Top 14 Surprising Ways Your Cat Shows Affection


People who say they don’t like cats often argue that cats are not as affectionate as dogs. But the truth is, cats love their owners too; they just express it in different ways. Wondering how cats show affection? Well, they might not enthusiastically greet you at the door like dogs, but they have their unique ways of expressing love. Once you recognize these surprising signs of affection, you’ll come to realize that your cat does love you after all.

| They slowly blink at you

young woman petting her beautiful cat at home next to a window, pets and lifestyle concept

If your cat is staring at you with intense focus, don’t worry. It’s not a threatening gesture; instead, it’s their way of expressing love. According to certified cat behaviorist Russell Hartstein, the CEO of Fun Paw Care, when your cat stares at you and slowly blinks, they’re trying to communicate and show affection. You can reciprocate by slowly blinking back at your cat, letting them know they are “loved and safe around you.”

| They back it up in your face

side view of graceful Siamese cat in collar with woman sitting on background at home

You might not find it appealing when your cat presents their rear end, but it’s actually another way for them to express love. According to Nikki Naser, resident pet expert at Chewy, if your cat frequently shows you their behind, it indicates they are comfortable around you and are signaling that you are their “favorite human.”

| Their tail is curved when you’re near

tabby domestic shorthair cat walking over a low mural looking at camera curiously

You can understand a lot from a cat’s tail, especially its shape when they’re near you. A good shape is when it’s curved. As Kelly C. Ballantyne, DVM, explained to Catster, if a cat is coming toward you with a “tail straight up with a slight curve at the end,” it means they are approaching in a friendly manner—a posture commonly seen among other cat friends or humans they like.

| Or they wrap their tail around you

domestic life with pet. Cat welcome his owner (young man) at home.

If your cat wraps its tail around you, don’t be annoyed—feel the love! According to Boriana Slabakova, co-founder of PetPedia, it’s like “humans holding hands” for cats. When your cat trusts you enough to wrap its tail around you, it’s a sign of “true friendship, love, and trust.”

| They nibble on you

Cat playing with a caucasian human hand.

Your cat’s gentle bites may surprise you, but don’t worry—it’s a sign of affection. According to Lynn Maria Thompson, author of The Feline CEO, when a cat cares for someone, they might express it through these “love bites.” Usually happening when you’re petting them, it’s their way of saying, “Please don’t stop, I like this!”

| They pee on things when you leave

urine of a cat or a dog on the floor of a house

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

a bengal baby cat just got adopted by a métis man. The pet is getting to know its master. Complicity and affection in a warm home.

Cats knead you to let you know they need you. When they push forward with their front paws, alternating between left and right, it’s called kneading. Don’t worry, though—it’s a gentle gesture to show love. Kittens start doing it when nursing, so it reminds them of a time when they felt content.

| They bring you dead animals

cat hunting a mouse in the house.

Imagine your cat bringing you a gift—think of it as their version of a bouquet of roses. According to Emily Parker, content manager at Catological, this gesture is akin to sharing their prey. In the wild, food is considered a “precious commodity,” and since cats spend most of their time hunting, offering you their catch is a significant act. This sharing of their bounty is reserved for those they hold dear, a way of expressing care and saying, “Don’t worry about dinner tonight, I’ve got it covered.”

| They always seem to be nearby, especially when you’re sick

cat owner and her cat sitting on a sofa. Young Asian woman has a running nose symptom problem because a cat allergy problem.

Ever felt your cat’s comforting presence when you’re not at your best? That’s a sure sign of love. According to Thompson, cats have a knack for being close to those they care about, especially when you’re feeling under the weather or a bit blue. It’s as if they have an instinct to sense your well-being and choose to stay by your side, offering comfort during those moments. So, if your feline friend seems extra attentive when you’re not at your best, it’s a clear expression of love and concern.

| They head bunt against you

Cute cat and his owner

When your cat gives you a head bunt, it’s like getting the ultimate feline hug. According to Parker, this affectionate gesture involves your cat gently bumping or rubbing their head against you. It’s their way of saying, “I love you” and expressing affection through physical closeness. But there’s more to it – by head bunting, your cat is also marking you with their scent. It’s their unique way of declaring to the entire cat community that you are their special person, their chosen human. So, if your furry friend graces you with a head bunt, consider it a heartwarming confirmation of the strong bond you share.

| They caress you with their paws

Cat love By the hand grip at hand.

Cats have a sneaky motive behind their adorable actions – it’s all about marking their territory with their unique scent. Ever wonder why your cat rubs their cheeks against you? Well, it turns out they have scent glands in their cheeks, and when they do this, they’re essentially leaving their pheromones on you. But wait, there’s more! Those cute paws of theirs also have scent glands. So, when your feline friend caresses you with their paws, it’s another clever move to spread their scent, marking you as their own. It’s like they’re saying, “This human belongs to me!” So, the next time your cat gives you a gentle paw massage, know that it’s their way of leaving an invisible but unmistakable mark of love and ownership.

| They purr or meow near you

Grey Tabby Kitten feeling safe and protected, falls asleep in the hands of an elderly woman owner. Image shows portrait of the cat and only the elderly woman's hand and torso area

It’s hard to tell what your cat is trying to say when they purr or meow in your vicinity. Are they hungry? Do they want to be left alone? Maybe. But have you ever considered that they might be trying to tell you that they love you? As Thompson explains, a cat’s purr has “healing properties.” So when they purr, it most likely indicates that they’re happy—and especially happy being near you.

| They show you their belly

A small kitten is lovingly caressed

Cats will only expose their bellies to someone they trust, Naser explains. But don’t necessarily go in for a pet, because usually it’s only for looks—and you run the risk of being clawed. If your cat really loves you, however, Naser says they might let you rub their belly.

| They lick you

shot of an attractive young woman relaxing on the sofa at home and bonding with her cat

Cats use their tongues to communicate, and if your cat licks you, it’s like their way of saying, “I want your attention!” It might be an invitation to play or be petted, showing their affection and desire for interaction. Cats are meticulous groomers, and if they lick you, they might be trying to clean you as a bonding ritual. It’s like they’re saying, “You’re part of my pack, and I want you to be as clean as me!”

Moreover, licking can also be a sign that your cat is feeling calm and content around you. So, when your feline friend showers you with licks, cherish the moment – it’s their way of expressing love and comfort in their unique, tongue-in-cheek style!


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