5 Signs That Your Cat Loves You
It’s a common misconception that cats don’t love their parents: that they’re selfish jerks just in it for the free ride and yummy treats, and don’t actually care either way about your continued existence.
This myth could not be farther from the truth. Contrary to their antisocial reputation, cats are actually very social animals who do enjoy having friends, both human and feline.
The misconception may have arisen because cats simply don’t communicate in the same way humans or even dogs do. Thanks to domestication, dogs have (to some extent) learned to speak our language — while cats, on the other hand, barely even qualify as domestic. They’re essentially still wild animals that graciously allow us to live in their territory!
So when you’re looking for affection from your finicky feline, remember: it’s up to you to learn to speak Cat. And once you can recognize the signs that your cat loves you, you may realize that Whiskers is not nearly as standoffish as you thought!
The Slow Blink
As humans, we tend to be loud and use big, obvious gestures when we communicate. Cats are far more subtle — but if you know what to look for, your cat’s body language will make it clear when she likes you!
Case in point? The Slow Blink.
Like many animals, cats typically perceive direct, unblinking eye contact as a threat. But by utilizing the power of the Slow Blink, cats are able to send a silent message: “Hey, don’t worry. I like you.”
Cats use the Slow Blink to send a clear, friendly signal to anyone who they are on good terms with — which includes both other cats and the humans your cat deems worthy of affection.
Famous feline behaviorist Jackson Galaxy has helped raised awareness of “The Slow Blink,” calling it “the cat I Love You.”
To perform a Slow Blink and finally speak to Whiskers in the language of cats, simply do the following:
Meet your cat’s gaze with a soft, relaxed expression.
Slowly close your eyes. Keep them closed for 2 seconds.
Slowly open your eyes again. Gaze at your kitty lovingly.
Once you Slow Blink at your cat, the odds are good that Whiskers will do it back! And a beautiful, silent moment of understanding will pass between you two: “I love you, cat.” “I love you too, human.”
Friendly Physical Contact
Contrary to their “aloof loner” reputation, many cats are extremely social cuddlebugs!
If your cat enjoys physical affection, and feels safe and comfortable around you, one of the most telling signs that your cat loves you is if they initiate friendly physical contact with you.
Loving touches from your kitty cat include but are not limited to: rubbing up against you, licking or grooming you, and “kneading” on or near you. Kneading is a behavior kittens do while nursing, and as adults, cats will knead as a sign of relaxation and contentment.
Your cat may also sleep on your lap (or your chest, or your back, or your shoulders, or…) to show that they are fond of your presence. And don’t worry, you’re not just a warm body to them — a cat won’t sleep on or near a human they don’t trust!
Finally, one of the surest indications that your cat considers you part of their crew is the classic headbutt or “head bonk.” Think of it like a kitty fist bump. It’s how your cat says, “You and me? We’re cool.”
Being Near You
Many cats crave physical contact and can’t seem to get enough chin scratches. But others…well, they just aren’t as into that.
The fact is, not all cats are lap cats. Cats are individuals, just like we are, and there are many cats who don’t enjoy being petted or touched.
But, don’t let it break your heart! Just because your cat isn’t touchy-feely doesn’t mean they hate you. That cat who comes into the living room and quietly lays down nearby while you’re watching TV, not initiating any interaction with you, perhaps not even acknowledging you? Guess what: odds are, she does love you. If she didn’t, she’d be in another room!
Introverted cats are what’s known as “Nearby Cats.” These are the cats who show they love you by pretending it’s just a coincidence that they are in the same room as you 90% of the time.
“Oh, you’re going to the living room?” the Nearby Cat says. “I was just going there myself. What are the odds? It has nothing to do with you, of course…”
If your cat follows you around the house and willingly chooses to be near you — even if all they do is sit on the other side of the room and stare at you unsettlingly — that’s an indication that your cat wants to be in your presence. She may be too proud to come down from her perch for a cuddle, sure, but deep down in her furry little heart, she trusts you and feels safer with you nearby.
Similarly, this is the cat who seems uninterested in you all day, but nevertheless sleeps at the foot of your bed every night. “What?” he may say. “This is just the comfiest spot in the house! Oh, you’re sleeping here, too? I had no idea.”
Suuuure, Whiskers. Sure. *wink*
Displaying Their Belly
Your cat may swagger around the house like a lion or tiger, the undisputed king of his domain…but, truth be told, our little kitty buddies aren't actually at the top of the food chain.
Domestic cats (and their ancestors, the African wildcat) are what’s known as “mesopredators” — as in, they are both predators and prey! To rodents, songbirds and small reptiles, your cat is a terrifying predator. But in the eyes of coyotes, wolves and eagles, your fur-baby is lunch!
All of which is to say: domestic cats are cautious about who they can be vulnerable with, painfully aware that they are not, in fact, invincible lions.
That’s why you should appreciate the high honor that has been bestowed upon you when your cat chooses to roll over and expose their belly in your presence. This is a very vulnerable and trusting position for your cat to be in; if you were a predator, your cat would basically be serving themselves up on a platter!
If your cat rolls onto their back and displays their belly to you, that’s a sure-fire sign that your cat trusts you with their life — literally. And if that’s not true love, we don’t know what is.
Important Note: Many pet lovers are familiar with dog behavior, where an exposed belly clearly means, “Pet me!” But it’s crucial to remember that your cat is not a dog!
Too many cat parents innocently assume that their kitty wants a belly rub — and then are offended when their cat bites them as a result (a bite which is clearly your cat saying, “Stop that.”)
Your cat’s exposed belly is not an open invitation to be petted. Neither is it a carefully-laid trap, where your cat is just waiting to attack an unsuspecting hand.
Instead, try to see your cat’s fluffy belly for what it really is: an expression of love and trust in you, best admired from a distance!
Finally, one of the surest signs that your cat loves you is if they are just plain happy to see you!
If your cat greets you in a friendly manner, especially when you come home at the end of the day, you can be reasonably sure that you’re important to your cat (and not just as a provider of food).
So, what’s considered a “friendly greeting” in cat-speak? Well, your cat’s tail is one of the best indicators of what mood they’re in. If your cat trots towards you as soon as you walk through the front door with their tail straight up (especially if just the tip of their tail is tipped to the side), that indicates your cat is feeling happy, friendly and affectionate. In other words: “Welcome home!”
Or, perhaps your cat speaks to you in a more literal way: through meowing! Domestic cats are capable of an incredible number of unique vocalizations, and some of them seem to have evolved specifically to build a better relationship with humans.
What we think of as the classic “meow” is actually your cat’s attempt to speak our language! Scientists believe a cat’s meow has that distinctive high-pitched, inquisitive sound because that’s what tugs the most on our human heartstrings.
Kittens meow at their mothers, but once cats reach adulthood, they rarely meow at each other. They do communicate with each other through vocalizations, of course, but the meow — that plaintive, almost pathetic sound we love so much — was developed and perfected just to solicit love and attention from humans.
And there’s no way cats would go through all that effort to earn our love if they didn’t enjoy the relationship, too!
Cats don’t express their feelings in quite the same way humans or even dogs do. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating their affection to us! In fact, if you know what to look for, you’ll see plenty of signs that your cat loves you.
Being physically affectionate with you, greeting you when you come home, treating you to a Slow Blink or even just sitting on the couch with you are all signals that Whiskers uses to say, “I like you, human. You can stay.”
And y’know what? In the minds of most cat parents, that’s close enough!