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How Do Cats Show Affection

Cat showing affection by rubbing woman's face

Cats are refined, mysterious creatures. And they like it that way. Cats often want attention and love only when they are in the mood to receive it. As a result, the ways cats show affection can sometimes be confusing. They lick and then bite. They want to sit near you but not one you. Their behavior can be hard to discern. So, in this blog we will answer the question how do cats show affection.

How Do Cats Show Affection

The affection of dogs is easy to figure out. Dogs wag their tales, try to lick you and sometimes drool all over you. Dogs excitedly jump around you. It’s really obvious when a dog is happy to see you. But cats? Cats can seem aloof and only interested in you and allowing you to pet them when they want something, typically food.

Or at least that’s what some people believe.

However, cats do show their love. It's just sometimes hard to know what they

person holding cat that is showing affection

are expressing. Sometimes they want to be near you but not on you. Sometimes they want to be petted and sometimes they don't. If you're in the kitchen and there’s food, of course they’re going to hang around, too! When you are in the bedroom, it’s comfy. Where else would they want to be? And, of course as all cat lovers know, if you go to the bathroom, they want to come too. It’s dangerous in there and you might need rescuing.

Cats are both affectionate and very independent.

And they’ll keep showing you their love in many, many ways.

Cats Show Affection by Marking You with Their Scent

Cat rubbing a woman's face to show affectionAs noted by Spruce Pets, cats spend lots of time grooming. They also like to groom their favorite people and other animals. In other words, they’ll lick you and make sure you’re just as well-groomed as they are. By grooming you, they’ll mark you with their scent, too. That marks you as part of their family for the whole world to know.

Kneading, rubbing their cheeks on you, head-butting you and even scratching will also mark you with their scent. On top of that, kneading is what kittens do when nursing, and adult cats keep that behavior for the times when they’re at their happiest and most relaxed. This includes when they are with people they adore.

Yes, your cat adores you. But don’t tell anyone, or you’ll ruin their image.

Cats Display Affection by Sleeping Close to You

cat sleeping safely as way to show affection

Cats will sleep basically on every part of you. They sleep on your chest, on your neck, on your legs and sometimes even on your forehead. The reason for this, according to Pet Plan, is that cats are natural hunters who don't like to feel vulnerable. If your cat knows that you are an ally and that it can trust you, then your cat will feel safe and less vulnerable sleeping near you. They feel they can trust you to chase away any predators who dare to challenge you or, importantly, them.

Cats Purr and Meow When Showing Affection

Purring doesn’t always mean that the kitty is happy. Purring has many functions, just like human laughter. Most often, a purring cat is a content and relaxed cat. And they’re content and relaxed because you’re around.

And it’s not just purring. Many animal behaviorists and cat experts note that cats emit any number of audible signals that let us know what they are feeling, including affection. They often chirp or trill and, of course, mew. These are all ways cats let us know they feel affection towards you. Cats don’t use those sounds to communicate with other adult cats. Those sounds are for kittens and for the people they love just as much.

That would be you.

Cats Show Love Affection By Slowly Blinking at You

Cat eyes have evolved to be specialized tools that take in as much information as possible. Cats are good low light hunters and are especially good at detecting movement. This is true when cats are assessing prey as well and potential predators and other dangers. You can read more about cats' eyes in our blog Why Do Cats Pupils Get Big.

So, a cat has to feel very comfortable in order to close its eyes. After all, doing so eliminates their ability to detect and respond to threats. So, according to Readers Digest, when cats look at you and close their eyes or blink slowly, that is their way to show affection. They are signaling that they trust you and feel comfortable being vulnerable with you. Slow blinking, also known as cat kisses, is signal they recognize you as one of their own, that they trust you and they love you.

You can even blink slowly back at your cat and they will understand that you too are signaling affection and trust. You’ll look like two cats in love.

A Curved Tail Can Be a Sign of Affection

Cat showing affection by walking with tail up and curved

Cat experts and cat blog Catster also note that cats show affection by how they position their tail. You’ve certainly seen a furious, hissing cat with a puffy tail trying to look bigger and more intimidating. But a tail that’s twined around your legs, on the other hand, is pure affection. It's like how humans hold hands. And a tail that is held straight up with a gentle curve at the end, according to Best Life Online, signals that the cat is approaching in friendship and good spirit.

In their own way, cats are actually great at communication; they’ll combine vocalizations, postures and body language. They will keep signaling that yes, they do love you.