10 Ways Your Cat Says "I Love You"

Cats have an unfounded reputation as disloyal, perfidious creatures who live alongside us simply because a bowl of food turns up fairly regularly.  They are reputed to be standoffish, overly independent and difficult to understand.  Recent research has suggested that cats have a long-term memory of at least a decade, and animal behaviourists are gaining new understanding of their actions all the time.  The truth is cats are independent creatures with their own thoughts and opinions on what is and isn't acceptable; we humans just have to put up with it!  But do they actually love us?  Well, if you think your cat doesn't care, think again.


When kittens are born they cannot see and use the sound of their mother's purrs to guide them to her.  When a cat purrs it is usually* a sign of contentment and security.  If your cat is relaxed and happy around you she will purr her happiness.  (*Purring will also lower her heart rate, so if distressed she may purr to soothe herself, for example at the vet's.)

Bringing You Presents

Cats love to keep their nest clean and tidy, so when they bring you that dead (or alive!) bird or mouse, they aren't making a mess they are bringing you a gift.  Presenting you with the offering shows that he feels safe and secure in your home, and wants to contribute to feeding everyone by bringing you some tasty fresh food.

Rolling Around

Dropping to the floor and rolling around, or jumping up on your bed/sofa/lap and doing the same is her way of getting your attention and affection.  Whether she likes her tummy being rubbed or not, showing her vulnerable stomach voluntarily is something a cat only does with those she truly loves and trusts.

Sleeping on You

Another habit reserved for those she trusts most in the world, sleeping on you is a high honour indeed.  Cats are at their most vulnerable when they are asleep, so will only choose safe and secure places to nap.  If he chooses to snooze on your lap, you are certainly well-loved and trusted by this cat.

Grooming You

It may be tough with that raspy tongue, but licking and grooming you is one way a cat can show you she loves and cares for you.  Mother cats groom their kittens from the moment they're born, so being licked was your cat's first experience of being cared for.  Grooming is a demonstration of love and caring, and sibling cats, and even non-related cats who live together, will often groom one another.  Extending this to you is his way of telling you he loves you.

Rubbing Her Gums Against You

Cats have scent glands on their lips and will often use their mouth and gums to mark things as 'theirs'.  They will also extend this to 'their' human, claiming you as her own and showing her love for you.  Cats also scent people and each other to create a unique 'pride smell' which your home gang of cats and humans will share.

Rubbing Against You

Head butts and rubbing against each other is how cats show affection, so if your cat rubs against your leg, arm, face or head, or butts you, he is putting his scent on you to mark you as his own, as above.  Let your cat head butt you and rub against you to cement your relationship and increase your bond.

Love Bites

Often misunderstood, biting you really is a sign of affection.  Kittens nip each other and their mother affectionately and, as their skin is thicker than ours, it usually doesn't hurt.  Unfortunately, this particular display of affection can often be painful for us, especially if she nips at your nose or fingers.  A cat that bites your arm after petting her is also showing affection, and doesn't understand why her love bite isn't always pleasant for you.  If you'd rather not be bitten, either move out of the way, direct to another body part, or hiss as her mother would have done to show that kitty is getting too rough, but try not to push her away or love may wane!

Pretending to Mark You or Your Things

In-tact male cats spray urine to mark their territory, so this form of scenting or marking you as his own may also be directed at you or your things, such as a handbag.  If he backs up with a quivering tail, he is pretending to mark you, but won't actually produce a spray of urine.  Cats may also show their love by urinating in your bed, this is definitely not a sign of aggression or defiance so try to treat it with good grace!

Blinking Slowly at You

Many cat owners will recognise the slow blink when a cat is calm and relaxed, often before sleep.  The sign of kitty love most easy for us humans to understand, this cat kiss is a beautiful and treasured moment.  She will stare at you, then blink before opening her eyes wide and then blinking again slowly.  You can even initiate this one and your cat will respond.

So there you have it, ten ways your stand-offish, selfish feline tells you he loves you.  It may be different, but increasingly research shows that animals love just the same way we do.  We just need to read the signs.

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