How Cats Show Affection

Oh yes, right there behind the ear.

We all know that cats are different from dogs. The way they behave and even the way they show affection towards their owners. Dogs want to please their owners, and cats show their love when they want. Then how do cats show affection? With body language!

Sleeping
Cats are real sleeping champions and they can sleep up to 16 hours a day! When they are asleep they are the most vulnerable, and the place where she sleeps must be save and secure. What bigger compliment do you want when your cat chooses your lap to sleep on?

Slow Blinking
Have you never noticed your cat slow blinking? When cats meet strangers or other cats, they usually greet them with a long unblinking stare. Slow eye blinking which is often called “Kitty Kisses“, are a sign of affection. You could make a little game of this by slowly blinking back at your cat and see how long the exchanging of kitty kisses can last.

Grooming
Cats groom not only because of hygiene. Cats groom each other both to relieve stress and as a bonding mechanism. If your cat grooms you, it’s a sign that he accepts you as part of her feline “family“. It can also be a way of claiming “ownership” of you. And even nibbling or sucking or your clothes, or licking your face is a sign of affection. And this way she marks you as an important member of the family. What more do you want?

Purring
Purring can mean many things, from delight to expressions of concern. If your cat is purring when she’s around you, you can be sure she’s expressing her love for you. Or she just likes to be scratched behind the ear.

Head Rubbing and Butting
If your cat rubs her face on you, she is “marking” you as her property. There are glands on her face that hide pheromones to mark her territory as well as signal comfort and familiarity. Each cat’s pheromone signature is unique, just as our fingerprints are. When she leaves behind this ‘signature’, she saying you are hers. And basically, you are hers.

Following
If your cat follows you from room to room and is wherever you are, it’s a sign that she’s interested in you and wants to be where you are. Some cats who otherwise don’t show affection can still show their love just by “being there/with for you.” So when she’s sleeping in the room you are in as well, this might mean she likes to be around you and feels save with you.

Gifts
As nasty as it is to find a dead mouse or bird in front of your door,  do not yell or scold her when you find it. She gave you a gift and she hopes you will be pleased with the offering. If you don’t want to find dead rodents or birds near your door anymore, the best way is to keep her indoor.

Meowing
Do you talk with the ones you don’t like? Exactly! Cats rarely meow to other cats, and they usually meow to interact with their human. Even when she’s annoying you by meowing continuously, she’s doing it out of love.

Kneading
This gesture came from when your cat was a kitten, when your cat kneaded her mother to stimulate milk flow. later in life, kneading means pleasure and adoration especially in combination with drooling. This is one of the greatest expressions of love that your cat can show to you.

Excitement
The chance is big you probably haven’t seen this, but your roommate or significant other might. Most cats who are close with their owners will become excited when they hear your car in the driveway, or when you make sounds with your keys when you’re about to open the door. If they run to the door when you come through it, they’ve missed you and are glad that you’ve returned home safely. In fact, my cats behave the same way when my boyfriend is coming back home from work. When I see both cats running towards the door with their tails up, I know he will be walking through the door within a few minutes.

Showing Off Their Belly
When your cat rolls over and shows her belly to you, she is tell you that she trusts you and loves you. Showing off her belly exposes her vulnerability and she’s comfortable enough with you to let down her guard. But beware, it isn’t always a sign that she wants to be pet on her belly when she shows it to you. Some cats don’t like to be pet there.

Tail Position
Many cats put their tail up high in a questioning mark shape when they greet someone they like. A tail high up in the full upright position also means familiarity, trust and affection. If you want to know more about their tails, have a look right here.

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17 responses to “How Cats Show Affection

  1. I didn’t know about the “kisses”! I mean I saw it many times and figured out by myself what it means but I never thought it’s a part of a common kitty language. So cool!

    • I saw it on TV during “My Cat From Hell”, when he was slow blinking back towards the cat that was really scared, and it helped! And I was like “Woah, that is awesome!”

  2. I used to love it when Baby brought home gifts! As much as you can love a dead animal on your doorstep first thing in the morning, anyways. I appreciated the gesture, and felt kind of sad that bringing him inside for good meant no more presents.

  3. i was wondering if anyone on here knows if a cat cups your finder with her paw then lays her head on you is that a sign of affection? I’ve been looking and no one has said anything about that. My cat is three months old i rescued her just a couple of weeks ago and sometimes its the only way she will sleep.

    • Hi Amanda, Welcome to Cats & Co!
      That’s some strange ‘behavior’ your kitten does. I never heard about that before! Doesn’t sound like kitten behavior either. So I’m actually kind of curious in what kind of envirioment your cat was before you rescued him. Does she cup your finger with all four paws, or just her front? Does she do it out of no where, or when you’re playing with her or something? Does she bite your finger or not?

      On the other hand you say it’s the only way she will fall asleep. Which means she falls asleep in your arms or whatever. Most cats don’t like their paws being touched. I think that when the cat does that it wants to know you’ll be there for it and protect it. It’s a huge sign of love and trust.

      I’m still thinking (or re-thinking) about it! If I figure out something I’ll let you know, Amanda! :)

      I hope I was able to help you out!

      xx Dianda

  4. you did help me out a lot and thank you for the welcome this site has been the most helpful one I’ve found she was abandoned we think when i found her she had scabs under her chin a hemotoma in each ear one is so bad it took up the whole ear the other is just the tip of it. she only does this when my husband isnt home she’ll play fight with me then get tired and cup her front paw around my finger the other paw goes underneath my hand kind of like she holding my hand then lays her head on it and falls asleep shell do this if shes laying beside me. i was just curious because i help my mom when i was younger raise 5 kittens and none of them ever did this. The only thing they did was the kneeding and sucking on your arm or groom you.Harley Quinn was extremely malnourished when i found her with worms and ear mites causing the hemotomas from scratching) I’ve had her for about a month and shes become my baby as well as fat and happy another stange thing is shes ok with my touching her paws and ears when I’ve known other cats to cry and try to run away she puts up with the feet but is afraid that shell get more ear drops when i touch her ears

    • She’s young, and young kittens are much easy adaptable than older cats. I’m sure that if you give her some more time she’ll be okay with the eardrops. Besides, she’s extremely lucky to have you!

      Most cats I know, don’t like their paws being touched. My cat suki for example doesn’t like it. And I that in your case she might even think you are her mother. :) And she loves you, and trusts you! Some of the people who I see on my blog talk about their cats who also touch their hands with their paws before falling asleep for example. :)

      I hope she’s going to be a healthy and happy kitten! You’re planning on keeping her?

      If you have more questions in the future, feel free to ask, Amanda! :)

      • iI’m laid off right now and my husband works but i couldn’t give her up for anything in the world shes become my baby and i really don’t deny her anything lol shes at the weight that shes suppose to be and doesn’t have worms or ear mites anymore and when shes old enough im getting her spayed. thank you Dianda for everything you really help me out a lot i’m very grateful and being a new kitten mom by myself i might have to ask questions so thank you

      • Sounds like you’ll be a very good ‘mother’ to her, and you at least seem to know what you’re doing. So Kudo’s to you!

        You’re always welcome to ask more questions Amanda! :)

        I’m sure your little kitty will be just fine. ;)

  5. Pingback: Do Cats Communicate Through Meowing? « Cats & Co·

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