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How Do Cats Show Affection To Humans? Does My Cat Love Me?

cats show affection

How Do Cats Show Affection To Humans? Does My Cat Love Me?


This post was updated on December 29th, 2023

Having shared my life with feline companions like Abigail, who dashed eagerly to greet me at the door, and now with Finnegan, who takes a more composed approach, I’ve learned that cats express their love in a myriad of subtle yet powerful ways. Your feline friend might not rush to you immediately or might seem aloof when you attempt to shower them with affection. These enigmatic creatures have their unique ways of displaying affection. This blog post aims to uncover the myriad cat behavior ways our felines show their love and affection, ensuring you recognize these gestures of adoration!

While some cats seem to only show affection once in a blue moon, they often have distinct ways to show it during our average day.

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Since they are not too heavy on showing affection, signs of love and care often go unseen by us. But what they are doing, is showing us love in subtle and implicit ways. 

Those random head bumps, the brushing against your leg, and slow blinks are not coincidental, but full-blown signs of cats showing you their peak affection and attention. 

Let’s look at the signs to lookout for, that confirm your cat showing its affection for you. 

RELEVANT: Why Do Cats Purr? What Is It A Sign Of?

How Do Cats Show Affection To Humans?

Absolutely! Here’s a table detailing various ways cats express affection, with one column providing a descriptive explanation:

Affectionate GestureDescription
PurringVibrating sound often indicating contentment and relaxation
KneadingPressing paws rhythmically against a surface, a sign of comfort
Head-Butting (Bunting)Gently bumping their head against you, a gesture of trust
Slow BlinkingClosing and opening eyes slowly, a sign of trust and relaxation
GroomingLicking and cleaning you or other cats, a display of affection
Bringing GiftsOffering “presents” like toys or prey, a gesture of generosity
Seeking Physical ProximityFollowing, sitting close, or cuddling, seeking closeness
Rubbing AgainstMarking territory by rubbing their scent on you or objects

Cats express affection to humans in various ways, including purring, kneading, head-butting, slow blinking, grooming, bringing gifts, and seeking physical proximity or cuddling. Each cat may have its unique way of displaying affection, but these behaviors often signify their bond and trust with their human companions.

  • Their Eyes

While blinks might seem normal for humans, a cat’s blinks say a lot more than just bodily function. 

Better described as “cat kisses”, cats keep their eyes half-open, with slow blinking intervals in between. This is a typical way for them to show you that they trust you. Experts have often said that this is a way to greatly reduce rapid heartbeats because of the calming effect this has on us. 

What’s even better is that you can return cat kisses by doing the same: blinking at them slowly with half-open eyes. Not only does this calm your heartbeat down, but it also creates a sense of security, love, contentment, and affection between you and your cat. 

  • Their Tails

Even though tails may seem like the most uninvolved part of a cat’s psychology, it is one of the most crucial ones. 

A cat’s tail can be described as its emotional thermometer since it describes everything about a cat’s mental state based on puffiness, attentiveness, and the degrees at which it is tilted. 

Oftentimes, a cat will rub its tail against yours when it wants to demonstrate affection and care. This can be assumed as the cat equivalent of handholding. 

  • Their Presence

Cat owners have often shown mutual agreement when asked about how their cat shows affection to them during sad times. 

Often, cats just come and sit down with their owners when they seem down. Even though cats do not visibly show it, but they offer their company during times of distress. They will come and sit by your side to calm you down or even provide reassurance

It is commonly said that cats detect a change in the air when the social energy switches in the room. Perhaps, this is why they sense when their humans need them. 

  • By Grooming You

It is a well-known fact that cats are very much into cleaning themselves using their tongue and paws. 

While they may be particular about their hygiene, they’re extremely strict about their humans as well. When a cat grows extremely fond of you, it will often try to clean you up using its damp paw or tongue. 

It is common for them to behave this way because they clean everything of their own. Maybe we are cats’ territory, after all. Just the way they clean their children, cats will also be seen grooming their owners, indicating a rather motherly instinct. 

You can show you love them back by grooming them as well. Cats loved to be brushed by people the trust and know.

  • By Rolling Around

Normally when toddlers roll around on the floor, it is a sign of a tantrum. However, with cats, it is completely the opposite. Cats roll around on the floor when they are full and happy. 

Usually, they do so when their owner comes back after a long time, or when they have been fed to their heart’s content, which rarely ever happens, doesn’t it? 

Look out for when your cat is rolling around freely and exposing its belly; this is a sign of their pure trust in you.

  • By Bringing You Treats

The same way humans bring each other gifts to demonstrate their love and care through them, cats do so, too. Just not in the orthodox gift-giving manner. 

Often, in subtle cases, they would bring dry leaves, twigs, paper, or even rolled-up socks. But in extreme cases, they might even bring you a couple of dead birds or mice too, every other day. Don’t freak out, it’s just your cat showing you it loves you.

Even though the sight of a dead animal is not something pleasing to the human eye, cats use it as an expression of their love for their owners. The simple sense of it is that they brought their owners something that they preyed on and would like to share their “food” with their owners. 

  • The Occasional (Or Not So Occasional) Head Butts 

As much as head-butting is considered a sign of affection amongst humans, cats also consider it a top way to make their way into the hearts of people around them. 

Known as a classic cat move to melt every human it reaches, head-butting is one of the most common ways for cats to pour all their love out to humans, or at least the ones they like. 

  • Their Meows 

Even though humans have stereotyped meowing as a thing that cats do to communicate with each other, but researchers have classified it as a means of communication between cats and humans. 

Cats meow at humans at different pitches and variations to make their messages distinguishable. However, when being affectionate, cats tend to use lowers and more nasal meows to create an effect of relaxation on their human. 

You don’t have to worry anymore because the subtle meows that your cat makes while looking at you are not calls for an attack but instead, a mode of affection for them. 

  • The Purring Cat

Known for its curing powers, purring is a genuine healer of the hearts. While it doesn’t seem like much, cats purr when they are at their maximum comfort level with everything that they need: their human and food. 

While this is an active indicator of their affection towards their owners, it is also defined as a mode of anti-anxiety therapy as it is reported as a heartbeat controlling phenomenon. 

More Ways Cats Show Affection

A cat will also lay with you, snuggle with you and sit on your lap to show you they love you and to be affectionate. A cat who rolls over on her back and shows her belly is letting you know she trusts you.

They Love You, They Just Don’t Show It As Much

Despite being famous for their chill nature and no-tolerance attitude, cats genuinely do have a soft spot for their humans and love showing affection in the most subtle of ways.

While some may be quite explicit in their love for you, the rest might not. So be on the lookout for the signs, and just know: 

You’re your cat’s human – and if you know the signs, you’ll see he is probably letting you know a lot more than you originally though.


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