You’re sitting down and your cat comes sauntering up to you, purring—and then immediately head-butts you, hard. What gives?
Your cat is bunting. Animals will bunt for a variety of reasons, but experts say that cats do it to either mark a person or other animal with their scent. These same experts say that bunting appears to be social, affectionate behavior, and sometimes is done to get attention.
The word bunt goes back to the 1500s, where it was a dialect term used in England that meant "to butt with the head." It's an alteration of the earlier verb butt, which also means "to strike or thrust." Butt goes back to the 13th century and was first used not of cats bunting, or rams knocking their heads together, but of a child in the womb that is "stirenn and ... buttenn."
You are probably more familiar with bunt as a baseball term to refer to pushing or tapping a baseball lightly without swinging the bat. The baseball bunt is a direct descendant of the head-butting bunt.