Do you ever look up from sitting at your computer and notice your cat lounging and slowly blinking at you? Or maybe they blink lazily at you when you wake up, or they stare and blink at you when you cook? Don't be scared, this is a good thing! In fact, this is about as close as you can get to having a cat say the words "I love you".
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Not sure how a slow blink means "I love you" from a cat? Here's how.
When your cat stares at you, slowly blinks, opens their eyes wider and then slowly blinks again, it is a great sign of affection and trust. For feral cats, although they are incredible hunters, they can also be easy targets for prey. With their heightened sense of smell, sound and sight, a cat is constantly on alert for danger. Your cat, the ever vigilant hunter who is always ready for any predator that might be hunting them, is closing their eyes around you!
That is an enormous risk for a cat. They are essentially telling you "I trust you enough to slowly close my eyes, more than once, because I know you won't attack me and I, in turn, hope you feel the same way." A little morbid? Sure. However, your cat is of the wild, and if they know they can trust you, it means you are a part of their pack. Cats have fantastic memories, so it is easy to lose trust or never gain trust with a cat. If they feel safe with you, they will show you by blinking slowly. That takes work because cats make you earn trust, it's not given willy nilly.
Your cats sees you as a large (slightly clumsy) cat that is a part of their pack. So when they say "I love you" they do it in cat language. There are several other signs from your cat that they are showing their trust in you, thus their love for you. If your cat shows their belly they are showing their most tender part that holds all of their organs. Showing you their belly means they know that you won't lunge and hurt them.
If your cat nips at you. it is also a sign of playful affection that says, "I'll clean you and not hurt you with my sharp biters, because I know you won't hurt me." If you have other cats, you might see them do this to one another frequently (if they are friends). When a cat does this to you, she is saying the same thing. (Even though your cat may not fully understand that you don't have fur and their bites hurt you more than it would hurt another cat.)
Since your cat is telling you they love you, you should absolutely return the affection! No, they won't understand when you say "I love you," but you can still tell them in other ways. When they show you their vulnerable underbelly, gently pet it. (Don't grab their tummy, it will make them scared and feel attacked.) If your cat slowly blinks at you, you should slowly blink back showing them that you, in turn, trust them. Even though they cannot understand your words, if you say how much you love them in a soft, calm voice they will understand that you are letting them know they are safe with you.
Next time you catch your cat staring and blinking at you, you should feel good about it. Your cat is letting you know that they love you and feel safe. Continue to make them feel safe. Now that you know what they mean, try to communicate with them like they communicate with you. They will appreciate it and love you that much more.