Not sure if your cat loves you? Humans often misinterpret expressions of love from cats. Cats are very unique animals – they have a language all their own. Learning about what means love in a cat’s life can help you to understand the bond you have with your kitty!
Spreading the Scent of Love
Cats are very territorial creatures. In their world territory (including both a physical area and important items within the area) must be claimed and clearly marked. Most of the time territory is marked with a scent, whether it be pheromones or urine.
One of the most important expressions of love you can receive from a cat is to be added to the list of things they consider to be their “territory.” When they mark you, they are saying “this one is mine.” Some of the ways they could mark you include:
- Rubbing their cheeks on you.
- Rubbing their hips on you.
- Scratching you or your furniture (which probably has a lot of your scent on it).
- Spraying urine on you or your belongings (very often this is misinterpreted as being some act of revenge).
If you receive one of these gestures, know that you are loved!
Expressions of Love Through Vulnerability
Being vulnerable isn’t easy. It is especially difficult for cats! They tend to think more like a wild animal than a domestic one, even if they have been a house cat all their lives. In their minds, being vulnerable could be a life-threatening situation. If a cat does anything that makes them vulnerable around you, it shows a deep sense of trust. They truly believe that you will not harm them. What an honor! A few expressions of love through vulnerability are:
- Exposing their belly to you.
- Rolls around on the ground in front of you.
- Closing their eyes around you.
- Sleeping on you or near you.
Remembering the Comfort of Mommy
Who can give more comfort than mom? There are few expressions of love that stem right back to the very first days of a cat’s life. When a newborn kitten wants interaction with mom they begin to purr. To stimulate milk production from their mother, cats will knead her belly with their paws. When cats continue these behaviors as adults, the behaviors continue to be a sign of comfort and happiness. Purring in your arms or kneading with their paws on you shows that you give them the same kind of comfort that mommy used to bring.
Note: There are other reasons that a cat might purr. It can also be a sign that the cat is trying to comfort him/herself after a trauma. However, there’s a good chance that a cat that jumps into your lap and begins purring is quite happy to see you.
Other Feline Expressions of Love
Sometimes the greatest expressions of love from a cat are those that show that they think of you like they think of other cats in their social group. There are certain behaviors that cats only perform with other cats that are closely bonded to them. You can consider yourself a part of the kitty family if your cat:
- Grooms/licks you.
- Gives you head bonks.
- Offers you their butt.
- Chooses you as a play partner.
- Brings you a gift.
- Winds their tail around you.
- Interacts with you with their tail in the air with a slight bend at the top.
- Blinks at you slowly.
Cat meows can be expressions of love too. As adults, cats really don’t use meows to communicate with one another. This is a behavior that they have picked up to talk to the humans in their life. The more you talk to them, the more they will talk to you!