If you are not aware of the ways in which cats show love, your feline could often seem inscrutable. Cats have a tendency to behave with confidence and aloofness, and can appear to run an entire household of humans and other animals with its strong preferences and staunch habits. How cats show love can seem trifling to many pet owners, but cat lovers know that the smallest gesture is a sign of the greatest affection.
So How Cats Show Love?
When cats show affection, it is because they trust you with their affection. That is possibly the greatest compliment a successful pet owner can get, since cats display fewer emotional needs than other domesticated animals. They also do not clamor for human approval, as dogs tend to do.This does not mean that owning a cat is undemanding- quite the contrary. Cats can be unpredictable, behaviorally speaking, and are thrown off kilter into disobedience and restlessness over situations we often don’t fully notice or understand. Understanding how cats show love can help you reciprocate, and maintain a solid, stable, and loving friendship with your cat.
The slow blink
One of the most subtle and common way cats show love is through the slow blink. If you and your cat are making eye contact, and the cat blinks, pauses, and blinks again, they’re communicating affection. Their eyes may also be slightly more squinted than usual while doing this. This sign of content, happy relaxation can actually work human-to-human, too. While not strictly the same as batting the eyelashes, blinking slowly, pausing, and following with another blink can communicate ease, and indicate that you are engaged in a fond, tensionless interaction.
If your cat has the opportunity to hunt, but better yet, wants you to share in their prize, they are showing you love. If your cat has paraded a baby chipmunk in their jaws around in front of you, or left a mouse on the doormat, shower them with praise and not disgust. Cats are carnivores by nature- meat is essential to their survival. As humans, we get to decide what we eat, what activities we partake in, and how we generally live our lives. Domesticated animals strike a balance between their nature, and what we ask of them. Because cats consider their human family their only family, it is natural that they would want to show you how and what they hunt, especially if they are aware that you are not likely to produce any dead squirrels of your own.
Simple contact and tail action
One casual and lighthearted way cats show love is through simple contact and tail action. Your cat may weave its body between your feet, swish its tail about your knees, or simply lean against you. Again, this communicates an easy, relaxed feeling that indicates that the cat regards you as its family, and loves you. It’s appropriate and encouraging to acknowledge the show of love by reaching down to scratch or pat the cat in its’ favorite spot- reciprocation is usually welcomed.
The most popular display of how cats show love is through purring, with or without the notorious bread-making motion cats make on your body with their paws. Kind of like the kneading is a pleasant and comforting bit of a cats’ behavioral instinct practiced at birth while nursing on their mothers, purring is also part of the cats’ behavioral lexicon utilized after departing the womb as a kitten. It is part of enforcing the bond between yourself and your cat, so try not to shy away- unless their claws are digging into your skin! Cats in the deepest throes of familial affection can forget that they are not tiny, benevolent little kittens that are unlikely to hurt their parents. Your relationship just makes them feel so young, and don’t we all feel happiest and most at ease when we are transported back to the careless innocence of childhood?
What really anger us that can be interpreted as cat love
Some behaviors that can be interpreted as cat love can really anger us. Spraying and scratching up furniture are the two best examples of this. This is distantly related to why cats may prefer you rub the sides of their face- scent. Marking territory is a way of proclaiming to other animals that they have ownership over you, and is, despite the headache, how cats can show love. A commonplace joke amongst cat owners goes something like, “my cat owns one human pet”, and it isn’t too far off the mark. Spraying can be drastically reduced by having your cat spayed or neutered. Spaying and neutering is not exorbitantly expensive, helps to control the feral and homeless cat populace, and helps your cat live longer by preventing disease. In this day and age, there is no excuse for not having your pet appropriately spayed or neutered. Scratching, on the other hand, requires more patience. Scratching posts will help ease the burden whilst helping kitty sharpen her claws, but for the sake of your pricier furniture, you may want to cover all exposed wood with sandpaper or tape to discourage the cat from scratching there.
The easiest sign to read is the amount of time your cat spends with you at home. Cats show love by participating in your life, even if that means just laying nearby in a room of your choosing. They could be making it a bit obvious, asserting themselves by draping their body across your keyboard, but it indicates that they prefer hanging out with you to being alone, a sure sign of how much your cat loves you. To have a cat show love to you, a human, can be the most affirming aspect of being a pet owner. It means you have earned your place in the heart of an independent-minded, sentient being that has the confidence and skills to seek out other options, but has found contentment right at the home you picked for them. Show your cat the affection you feel for them, accept the love they offer you, and feel good knowing that you have provided them the environment that they feel most secure inhabiting.