You love your cat to the fullest but do you ever wonder if she really loves you back? Unlike dogs who mostly wear their love on their face at all times and show it by giving you sloppy kisses, wagging their tails and snuggling, cats can be a little standoffish.
They are more subtle in showing their love and of course, only when THEY want to. It's really all about building trust and understanding their love language as well as their boundaries.
A study by neuroscientist Dr. Paul J. Zak, Ph.D., for a BBC2 documentary, “Cats v Dogs,” showed that cats’ oxytocin levels (the hug, cuddle, bonding, trust hormone released in a mother bonding with an infant) increased by 12 percent after 10 minutes of playtime with their pet parents.
Watching their body language is very important when it comes to understanding how much your cat loves you or another person.
8 Signs Your Cat Loves You
1. Kneading with their front paws
This is something they usually start doing when they are a kitten and nursing to stimulate milk flow. Kneading is also a way for cats to activate the sweat glands in their paws and mark you as their own.
One of the most obvious signs your cat loves you is purring. It's also a sign of happiness and contentment. Some cats definitely have louder "motors" than others, but we all associate that familiar sound with love. “Cats show their love by rubbing against you, purring when petted and of course curling up next to you,” says Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, The Pet Vet.
3. Head butts or "bunting"
Cat bunting is usually perceived as a sign of affection. However, you may notice they also head butt inanimate objects around you too, including an okocat litter box! This is mainly to rub their scent onto you and to create a colony scent that only cats would be able to detect. But cats don’t just do this to just anyone and they certainly have to think highly of you to bunt to show their love.
4. A slow blink, blink
Unlike some animals where it means aggression, cats will use direct eye contact with their human to show affection and trust. Half-closed eyes and or a slow blink is known as a "cat kiss" and shows they are very relaxed and feeling adoration towards you. Try doing it back!
5. Bringing you "presents"
All of us cat parents have probably experienced this a time or two, especially if your cat goes outdoors. A lovely "gift" left on the doorstep, a mouse or bird that hopefully does not end up in the house too. I once had to capture a bat that our tuxedo cat had "gifted" us. Try to remember, this is a sign of love and your cat just wants to reward you.
6. Following you...everywhere & snuggling
Can you not even go to the bathroom without your cat wanting in? Paws under the door? Or when you come home, she walks between your legs, rubbing, meowing and purring because she is so happy to see you. These are all signs of love and that they miss you when you are gone, or even when they can't see you.
7. Belly up
Dogs do this all the time but for cats it's an ultimate sign of love and trust. Just
make sure they are relaxed before you start petting that belly, because some cats will roll on their back to get their claws ready for attack!
8. Love licks or bites
Who doesn't love a kitty kiss? Licking is similar to the grooming they would perform on their feline friends and allows for marking of each other. Grooming builds a bond between cat and human. Sometimes they will even try to lick or chew your hair. When a cat gifts you with a gentle nibble–or love bite–it's still considered a playful sign of love. But when the nibbling crosses into painful territory or gets too aggressive, it's no longer a love bite! It's super important to pay close attention to your cat's mood and back off if you see signs that they want to be left alone.
“The purr is very important. It’s the purr that does it every time. It’s the purr that makes up for the Things Under the Bed, the occasional pungency, the 4 a.m. yowl. Other creatures went in for big teeth, long legs or over-active brains, while cats just settled for a noise that tells the world they’re feeling happy.” ― Terry Pratchett