Does My Cat Love Me?
Often times, cats get a bad rep. They are often stereotypically portrayed as aloof, volatile, apathetic residents of the home. However, our feline friends are just misunderstood. Although they may not display affection and admiration as outwardly as their canine counterparts, cats do often display signs of love and affection.
Here are some ways our feline friends are showing the love:
Cats often may be found in a nearby radius of you, and we commonly assume this is just because they are waiting for their next meal to be served. While they certainly may well understand that you are the source of tasty treats, cats often shadow their owners simply because they enjoy your company. Researchers have studied the preferred stimuli of cats, and surprisingly food comes in second, social interaction with humans was the top stimuli our feline friends preferred.
As cat owners know, a feline's belly is often off limits for petting. If your cat is lounging around and rolls over to expose their belly, this is sign that your feline friend trusts you.
· Eye Contact
Often times you may notice your kitty giving you a sleepy gaze. The "slow blink" your cat does is the feline version of a kiss on the cheek. To show your affection, you can return the slow blink.
Meowing is a unique vocalization cats make, almost exclusively used to communicate with humans. While cats often meow to their owners to provide a "gentle" reminder that they would like something to eat, it is also a way for your feline friend to greet you and express pleasure in seeing you.
· Tail Position
Your cat's tail can be an important indicator of their emotional state. It is well known when they are scared or feel threatened, often times their tail will puff up, in order to help them appear bigger, and more intimidating. However, when your kitty's tail is upright and curved slightly at the top, this is a sign that your feline friend is feeling relaxed and content. Further, your cat may wrap or drape their tail around your legs if they are winding through or rubbing against your legs, as a sign of comfort and trust.
· Head Butting & Cheek Rubbing
When your cat is rubbing their cheek, or head butting you, this is a sign of affection. Not only is it meant to be loving act, but it s actually their way of declaring that you are their human. Your cat's forehead and cheeks contain scent glands that release pheromones, which they transfer on to you when they head butt or rub their cheeks on you. It is a bonding mechanism, and a way for them to communicate to cats that you belong to them!
One of cat's best kept secrets is how or why they purr. Although we have some understanding of the mechanism, it is not fully understood. What is known by many cat owners though is that this is often a sign of peak contentment. If your cat is purring during a snuggle session or during another affectionate moment the two of you share this is a sign of your cat feeling safe, secure and comfortable. It is important to note that cats may purr in other incidences, such as when they are in pain, or if they are scared.
We often notice when our feline friend is snuggled up with us, with another furry companion or even just with a cozy blanket, they will start kneading imaginary dough. Kittens actually utilize this mechanism when nursing to stimulate milk production from their mother. When adult cats are kneading, this is their way of showing that they are relaxed and content. Furthermore, if they are kneading you, this is a sign of their affectionate regard for you.
If you have more than one cat, you may notice that they often will groom each other. In some instances, they may even try to groom their humans! Grooming is an important bonding mechanism for cats that shows affection and contentment.
Cats can be discreet and inconspicuous with their affection towards you, but it doesn't mean they love you any less than their canine counterparts do! Be sure to appreciate their affection by keeping them happy and healthy. Regular veterinary care is important to maintain a happy, healthy feline friend.
Looking for a vet in the Newmarket Aurora area? Give us a call at 905 898 1010 to book an appointment!
Social interaction, food, scent or toys? A formal assessment of domestic pet and shelter cat preferences (Behavioural Processes)