They’re furry, they’re cuddly and most importantly they’re cute! Although they express love differently than humans, our cats show love to us in many different ways. How do your cats say I love you? Here are a few behaviors common in cats who are showing love and affection to their family.
A cat’s purr can mean a variety of things from happiness to genuine concern. Cats use purrs as another form of communication with humans. In fact, many experts believe that a cat’s purr is a form of submission letting both people and other animals know they offer no sort of threat. Either way, we like to think of purring as a little smile from our pets letting us know they are here.
Cat kneading is an action when the cats lightly press the tips of their paws into you in a very methodical and calm motion, similar to a person kneading bread dough. This action goes all the way back to when your cat was a kitten and they did this to release milk from their mother. Adult cats show this action when they are feeling their most comfortable and relaxed, which can typically be when they are being petted.
Does your cat like to sleep in your arms or on your lap? Consider yourself loved! Cats can sleep anywhere from 10 to 15 hours each day. They are most vulnerable while sleeping and choose places that are safe and secure. There is no better compliment to you than a cat who chooses to fall asleep on you. This means they are completely comfortable with you and trust they are in safe and loving hands.
Like other animals, cats rub on items to leave their scent. When your cat rubs against your arms or legs or presses against your face he or she is leaving their scent on you. This behavior, also called bunting, is a way to let other animals know that you belong to them. It is a form of affection they show to those they trust the most.
Normally, cats do not communicate to each other through meowing. Primarily, they save this vocal behavior to their interactions with humans. Whether your cat just gives you a meow here or there or meows nonstop, consider this to be their way of communicating with you and showing their love.
Has your cat ever hopped up on your lap and then stuck his or her rear end right in your face. This may seem a little annoying or gross to you, but it is actually a way for them to show love. Think about it, cats introduce themselves to other animals by sniffing their rear ends. This scent identifier is almost equivalent to a hand shake in the human world. So, when your cat is sticking his or her hind end right in your face, think of it as him saying hi, how are you doing today.
We’ve all had that moment when we walk in the house and the cat stops right at your feet only to roll over and expose his or her belly to you. This position leaves your cat very exposed and vulnerable. For them to come up to you and greet you in such a manner shows that they trust and love you.
Do you have a question for Brian? E-mail him at AskBrian@hsdayton.org. Brian Weltge is the President and CEO of the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. The Humane Society is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to building loving relationships between people and pets. Founded 115 years ago, it is the largest and most established no-kill animal welfare agency in the area. It focuses on pet adoptions, eliminating pet overpopulation, providing education and ensuring the humane treatment of animals. For more information about the Humane Society of Greater Dayton, call 937-268-PETS (7387) or visit www.hsdayton.org.