If you learn to recognize all the surprising ways they show affection, you’ll come to realize that your cat does love you after all.
-They slowly blink at you.
Don’t be alarmed if your feline friend is intently staring at you. While it may seem like a threatening move, this is actually their way of showing you that they love you. As certified cat behaviorist Russell Hartstein, CEO of Fun Paw Care, explains, if your cat is staring at you and slowly blinking, they’re trying to communicate with you by showing affection. And you can even slowly blink back at your cat to offer your own love, showing your cat that they are “loved and safe around you.”
-They back it up in your face.
You may not be too appreciative when you see the rear end of your cat, but this is another chance for them to show you their love. Nikki Naser, resident pet expert at Chewy, explains that if your cat regularly shows you their behind, that means they are comfortable around you and trying to tell you that you are their “favorite human.”
-Their tail is curved when you’re near.
You can tell a lot from a cat’s tail, and how it’s shaped when they’re around you. What shape is good? Curved. As Kelly C. Ballantyne, DVM, explained to Catster, when a cat is approaching you with a “tail straight up with a slight curve at the end,” they’re signaling to you that they are approaching amicably—which is a posture they’re often seen displaying among other feline friends or humans they’re fond of.
-Or they wrap their tail around you.
If you’ve ever found yourself wrapped up in the tail of your feline friend, don’t take that moment to be annoyed. Instead, be appreciative—they’re showing you love! Boriana Slabakova, co-founder of PetPedia, says this is the cat equivalent to “humans holding hands.” If your cat feels comfortable enough to wrap their tail around you, it’s a sign of “true friendship, love, and trust.”
-They nibble on you.
While you may think that your cat biting you means they don’t like you, it’s often a sign of the opposite. When a cat truly cares for someone, they might show this through gentle “love bites,” explains Lynn Maria Thompson, author of The Feline CEO. They normally do this with your hand when you’re petting them, as an indication that they don’t want you to take your hand away.
-They pee on things when you leave.
We understand, returning home to random puddles of cat pee doesn’t necessarily sound like a good time. But in the grand scheme of things, your cat was just trying to show you that they consider you a member of their family. As Thompson explains, cats will “mark the boundaries of their territory” by peeing there. So, the scent of their urine—or the urine of someone in their family—is a sign of home. When you leave them alone, they pee on things in the hope that “the scent of the family pee” will bring you back home to them.
-They knead you.
Cats knead you to show you that they need you. The act of kneading is where cats push forward with their front paws, alternating between left and right. And while this sounds painful, Naser says to not worry, cats do it gently to the owners they love. It’s an act they start doing as kittens when nursing, so it’s a motion that reminds them of a “time when they felt content.”
-They bring you dead animals.
What’s the cat equivalent of bringing you a bouquet of roses? Gifting you their prey, says Emily Parker, content manager at Catological. This is because in the wild, food is a “precious commodity,” and most of a cat’s time is spent hunting. When it comes to sharing their bounty, they do so only with those closest to them. It’s a sign of them caring for you, almost as if they were saying, “Don’t worry about dinner tonight, I’ve got it covered.”
-They always seem to be nearby, especially when you’re sick.
Have you ever noticed your cat seems to be especially close to you when you’re feeling under the weather? That’s probably a good sign that you’re someone they love. “Cats like to be near the people they care about,” Thompson says. “They can especially sense if you’re unwell or feeling blue, and will stay close to you to comfort you during those times.”