We’ve all heard the comments: cats are aloof. Cats don’t show affection. Cats don’t love you the way dogs do. Well, one of those statements is true: cats don’t show love the way dogs do. That’s because cats are a different species, and they have their own unique way of communicating. But if you ever wondered “does my cat love me?” you’ll be glad to know there are sure signs you can look for.
In fact, cats show great affection in their own, cat-like way (and they’re proven to make us happier when they do it!) Sometimes it’s hard for humans to recognize the ways cats show affection, but once you learn how to read a cat’s love language, you’ll be saying “I love you too” every time they bring you a dead mouse. Read on for the eight signs that your cat really, truly loves you.
Cats purr when they’re deeply relaxed and content. But they also purr to self-soothe, or as a reaction to fear or pain. So how can you tell if your cat’s purr is a sign of love? Consider the context.
If your kitty rubs up against you and rumbles in the morning, or makes biscuits while purring loudly in your lap, it’s a sign of their deep attachment and comfort. For many cats, purring is synonymous with “I love you.”
Have you ever heard that a good way to show a cat you’re trustworthy is to slowly blink in their direction? It’s not just a way to look silly! Slow blinks are one of the clearest ways a cat demonstrates affection.
For cats, closing their eyes in the presence of another animal or human is a huge sign of trust. After all, anything can happen when their eyes are closed! When your cat gazes at you and blinks slowly, or closes their eyes when you pet them, they’re telling you they trust you completely. And trust is a fundamental aspect of love.
Showing the Belly
Speaking of trust, does your cat frequently roll over and show you their belly? That’s a major indication that they’re relaxed and happy in your presence. Your cat’s soft, fuzzy tummy is one of its most vulnerable spots. When they invite you to give them a belly rub, they’re showing you how much they care.
Of course, some cats like to show their bellies, but not have their bellies petted. You know your cat best. If they like a belly rub, go to town. If the claws come out when you touch their tummy, simply appreciate it from afar.
Confession: my cat licks my eyebrows in the morning. It’s weird, but I take it as a feline sign of affection. After all, cats groom the ones they love!
Kitty licks are a way of mingling their scent with yours, which sounds kind of gross—but is a compliment. Scent-sharing builds community among cats, and helps them relax and feel at home. If your cat is an affectionate licker, take it as a sign that they share your love.
Head Bumps and Cheek Rubs
Turns out, scent is super-important to cats. In fact, they communicate with pheromones. When your cat “boops” you with her forehead, she’s not just being cute; she’s depositing pheromones from scent glands on her head. These head butts, also called “bunting,” are a way of marking you as safe.
Cheek rubs are another form of bunting. Cats have additional scent glands on the sides of their mouth, and they deposit pheromones by rubbing their cheeks against things. You may have heard this referred to as a cat “marking their territory,” but according to a vet interviewed for Vetstreet, it’s more nuanced than that.
When your cat “marks” you, they’re showing how much they trust you. And they may also be picking up your scent because it makes them feel safe. Scent-sharing is a major sign of cat love!
Biscuits and Love Bites
These two cat versions of “I love you” go hand in hand…or should I say paw in paw? Kneading, or making biscuits, is a sign that your kitty is in love. Kittens knead while nursing, and the behavior transfers to adulthood as a sign of deep contentment.
Similarly, when cats dole out gentle nibbles, it’s a playful sign of affection. Of course, both biscuits and love bites have the capacity to leave marks! Keep your cat’s nails trimmed, and learn to tell the difference between play nibbles and more dangerous bites.
Bringing You “Gifts”
Has your cat ever deposited a freshly-killed mouse to your door? Or maybe they constantly pile up their toys in your shoes? Cats are natural hunters, and they only share their prey with someone they trust. So if your cat brings you a “present,” think of it as a sign of love. After all, they’re sharing their hard-won prize with you and only you!
Sometimes, the simplest way to say “I love you” is companionship. Some cats aren’t very demonstrative with their affection, but they still like to spend time in the same room as you.
If your cat likes to hang out but not be touched much, or won’t snuggle but loves to play fetch, take their companionship as confirmation that they love you.