Note: This is different from when a tortoiseshell cat loves you. If you want to know how to tell if a tortie loves you, then read this post from Binga.
Some people like dogs’ effusive adoration and sloppy kisses. Other people, like my human, are totally turned off by that. She wants to be appreciated, not worshipped, and she prefers PDAs to be a little more on the neat, non-slobbery side. That is what makes her a pretty decent cat person. She likes the type of affection we cats have to give — and she understands it. Some people don’t understand how a cat says I love you. Some of these people even live with cats — and that’s sad, because they go through life, thinking their cats don’t care about them!
The truth is if a cat chooses to live with and hang out with you, she loves you. If a cat doesn’t love you, she will find a way to leave, or she will hide from you, never to be seen. Cat love is often quiet and subtle (unless the cat is a tortie), so you have to be more aware of the signals. Would you like a refresher course, or a list you can pass along to a friend who isn’t sure how his cat feels about him? Here you go.
- Cats who love you share space with you. Do you often find your cat nearby, or does she follow you from room to room? If a cat wants to be around you, then she loves you and loves your company.
- She holds her tail high when she greets you. Cats have two different “love” tails. One is where their tail is straight up, but curves at the end like a question mark. That’s the friendly tail. The other is when they hold their tail straight up as they walk towards you. Their tail may even twitch a bit with excitement. That means the cat is really, really happy to see you!
- Head butts and rubs. Cats give head butts to people they love. They also like rubbing up against their humans. That’s because we have scent glands in our face and certain parts of our bodies. When we mark you with our scent, we are intermingling our smells with yours to create one big, happy, family aroma! You humans can’t smell it, but we can.
- Bringing gifts. My human had one indoor/ outdoor cat who loved to bring her prey. My human always tried to be appreciative of these gifts, even though she was not thrilled about it. But the cat was always so happy and proud to present these gifts to her. One of the nicest things you can do for someone is provide for them, after all. About the only way you can stop a cat who is determined to provide for you is keep her indoors… and even then, if a mouse gets in the house, you may find yourself with another present. Or maybe she will bring you her toys instead.
- Purring and happy paws. If a cat purrs for you and makes happy paws, kneading on your clothes — or your blanket, if you are in bed — she is really enjoying her time with you. It’s also very healing, which is why I do this for my patients as a therapy cat.
- Grooming you. Cats who love you will sometimes groom you, licking your hair or sometimes your skin. Cats always like to look their best, and they want to do the same for their human! Or at least we think it’s a nice way to spend time with them. And no, you don’t have to groom us back, although some cats do appreciate a good brushing.
- Exposing our bellies. This is a sign of trust, and not one to be taken lightly. Some cats like their bellies rubbed, but others see this as a betrayal of their vulnerability — and others just instinctually grab your hand with their claws. Humans always want to touch our bellies, even when they are not supposed to! So do try to be polite and restrain yourself if you’ve discovered we don’t want our bellies to be touched. With cats, physical contact is not always necessary to express affection.
- The slow blink. When a cat lazily looks into your eyes and gives you a slow blink, then looks away or shuts her eyes again, she is giving you a love sign. If you slow blink back in the same way she is doing it, you are saying I love you too.
And… sometimes if a cat really, really loves and trusts her human, she will let her place silly things on her head!
Do you kitties out there have other ways of telling your humans you love them?