible that your cat bobs its head due to a bad reaction from drugs and medications, even if the medication is cat-approved. It is possible that maybe your cat is not feeling well after vaccination.

That’s why never use any medicine without consulting your vet, as they can lead to various issues. Reactions from medicines don’t come alone, and various issues such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea follow it.

If you think your cat is on medication and they’re bobbing their head more than usual, it might be worth checking with the vet. They may have another option for treatment that will work better.

Bacterial infections

If your cat is old and suffering from any bacterial infection, this is the reason that it is bobbing its head. Again your cat might be suffering from other issues in this condition like fever, maybe it is diabetic, lack of appetite, nose issues, lethargy, and vomiting.

Head injuries or trauma

Head trauma is another common cause of head bobbing in cats. Your cat may have been in a fight with other animals or got hit by a car. Such incidents could lead to a head injury which causes cognitive dysfunction resulting in head bobbing.

Here check your cat’s head for impact or injury, and if you feel anything wrong, contact the vet.

Cerebellar hypoplasia

Sometimes cat bobbing its head is due to cerebellar hypoplasia. Your cat might have wrecked some of her motor control so that her movements are embellished. In this case, your cat will push her head a bit forward, but it will move too much. And when your cat pulls its head back, it will go way back.

However, this issue will not affect the pet’s quality of life, and you cannot do anything about it. However, the problem will not get worse. As long as your cat is active, healthy, and happy, the disease won’t affect her, but she will have to deal with the oddness of coordination.

Is your cat curious? 

Cats will often bob their heads when they’re curious. It allows the cat to get a better look at something from different angles and views without having to move. In many ways, cats are little stealthy hunters. Often they’ll bob their heads closer to the ground in a hunting stance too.

Is Your Cat Trying To Assess Something?

If your cat is jumping or climbing on the counter or any other high surface, then she will bob its head. This is because your cat is not as high as the object she is trying to jump onto, so she will assess how far away the point is.

It Can Be A Simple Reaction 

Sometimes, head bobbing can be a quick response to anything. For example, if your furry hunter is stalking a bird, but she is enjoying the rush of pursuing the bird, your cat will bob its head to acquire the bird’s attention. Looks surprising? But many cats do that.


Although it’s rare, but it is possible that your cat’s genetics may be the reason why she is bobbing the head. This is common when the breeding process is poor, and you will also see this condition among purebred animals.

Vestibular disease

Vestibular disease is referred to as sudden and extreme disorientation in cats, and this also results in head bobbing. Common symptoms can be sudden falling or leaning on one side, head bobbing or tilting, and vomiting. This condition is mainly caused due to various problems in the cat’s inner ear, which is accountable for balance and coordination.

This condition is usually common in older cats, and it is sudden. Unluckily there is no particular treatment for this problem, and most probably vet will suggest antibiotics or anti-fungal medicines.

Bites from Insects

Cats are natural predators; hence they are prone to insect bites. If that’s the case, your cat will bob its head due to irritation, pain, or swelling. Apart from it, your pet might face inflammation, scratching, hives, and head tilting due to an insect bite.

How You Can Identify the Main Problem?

Because your little friend cannot speak, it is challenging to determine the exact reason why it is shaking its head. In many cases, the issue is in the cat’s ear canal of a cat. However, the issues are not visible and remain hidden deep in the ear. Furthermore, the cat’s ear tube and the canal are not that broad, and this causes problems in determining the actual cause.

If you see your cat constantly shaking or bobbing the head, you need to be cautious and consider taking her to the vet. However, some things that you can immediately do are as follow:

  • Scratching around the ear.
  • Redness or swelling around the ear flap.
  • Foul odor or constant discharge from the cat’s ear.
  • Tenderness or irritability upon touching the cat’s ear.
  • Holding their head in an awkward position.
  • Evident loss in hearing.

Should You Be Concerned When Your Cat Bob’s its head?

Yes, you should be worried about your cat if she bobs her head too much. Moreover, if that head shaking is due to ear problems, it can result in severe damages such as permanent hearing loss, a ruptured eardrum, or other similar issues. Furthermore, this aggressive or persistent head shaking condition can also lead to problems such as Aural Haematomas.

Apart from it, the whole shaking or head bobbing can be really painful for your cat, and no one likes to see their pet suffering from pain. Just imagine when you suffer from a severe earache, remember? Now you can understand the pain that your pet will be experiencing.

What Should be Your Next Steps?

First, you should discuss the matter with your veterinarian. In such cases, the vet thoroughly examines the cat’s ear with a special medical instrument called an otoscope. If they find any infection, they may advise cytology. This is an essential process and helps to determine the actual problem or infection is inside your cat’s ear. However, this will be only applicable if your cat bobs its head due to any ear infection.

Vets have their own methods that they use to diagnose the actual cause. Hence leave the treatment to them and follow their advice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why My Cat Bob His Head And Looks At Me?

Your cat bobs his head towards you to get your attention. Cats have a special and unique way of getting our attention. They bob their heads up and down, quick strokes from side to side or circles around the center point, which gives them what they want: Your undivided focus on anything.

Often head bobbing in cats is nothing but a routine habit that they cannot get rid of and use to seek your undivided attention. Cats also bob their heads when they want you to look at something from their perspective.

Does Cat Bob its Heads To Music?

Cats are so amazing, and they have an excellent sense of hearing. Cats can bob their heads to songs and music if she is enjoying what’s being played. They will sense the pulse and move or shake their body to it naturally.

However, cats won’t move their body or bob their on every music. They will only do that when the music is according to their pitch and taste. Usually, heavy music and higher pitches will spark them, and you will see the moving body or bobbing head of your cat.

Why Does My Cat Tilt Its Heads When I Talk To It?

Cats usually tilt their heads or change their direction while talking to you because of curiosity. When you try to chat with your feline, and she turns or bob’s her head means she is playing with you. And when you start talking again to your cat in a soft tone, it will make your cat more curious.

Which cat breed bob its head the most?

Head bobbing is common in all cat breeds, but you will see it more in Burmese cats. This cat breed sometimes suffers from a hereditary condition known as Hypokalemic polymyopathy. This condition can be dangerous and weakens the neck muscles, resulting in too much head bobbing. But if your Burmese cat is fit and fine, no need to worry out.


When your cat starts to bob their head up and down, most of us get worried. But no need to worry as it is usually a harmless behavior that typically goes away on its own after a few days. However, if the problem persists even after a few days or gets worse or it is accompanied by other issues such as infections, vomiting, etc. We will recommend taking your feline friend for a checkup to your vet.

Let us know in the comments how our blog post helped answer any questions about sudden head bowing in cats so we can continue doing so.

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