Dogs show affection in a big way. They bark when they see you pull in the driveway, jump on you when you walk through the door and dish out tons of kisses the rest of the time.
For the most part, cats are subtle, quiet and peaceful creatures making it easy to overlook their signs of affection for you. Cats will admire you from afar or come to you displaying their affectionate behaviors during down time.
Sometimes, a cat’s affectionate tendencies may not even seem like love. In reality, cats have their own ways of telling us the way they feel and it’s important for us to notice and understand so we can continue to provide them with what they need to live long, happy lives.
Purring is to cats as tail wagging is to dogs. It’s something that occurs when they’re feeling their best and often times that is when you, their owner, take time out of your day dedicated to them. If you plan to relax on the sofa or read a book in bed, you can expect your cat to join you and let the purring ensue.
Purring occurs because when cats experience happiness, their brains tell the muscles in their voice box to vibrate. This sound is usually uninterrupted as it is able to occur both through inhaling and exhaling. Usually this is a sign of happiness, but be sure to also watch out for other signs of stress that may indicate the purring is coming from a distressed kitty.
A bit more obvious and a bit more similar to the way we express loves as humans, kneading is a major sign of affection in all cats. It feels similar because it’s usually happens during a relaxing time and you feel their affection through touch.
Young kittens knead their mothers to stimulate milk flow but once they’re adults they do it to achieve a soothing feeling and express vulnerability to you. It’s a matter of nostalgia when your cat pokes a hole in your favorite sweater – they’re channeling their emotions from their most innocent memories.
Another form of affectionate communication, cat love bites can seem aggressive but are usually just a sign of excitement and love. Their natural instincts tell them to give you little nips when they’re feeling especially close to you.
It may occur when they’re headbutting and rubbing you, other times it might occur during play time. Sometimes biting can mean something different. If the biting becomes aggressive or happens when your cat isn’t overstimulated, be sure to contact your vet to see if there’s a deeper problem.
The gifts you get from your cat might not always be something handpicked from your wishlist. For the most part, we love getting deliveries on our doorstep, but if you have an outdoor cat, you can expect to receive the occasional dead bird or mouse instead. Or even worse, if your cat is used to coming in doors, they might even set a half-dead creature free in your home.
This is a sign of affection, because it exhibits the relationship between parent and child in cats. Your cat will bring you dead animals, not because they don’t like the food you’re feeding them, but instead as a way to please you, keep you alive, and bring out your inner predator.
Sometimes our cats are curious to see what we’re doing. Other times they’re expecting a meal. All in all our cats generally just like to be in the same room as us. If you work a regular forty hour per week schedule, you may not be home as often as your cat would prefer. Following you around your home is a sign that they value their time with you and look forward to your arrival every day.
However, sometimes this is a sign of separation anxiety. If your cat meows when you’re in separate rooms or if you’ve just returned from a long trip and noticed them sticking to your side, you may want to talk to your vet about ways to help them with their anxiety. This will help you both find peace.
There is nothing more telling of your cat’s current mood than their tail. Depending on where they place it and how they move it will give you a peek into what they’re thinking in any given moment.
Have you ever seen your cat’s tail gyrate when you enter a room? This is a sign of excitement and love, they know something good is coming. They’re just so happy to see you.
Have you ever been snuggling with your cat and they’ve began to lick or pick at your hair with their teeth? This is another way that parent cats show affection to their kittens – through cleaning and marking.
When your cat licks you, they are claiming you as another member of their family. It gives both them and you a sense of comfort, belonging and shows how loved you are in their eyes.
Although a cat’s way of showing affection is quite different from humans, with continued attention, understanding, and open conversation with your veterinarian, you can learn to accept and appreciate your cat’s consistent and unconditional love for you each and every day.
About the Author:
Jayson is a writer from Phoenix, Arizona who loves pets! He is a proud owner of a beautiful kitty and wants to share the joy of pet ownership with others. He hopes to encourage people to keep their pets happy and healthy year-round.