Cats are the most popular pets in the world, yet there are countless misconceptions about them that just won’t die. Perhaps the most misguided of these is that cats are cold, aloof and unfriendly. The idea prevails, although no one who actually owns a cat could ever believe it. Cat owners know there are lots of ways cats show love. Here are 10 of them.
YOUR CAT SHOWS YOU ITS BELLY
When your cat rolls over on its back and shows you its belly, it’s engaging in a display of the deepest trust. That’s because it’s purposefully taking a vulnerable position. It’s like the cat is telling you, “I would be easy prey right now, but I feel safe because I know you won’t harm me.” It’s also a playful gesture, meaning your cat probably wants some attention, but don’t mistake it as a dog-like invitation for a belly rub. Going straight for that exposed tummy with your hand is like a immediate betrayal of the trust your cat is showing you, and you’ll stand a good chance of being bitten.
YOUR CAT NUZZLES YOU
Any form of bunting is a sure sign of feline affection. “Bunting” is the term for when a cat nuzzles you with its muzzle, butts you gently with its head, or generally rubs or pushes against you. The reason behind it is that cats have a concentration of scent glands in their cheeks, so when they rub their faces against things, they’re marking those things with their scent, essentially claiming possession. When your cat bunts you, it marks you as a member of its family and someone safe who can be trusted.
YOUR CAT WRAPS ITS TAIL AROUND YOU
Cats use their tails to communicate a wide range of thoughts and feelings, including fear, hostility, curiosity and love. One way a cat may use its tail to show love is by wrapping it around the object of its affection, be it a littermate, another household pet or, of course, its owner. The gesture is equivalent to putting an arm around someone’s shoulder or holding hands.
YOUR CAT BLINKS AT YOU
Don’t stare at your cat. Cats don’t want to be stared at because staring is a sign of aggression. Likewise, it’s a bad sign if your cat stares at you. However, if your cat looks at you softly and blinks slowly and calmly, it’s showing you affection and trust. Like blinking first in a staring contest, your cat is submitting to show that it sees you as a friend and not a potential enemy to be dominated. The proper response? Blink slowly back at the cat. It’s equivalent to sharing a silent conversation or a friendly kiss.
YOUR CAT LICKS YOU
Sure, your skin is pleasantly salty, but your cat doesn’t lick you just because you taste good. A cat subjects you to a good licking session for the same reason it does so to itself: grooming. Obviously, you don’t have fur to maintain, but grooming serves other purposes to cats, such as forming close bonds, just like a mother does with her kittens. If your cat grooms you, it sees you as its family.
YOUR CAT PURRS AT YOU
Cats purr to communicate a variety of feelings, but most often it's a signal that represents what people usually recognize it to mean: The cat is showing that it is friendly, content and affectionate. Mothers and their kittens purr to each other to communicate, so even if your cat is purring to communicate to you about an unpleasant feeling like hunger, stress or illness, it's still a demonstration that your cat sees you as an important person to “tell” that information to. You’re the one the cat goes to for help.
YOUR CAT SLEEPS ON YOU OR BESIDE YOU
What a waste of money that cat bed you bought turned out to be. Your cat still sleeps next to you every night while its own bed sits across the room, lonely and unused. You know it’s not just your body heat that your cat is after, don’t you? Your cat wants to sleep by you for the same reason it follows you from room to room during every waking minute: You’re an important person — the most important person in your cat’s eyes — and it wants to be near you whenever possible.
YOUR CAT KNEADS YOU
Kneading, often called “making biscuits,” is that thing cats do when they press on you over and over again with their paws, and it would probably be annoying if it wasn’t so cute. It helps that this behavior is a pretty clear sign of love. Cats do it because when they were kittens, they kneaded their mothers to stimulate milk at feeding time. It’s an instinct that shows the deep affection your cat holds for you.
YOUR CAT BRINGS YOU DEAD THINGS
Many cat owners know the unpleasant experience of waking up to find a mutilated mouse in the bedroom, or even in the bed. You may be bothered by this, but it would never cross your cat’s mind that you wouldn’t want a dead, delicious mouse to eat. Reacting with disgust or anger would be rude, and even confusing, considering that your cat gave you that dead thing with all the love in its heart. It cares for you and wants to please you. Thank your cat for its kindness and dispose of the gift discreetly. If you want to prevent repeat behavior, keep your cat indoors.
Next: How to Form a Lifelong Bond With Your Cat
YOUR CAT MEOWS AT YOU IN A FRIENDLY TONE
Sometimes when your cat “talks” to you, it can be difficult to know what it’s saying. A hiss or a growl are pretty clear, but cat meows and their meanings can be more complicated to decipher. If you know what to listen for, you’ll learn to recognize when your cat is just happy to see you. A friendly meow has a bright, high-pitched tone, possibly with a bit of a trill. Lower tones or growls, chirps, chatters and whinier meows that sound like crying are more indicative of distress, fear, hostility, curiosity or just good, old-fashioned begging.
10 Ways Your Cat Loves Youcats decoded
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