Cats are both the most popular pet in America and quite the internet sensation. Crazy cat ladies are now cool, something people take as a complement and not an insult. Still, cats are very misunderstood.
The number of people who have come into my house (proud owner of three wonderful cats) and asked me how I can tell them apart because don’t they all act the same?
Or are surprised that there are actual breeds of cats and want to know what the point of having a cat is if they just sit there, is ridiculous.
I have personally converted several haters into lovers because my fur babies, Tinkerbell (the princess), Branson (the love bug), and Louie (trouble), have won hearts over.
As a lifetime member of the crazy cat lady club, you can tell who we are because there is ALWAYS cat hair on us no matter how many times we lint roll, I am here to translate what your cat’s actions really mean and how to tell if they love you.
Unlike dogs, cats do not outwardly show their affection or love to every single person, object, or animal they meet.
I mean I have seen my dog get excited over a leaf before and pretend like her and the leaf was her best friend. That is not how cats roll. You have to earn their love and affection and even then, they can still hold grudges.
But, if you earn their love, you will be their person for life. Branson, he is my baby. He sleeps in my arms, helps me work by sitting on my lap and hitting keys on my laptop, and would love nothing more than for me to carry him around like a child.
Cats can be introverts, extroverts, shy, outgoing, loud, quiet, active, lazy or a whole slew of other things. Each cat has their own personality so your cat may show love in different ways, but here are some telltale signs that your cat loves you.
They Come By You
sometimes it is as simple as that. Cats are extremely smart, and just like you probably avoid people you don’t like, cats won’t necessarily waste their time if they don’t like you.
All cats are different, so some cats are willing to get pets from just anyone, but having a cat acknowledge your existence is a pretty good first step.
Beware though, cats also do not like being ignored and seem to have a sixth sense for seeking out people who are ignoring them.
If you are one of these people, the cat’s attention is probably more of demand than love.
Your cat may even follow you around or weave in and out of your feet as you walk. Louie’s favorite is rubbing up against me as I am walking up or down stairs with things in my hand.
Cats tend to preserve their energy so if they are following you around it is a pretty big deal. Small acts like that, waiting for you at the door when you get home, sleeping on your legs, and just being by you are definite signs that your kitty is one smitten kitten.
This is one of the more obvious and common signs of love, but needs to be mentioned. Purring is one of the ways cats show affection.
If you have a cat, you may know that they can actually change their purr, from soft to loud and from gentle to guttural.
As you build a relationship with your cat, you will learn what each of the purrs means to them, but rest assured, any purring means love.
My cat Louie is VERY vocal with his purring. When I am having a bad anxiety or depression day, his purr gets so deep he is vibrating in my arms and it sounds like a car engine is starting; that is his way of showing concern.
When he is snuggling on my lap and I am reading, it tends to be a softer more consistent purr which is his way of showing that he is extremely content and relaxed.
On the other hand, Branson’s purr does not vary that much, but he is not as willing to purr at just anything like Louie is.
So when Branson starts purring, you know he is really in love. Every cat purrs differently so paying attention to what it sounds like or how it changes can really clue you in to what your cat is feeling.
I am sure there is a technical word for this, but head ‘boops’ is what I love calling it.
Cats have scent glands in their foreheads so when they rub their faces on you (or ‘boop’ you as I like to call it), they are secreting their scent onto you and in a weird way marking you.
Now this isn’t quite the same as how dogs mark, it is not as much a territory thing as a show of affection.
If you have ever observed a mom cat with her babies, she does a similar thing, rubbing her face on her kittens.
Cats head nudge as a way of showing that you are a part of their family. Many cats will head ‘boop’ your face, making it even more personal.
I see head rubbing almost like a human equivalent of a bear hug. Head nudging or rubbing is one of the most genuine forms of love that cats give.
Showing You Their Tummy
Cats wanting belly rubs and showing you their belly is one of the things they do have in common with dogs.
Showing you their underside is a huge show of trust. It is a vulnerable area as it exposes their stomach and neck.
When a cat rolls over it means they trust you and that they feel protected and safe.
If you have a shy or anxious cat, they may not be as willing to show their belly to the world, this does not mean they do not love you, they are just not comfortable showing their love in that way.
Yup. The infamous biting and nipping is a sign of love. And cats tend not to be gentle with them.
Branson goes for the nose, and one time he got me so hard I swear it could have counted as a nose piercing.
Most cats will nip at fingers or wrists and usually while you are still petting them.
Just know this slightly painful act is one of deep love from your kitty so don’t punish them for doing so.
Imagine if you went up to your significant other or even a family member or friend and gave them a kiss on the cheek or hug and they pushed you away and said NO DON’T DO THAT.
It would suck and similar to us, cats remember their feelings and similar to at least one friend you have, they can hold grudges WAY longer than seems necessary. So, encourage the love your kitty gives you.
If you do not like the nipping, then try to distract them, maybe get a toy or treat.
Kneading is the way your cat gives you love back. The harder they dig, the more in love and happy they are.
This seems a bit backwards, but they do not realize it might hurt. Similar to the nipping, do not punish or discourage this behavior as it is an act of love and trust.
Cats are awesome pets and connect with their owners on very deep levels, understanding even the slightest change in physical and mental health.
They can be extremely affectionate. One day when I was sick, Louie (Trouble), traded his favorite afternoon pastime, knocking things off flat areas and unrolling toilet paper, to curl up on my chest and take a nap. This awareness is key to your relationship with your cat.
Cat love is not only good for your relationship with your cat, but also for your health.
Studies are starting to show that cat purring can reduce anxiety and depression and even help with insomnia and sleeping disorders.
These studies support something you probably already feel with your cat; that they reciprocate the same sense of love and safety you give them.
I would not trade my fur babies for the world and even though sometimes their ways of showing love is a little weird and even painful, it melts my heart every time it happens.
Once you learn your cats’ mannerisms, it will become very apparent just how much they love you.
Now that I have written an entire article on cat love, I think I am going to go snuggle with my kitties for the rest of the afternoon!