Dogs and cats bring great joy to life. To know when your pets truly love you, observe their social behavior, facial cues, and body language. Look for signs they love you in the ways they interact with you. Of course, all animals are different, and they show their love in various ways. Some four-legged friends are naturally more affectionate than others.
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Observe specific facial movements
One study reported in Behavioural Processes demonstrated that when dogs were reunited with their owners, they expressed their emotions with facial expressions and tail wagging. When dogs were introduced to people they love in the study, they would immediately lift their left eyebrow, but when they saw a stranger, they showed little facial movement. This suggests that when dogs see someone they love, they show it in their facial expressions.
Cats are known for being aloof, standoffish creatures, but cats can bond as deeply with their human owners as babies do, according to a study from Oregon State University. Cats look at their human owners as a source of safety, so if a cat is running away or hiding, it might be a sign that he doesn't feel secure in your home.
In order to see if a cat loves you, he needs to have a safe environment in which he's comfortable. Allow cats the room to approach you and provide for their basic happiness with treats and toys. Then, check to see if they show affection by following you around, rubbing against you, coming to your room when you're asleep or sleeping with you. A cat kneading his paws on you might be a bit painful with his claws, but it actually means that he considers you to be his parent.
See if they show their belly
Your beloved four-legged friend isn't just rolling over to get belly rubs; she's showing you that she trusts you. The act of rolling over and showing the stomach means the animal is vulnerable. With that said, just because a pet shows her tummy doesn't mean she wants you to touch it. If you reach out to touch a cat's stomach and she responds with scratches, leave her alone.
Of course, some canine and feline companions will roll over because they are ready to play. Take them up on the offer; playing together will strengthen your bond.
You might not want the slobbery tug-of-war rope toy or the dead mouse, but an animal sharing his items with you is a sign of love. When a cat brings you a gift — even when it's a gift you don't enjoy, like dead mice or a piece of trash — it's because he feels safe with you. If a dog loves you, he'll bring you a favorite toy.
Listen to their sounds
Cats hiss and dogs growl when they're frustrated, scared, or angry, but when they're feeling happy, they'll let you know it with the way they sound. You might feel the rumbling vibration of a cat's purr (sometimes without hearing the sound), or your feline will chirp at you. Dogs don't purr, but they will vocalize how they're feeling with playful growls or grunting.
Look at their tail
The tail of dogs and cats tells you exactly what they're feeling. An erect tail can tell you they're feeling angry or threatened. A tail that swishes or wags, however, is a tell-tale sign that your cat or dog is happy when you're around. A cat curling her tail around her body is another way of showing you how much she cares. If a dog or cat says hello to you when you come home with an upright or wagging tail, it's true love.
- Behavioural Processes: Dogs Show Left Facial Lateralization Upon Reunion With Their Owners
- Oprah Daily: 9 Signs That Prove Your Cat Loves You More Than Anything
- Oregon State University: Cats, Like Children and Dogs, Develop Attachments to Their Caregivers, Study Shows
- Insider: 11 Surprising Ways Your Dog is Showing That They Love You, According to Veterinarians
- Insider: 11 Surprising Signs Your Cat Actually Likes You