How do Cats Show Affection?

Holding a new pet - a little kitten

The idea that cats don't show affection is simply not true. Sure, they may not always exhibit their feelings in the all-out exuberance of their canine counterparts, but it's there; you just have to pay attention. Let's take a journey through all the ways your feline friend is saying "I love you."

1. The Eyes of Affection

Have you ever noticed when your cat is relaxed that she may look at you with half-closed eyes followed by a slow blink? As weird as this may sound, this is actually one way a cat will communicate love, trust and affection to their pet parent. Experts call these "cat kisses" and the best part is, you can reciprocate the action. This give-and-take eye-affections not only conveys your feelings towards your cat, but it helps build a stronger bond between you and your best furry pal.

2. The Tail Tells a Tale

Cats may not wag their tails in happiness and devotion, but they certainly do tell a tale of affection. Some love-signals can be as simple as your kitty wrapping her tail around your leg or placing it on your body as she lies next to you. Another tell-tail sign is the "happy tail dance." This is when her tail is held in an upright position and slightly fluffed out at the base, with a cane-like crook at the end. You may even see her tail quiver slightly; this is super-love!

3. Cheeky Cat

You may have experienced the endearing cheek rub from your cat. This affectionate brush along your face is a not only a wonderful show of love on your cat's behalf, but it is conveying a strong message that you are its possession. According to Cat Behavior Associates, all felines have scent glands in their faces that release pheromones. Your cat uses its scent glands to mark you as a trusted and beloved member of its family.

4. Head Bunting Means Love

I have a cat that loves to bunt my head with his, the only problem is he is very strong and this action usually causes me pain...sometimes love hurts. However, despite my aching noggin (and shins) I do appreciate the sentiment behind the bunt. Once again this action can be attributed back to those scent glands and your kitty's need to claim ownership of you.

5. Talking the Talk of Love

Any devoted pet parent can usually distinguish the meaning behind the certain vocalizations their cat emits (mine has a very specific "FEED ME" voice). But these chirps, chirrs, mews, soft meows and purrs are all good indications that your cat feels happy, safe, relaxed and very much in love with you. When accompanied by the happy tail dance or kitty kisses, you can be sure you are number one on Kitty's love-list.

6. Kitty Social Grooming

If you have more than one cat in your family, then you most likely have noticed them grooming each other. This is a time of bonding and shared enjoyment between two or more cats. However, this behavior can also be transferred to you. When your cat licks your hair or face, it is indeed showing trust and love. Unfortunately, they most often will wait for you to reciprocate the sentiment.

Gotta Love the Love

Felines are special pets that have won the hearts of millions of pet parents around the world. We love their subtle ways of showing affection even though it may not be as often as we'd like. However, we cat-folks always deem ourselves truly blessed when our beloved feline gives us a soft face rub, a warm wrapping of the tail and, yes, even an affectionate, albeit painful head bunt. These actions are what stands the cat purrfectly apart from the rest of the animal kingdom.

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