Critter Culture
Count the Ways: How Your Cat Says "I Love You"
CatsBehavior

Count the Ways: How Your Cat Says "I Love You"

Critter Culture Staff
Updated May 27, 2022

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Most dogs show love in very obvious ways, such as wagging their tails, running around in circles, or even slobbering all over their human families. Cats don't behave this way. Some people believe that cats are aloof, independent animals that don't really care much for their humans. However, kitties do feel affection and love for us. They just express their feelings in uniquely feline ways.

1

Kitty is always in the way

Cute kitten sitting on laptop keyboard and looking at camera freemixer / Getty Images

Sometimes it feels like cats are constantly underfoot or always interrupting tasks. Kitties frequently decide to follow people from room to room, and they enjoy putting themselves right in the middle of whatever their owners are doing. Your cat may decide to lay down on your keyboard or sit right in front of a computer or television screen. These behaviors aren't meant to be annoying. It's the cat's way of getting your attention or simply enjoying your company.

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2

Slow blinks

cat with eyes closed Kech / Getty Images

Although it may sound odd, cats show affection by staring and blinking slowly. Slow blinks are very clear indications of love. Cats don't like closing their eyes around other animals or around most people. If your cat closes his eyes or blinks slowly while staring at you, the kitty is actually demonstrating love and trust. You can look at your cat and blink slowly to show love as well.

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3

Head bunting

Woman pet owner cuddling with cat IvanJekic / Getty Images

Your cat may bump, or bunt, his head against yours as a sign of affection. Cats have scent glands on their heads. Scent is very important to cats because they use pheromones to communicate with each other. A cat pushing his head against yours or rubbing his head against your hand leaves pheromones on your skin. These pheromones label you as a safe and trusted entity. They could also send a slight warning to other cats that you've already been claimed.

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4

Grooming

cat biting woman's nose Olezzo / Getty Images

Kitties groom each other frequently. It's a social activity that communicates trust and affection. Your cat may groom you as a sign of affection as well. This generally takes the form of licking your hands, arms, hair, or other accessible areas. Soft bites and nibbles aren't aggressive behavior. Cats use their teeth and tongues to groom their fur, and some kitties don't quite understand that people don't have fur coats.

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5

Sleeping habits

cat sleeping on top a woman SetsukoN / Getty Images

Wild cats living as a family sleep very close to each other. Domestic cats frequently do the same thing in multi-cat households, and kittens almost always sleep in piles beside their mother. If your cats sleep curled up beside you, it means you're a trusted member of their family. Some cats even sleep under the covers or try to sleep on top of their favorite people.

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6

Purring and trilling

Woman strokes cute ginger cat lying on blanket on window sill. Konstantin Aksenov / Getty Images

A cat's meow can mean a lot of things. Your kitty may want something, or he could be expressing happiness or excitement. Every cat is different, but you can usually figure out what various meows mean by watching your cat's behavior. High-pitched meows or chirps often mean the cat wants attention. He may want you to pick him up or play with him. Purring or soft trilling noises usually indicate happiness and contentment, although cats purr for other reasons too.

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7

Kneading

Grey kitten with green eyes sitting on owner's lap Uplight Pictures / Getty Images

Cats knead or push in and out with their front paws when they feel comfortable and safe. Some people refer to kneading as 'making biscuits.' Baby kittens knead to encourage milk flow from their mother. Adult cats knead when they feel happy and content. It's a good sign if your cat kneads while sitting on your lap or sitting beside you.

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8

Showing their bellies

cat on its back showing belly 3sbworld / Getty Images

It's actually a pretty big deal when cats show their bellies. Animals won't expose their bellies unless they feel safe. A cat that rolls over during playtime or lets you rub her belly is showing how much she trusts you. Along the same lines, a sick cat approaching you for help is the highest compliment. Most cats, and many other animals, hide signs of sickness or injury to protect themselves. If your cat comes to you when she doesn't feel well, it means she trusts you completely and sees you as a source of comfort.

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9

Bringing you presents

cat looking at mouse on the table zsv3207 / Getty Images

Cats bring presents home to their families to show love and affection. This can be very puzzling from a human perspective. However, wild cats bring prey back to their family groups to share food. Mother cats also do this to feed kittens and teach hunting skills. From the cat's perspective, the dead mouse on the doorstep is food she's sharing with you.

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10

Strays and rescues

cat putting its head in man's arm Linda Raymond / Getty Images

A cat's background may influence the way they express love. Some people claim that feral cats can learn to be housecats, but they'll never truly trust or love people. On the other hand, many rescuers claim that formerly feral cats can be very loving and attached to their human families. Every cat is an individual with a unique personality. Don't be discouraged if a newly adopted rescue kitty isn't affectionate right away. Give the cat time to recognize a safe, loving home and show trust and affection in their own way.

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