When you own a dog, you pretty much know exactly how they’re feeling at all times—it’s written all over their faces, and it’s part of what makes the human-dog bond so incredibly strong. But then, there’s your cat. What do they think of you? While the emotions of a cat can be mysterious and fickle, here are 12 things cats do to show they really do love their owners.
1. Bringing You Gifts
It’s the thing every owner of an outdoor cat hates, but endures anyway—that moment when your feline companion brings some tiny animal into your home, sometimes alive, and sometimes…not. As natural hunters, cats like to show the love by showing what they can offer you. Sometimes that’s a steady supply of small terrified creatures that you then have to shoo out of the house or dispose of. And sometimes, for indoor cat owners, that means always checking your shoes to make sure your cat hasn’t left you a dead bug in there.
2. Showing Their Bellies
Like most animals, cats aren’t going to show their vulnerable underside to just anyone. Cats only roll over and let you rub that soft belly when they’re feeling especially loved and protected. Or, they’re just tempting you into a rousing game of bear trap. Pet with caution!
3. Head Butting
The gesture is one part love, one part claiming territory. Cats like to bump and rub their heads and faces on anything they want to claim as their own—so they can deposit their facial pheromones on the object of their desire, and that includes you!
4. Nibbling On You…Lovingly?
Yes, play biting is also a sign of affection for your cat. If you’re cat gently nibbles on you, it’s a sign they’re feeling playful and affectionate. If their biting actually hurts…well, those aren’t love bites. Your cat may be trying to kill you.
5. Following You Around
Cats generally like to linger where ever their owners happen to be. If your cat is constantly underfoot and usually poses a major tripping hazard, it’s just because they love you so much. Sometimes in these moments, we’d rather they love us from afar—usually right after a tail gets stepped on.
6. Kneading You
If your cat often sits beside you and slowly drifts into a trance-like state as they knead or “make bread” on you, that’s another sign that your feline companion loves you. It’s a love that sometimes hurts, if you don’t have a nice blanket barrier between you, or their claws haven’t been trimmed in a while.
7. Tail Twitching (But Not Too Much!)
One look at a cat’s tail can give you valuable insight about their mood. A tail that’s twitching at the very very end means your cat is pretty pleased right now. Just watch out—if that tail starts twitching a whole lot, your cat might be feeling more feisty than friendly.
8. Purring (Duh!)
We all know this one, right? Purring is a strange and mysterious noise that has fascinated people for a while now. A cat’s purr is usually their default response to feeling happy, in the same way that humans smile and dogs wag their tails.
9. Napping On You
There’s a standing rule in our house that if the cat is sleeping on you, you may not get up until they leave. Cats gain a lot of comfort by resting in contact with their loved ones, be they other cats or people. So do them a favor, and let them sleep on you a while.
10. Blinking Slowly
Cats only make direct eye contact with those they’ve developed a great sense of trust with. If your cat locks eyes with you, and slowly blinks once you meet their gaze, that’s their version of giving you a kiss.
11. Grooming You
Some cats are more the mothering, doting type, in that they prefer showing their love by treating you like the dumb, hairless cat they think you are. This includes doing things for you—hunting for example, and grooming for another—to show their affection.
12. Greeting You When You Get Home
That’s right! Some breeds of cat can be as affectionate and loyal as your average dog, and greet their owners at the door when they come home. Our Maine Coon, Cooper, is one such cat—he’s usually running right alongside Topher to greet Bryan when he comes home from work. That, or he’s waiting in their usual cuddle spot, ready for attention and petting.
How does your cat show their love?