How Do Cats Show Their Love?

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Kneading and purring to slow blinks and cheek rubs — these are ways cats show affection for their favorite humans. But how cats show affection can be subtle, particularly when compared to man's other best friend, the dog. Dogs show love with such enthusiasm, when we walk in the door, showering us with unrestrained emotion.


Kneading and purring to slow blinks and cheek rubs — these are ways cats show affection for their favorite humans.

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But how do cats show love? Not with wild abandon but quiet meaningful gestures. Understanding a few of the more common signs of kitty love can help you bond even more with your furry feline. You might even learn how to return a few affectionate messages.


Cat head bunting

Has your cat ever sashayed up to you and casually bumped its head into your hand, face or leg? Though many call it head "butting," the term for this head-to-body contact is actually bunting. It turns out there's a scientific explanation for this surprising behavior: Cats convey their scent onto people and objects to signify ownership and affection.


Scent glands are located in certain parts of their body, particularly on the sides of the head, around the front paws, and on the tail. It's precisely these areas that felines nudge and rub on people and animals they feel close to. How do cats show love? It might have a lot to do with marking you as their own and more than that: accepting you as part of their colony.


Cat paw kneading

Rhythmic kneading of their front paws on soft surfaces is a comforting action that's first learned when cats are small kittens. The in-and-out motion helped with nursing, and some felines keep up this behavior into adulthood as a soothing coping mechanism or to identify you as a primary care giver. Some cats might extend their nails when they knead, and others do not. It's actually a personal preference rather than a reflection of the cat's emotional state.


Cats deliver presents

Cats are natural hunters, and this instinct remains strong even among housecats. Many kitties will show their love with a gift they caught themselves, bringing it home to contribute to the family bounty.


If your furry pet brings you a small critter, toy, or other item and drops it at your feet, don't be alarmed. Simply rehome the "gift" and give your kitty a sweet thank-you head scratch, even if the gift is a dead rodent in need of disposal.

Tails: how cats show love

Some animal experts refer to cats' tails as emotional barometers, and as pet owners, we should learn to appreciate this highly visible cue. Loving cats will often wrap their tail gently around those they're attached to, or hold it up straight with a slight crook at the end, like a question mark.


A question mark tail is literally a mark of affection and represents a playful cat willing to interact with you. Does your cat sit beside you and wrap its tail softly around you? That's also a clear sign of contentment and connection. Calm quiet moments are golden moments with cats.


Cat slow blinking

Finally, cats love with their amazing eyes and this might be the most obvious, yet overlooked, ways cats show affection. Don't confuse your cat's half-closed eyes with boredom. If those slow, deliberate blinks are directed at you, take them as visual cat kisses!

A feline's trance-like look is an outward sign of trust, relaxation, and affection. If you want to reciprocate, simply look at your kitty in the same way: maintain a soft gaze and slowly blink. (It's said to work with big cats as well, so try to woo that tiger next time you're at the zoo!)