How Cats Show Affection


Dogs wag tails, drool on your hands, run to greet you, and bark. Cats don’t exhibit these signs to show you they love you. How do you know kitty trusts and loves you? Cats show affection but in ways a bit more subtle.

Eye blinks: When a cat meets a stranger for the first time, they may give them an unblinking stare. They are wary. Cats that feel trust and affection for a human often blink at them. This is a positive sign. While it is not exactly the “wink” that humans use to express affection, it is a gesture of trust and acceptance. So if your cat presents you with half-closed eyes, and blinks at you, you have received a kitty “kiss”.

Grooming: Kitty trusts you and feels cat affection for you when he allows you to groom him. Cats use grooming as a stress-reliever and a way to build mutual bonds. Cats often lick or groom each other. If your cat offers to groom you, you have actually been accepted as part of his feline “family.” You should use a brush to return the favor, not your tongue.

Head Rubbing: When a cat rubs her face on a human, she is using scent glands on her cheeks to mark her territory. This can mean affection, and that she is claiming the human as her “property.” Cats rub their faces on a wide variety of objects around the house, so it is fun to see which possessions are favorites. Head “butting” is yet another common display of loving.

Belly Display: This sign of cat affection is one of the most profound acts of trust a cat can bestow on a human. This vulnerable act is one that needs to be truly appreciated and respected. However, it is not necessarily an invitation for a belly rub, so approach a cat in this position very cautiously.

Kneading: A cat kneading against your body is an act of sheer contentment, trust and true adoration. Often this is accompanied by drooling, which is the ultimate display of pleasure. This behavior originates when cats are newly born kittens, and helps stimulate milk flow from their mother. Highly regressive and instinctual, when your cat kneads you it is a supreme expression of delight and love.

Purring: Cats often purr when content and near their owner or someone they trust. Sometimes, however, a scared cat will purr. If you are unsure of a purring cat’s motivation, don’t rush to pick him up or pet him. If kitty truly wants to tell you he loves you by purring, he will come to you and snuggle close, or perhaps on top of you or whatever you are doing.

If your cat displays some unusual or persistently odd behaviors to show love, ask your veterinarian about it. These behaviors could be signs of something else, or you may just have an unusually loving cat.