How to Tell if Your Cat Loves You | 13 Surprising Ways
We all know the repeated myth about cats not having any feelings of affection towards their owner. Most people usually associate them with a stone cold heart and eyes only set for easy food.
Despite what you may believe, cats have the warmest hearts, so if you are a good cat owner, who shows Mr. Fluffball you love him, I'm here to tell you he loves you right back.
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Cats are very sensitive animals and even though they can feel the affection they receive, the way they return the love is quite different and may be a bit hard (and even confusing) to understand. People who are not cat owners, are even further away from the feline-related knowledge to use for distinguishing cat behaviour. The typical "cat" ways they show us their undying affection towards us, are often mistaken as signs of attack, aggression, etc.
Overall, it can be very confusing (and even annoying at times) to deal with how your cat expresses his love. To help you gain better understanding, this article is here to translate cat behaviour into human language. Here are some ways to tell that your cat loves you.
One of the most frequently asked question about cats is, the reason behind their purring. Cats generally purr when they are happy, or satisfied. They do this by using their larynx and diaphragm muscles, both as they inhale and exhale.
A content cat will purr to express their happy feelings, either when they are being pet or they see you after a long day. They also purr to self-soothe, which means purring is not always a sign of happiness. A distressed cat will also purr because they are frightened, or they feel threatened.However, if your cat turns on the high-powered purring button when you take him on your lap, stroke his fur or even share a moment of intimate staring, it means he's expressing how happy he is because of you! Cute, right?
Does your cat jump on your lap, starts digging his nails into your skin, and suck on to your clothes? This may sound odd, but this is actual cat behaviour, and the term for this is- "kneading". It is much more common for kittens to do this, but some still hold on to this behaviour well into adulthood.
Kittens place their paws on their mother's nipples and instinctively puts pressure, and starts a repetitive motion that stimulates the flow of milk. They suck onto the nipples and continues kneading for the mother to keep producing more milk.
When they reach adulthood, cats knead soft laundry, or their owners' lap, stomach, etc not because of sudden hunger for momma's milk, but because they associate kneading with the soft warmth and the comforts of nursing, something that brings them contentment. So if your kitten/cat kneads you from time to time, lucky you! They associate you with their mother, and comfort!
Even though this can be a little hard to believe for some, the truth is, cats are VERY needy. They not only want your attention, they NEED it. It may seem like that your cat could not care any less about that new toy you just bought him, but in truth, they always keep an eye on you. (In a good way, of course!)
When in a household, a cat naturally sees his family as a pack. And just like you care for him, he cares for you! Sometimes, you might hear your cat calling out to you, while staring at you intently, or randomly giving out meows. Even though this can mean he wants food, has found something he wants (a toy he can't reach, or prey), this can also (very often) display his strong need for your attention! Pick him up and give him a good petting, or do whatever satisfies your particular cuddly feline.
Direct staring at a cat can make him feel threatened and worried, as if an attack is coming, since cats usually reserve their direct eye contact with things they are really focusing on, such as a prey, or a toy (especially if their pupils are clearly dilated). However, a very soft and steady gaze will mean your cat trusts you, and he feels safe and relaxed. If he shares a short moment of holding eye contact and then looks away, or he blinks very slowly, it represents a sign of trust.
Most people see it as your cat sending you a kiss from across the room, which is actually a good definition of it. When your cat does blink at you or looks away, try returning the blink immediately and look away as well, as this means you are aware of his presence, and pose no threat. By returning the gesture, you two have learned that you can trust each other, and your cat will undoubtedly feel safe and loved.
Your cat can bite you for a hundred reasons, and as undesirable as it is, one of those reasons is to show affection. Your cat may give you a soft bite after, or in the middle of licking you, and can also gently nibble on you as well. These are called "love bites", from your own cat!
If you're lucky enough to be licked by your cat, then it's no question if your cat is fond of you or not. Mother cats will constantly lick her kittens as a part of the grooming process. But not only that, cats groom each other, (and you) as a strong sign of affection. Experts say it translates to his trust and care towards their feline and human friends, and this also shows that they themselves, feel safe and happy.
Cats will also lick you to mark their scent on you. Mother cats do this so the world knows to whom these kittens belong to, and your cat does it for the same purpose. Marking their own scent on you will establish their territory, so every other cat (and other possible threats) know you belong to Whiskers, and to stay away.
Sleeping is one of the vulnerable states a cat can be in. If your cat trusts you enough to sometimes (or regularly) sleep beside you (or on you), then be grateful- he obviously likes sharing the bed or couch with you, and feels safe. An obvious sign of love.
As been stated before, cats need their attention, even if they are not too keen as to return it sometimes. Your cat may also follow you around the house and call out to you just to get your attention. They will wait by your bathroom door (if it's locked), walk right between and against your legs, and you'll catch him trying to keep up with you just so you notice him.
Cats have their scent glands in places such as their cheeks, forehead, chin and the base of their tail. They rub these parts against their favourite human(s), other feline friends and even furniture to have their special scent all over it. This, as said before, marks territory. Basically, your cat is claiming ownership over you and other things he rubs on. Others will then stay away from you when they catch that scent.
Not only that, cats also rub against you to pick up scents from you. This is another example of affection your cat has towards you and it's also seen as greeting behaviour.
A cat's tail is a very good mood indicator. Your cat may intentionally walk around and between your legs and wrap his tail around. This is a strong affection signal!
Other than that, a cat resting his tail near or on you, is him choosing to bond with you. A slightly quivering tail with an adorable fluffy base is an expression of happiness. A straight, smooth tail with a slight curved tip means your cat is happy around you.
If your cat is allowed to go outside, it's normal for you to be surprised at times to see dead animals inside your house just laying around. A mother cat brings home dead animals to her kittens to show how hunting is done. Your cat may have noticed the embarrassing lack in your hunting skills, and brings home injured, or dead rodents such as mice, to make sure you don't starve.
Showing off the belly:
The belly of your feline is a very vulnerable spot. Cats mostly try to stay on their legs in case of any sudden attack, to use their teeth and claws for protection. If you catch your cat rolling around on his back and showing off his belly, know that this is greeting behaviour and a big sign of trust.
He does not feel the need to protect himself around you, with his belly exposed. It's important to not break this trust if your cat hates belly rubs and you go in for one anyway.
A cat learns to trill from his mother, who does this to get attention from her kittens and to get them to follow her. Your cat trilling at you is him trying to catch your attention. He's greeting you and saying hello!
Try your best being a good cat owner, and get your cat's undying love for you in return!