You lavish your cat with attention and provide cozy beds, cat condos, and their favorite foods, but sometimes it can be hard to tell if your cat really loves you as much as you love them. Because you can't ask your cat whether or not they know that you love them, you'll have to observe their behavior to see if your cat returns your affection.
Just as with people, it's generally a good rule that if your cat is showing you affection, it's because they sense the affection and love coming from you. Fortunately, there are many signs you can look for that let you know whether your kitty loves you back.
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Cats who hang around
Despite their reputation for being aloof, many cats enjoy the company of humans, so if your cat regularly hangs around you, it probably means he thinks you're the cat's meow and senses your affection for them. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, when your cat interacts with you, their body produces oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone produced in both the bodies of humans and some animals that indicates they are feeling love.
Of course, if your cat is regularly snuggled in your lap, the answer as to whether they love you and know how much you love them is pretty obvious. They may even relax so much around you that they give you a few kitty farts. And, if they let you pet them, that shows that they trust and love you, too.
When your cat is very relaxed, you may notice that they are staring at you lazily and then very slowly blinking their eyes. As strange as it sounds, cats say "I love you" by slowly blinking at you. These slow blinks are a cat's version of a kiss, according to cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-Bennett.
If you slowly blink back at your cat, you can let them know that you love them, too. This is a great way to communicate your love to your cat.
Cats show love with marking
Another way cats show you just how much they love you is by marking you. If you get a head bop or your cat rubs you with their cheek, that's because your cat has scent glands on their head and cheeks. These scent glands release chemicals that are odorless to humans but that your cat can smell. By putting their scent on you, your cat is claiming you as their own, says Psychology Today.
When a cat claims you, he is showing you just how much he loves you and appreciates your love. It's very much a sign that he considers you part of their family.
Cats show love with kneading
If you've ever had your cat or kitten on your lap and they start kneading, it's likely because they know how much you love them and they're returning that love.
Cats knead as kittens on their mother when they are nursing from her, so this behavior mimics that of a kitten and mother. Your cat is telling you just how safe and warm they feel with you, just like they did with their mama, says the Winchester SPCA.
If your kitten farts a lot when they're kneading on you, it's likely because they're relaxed and feel safe, but if they are having excessive gas, it might be time to visit the veterinarian.