With all of the cuddles, attention and taste treats, we’d all like to think that our cats know how much we love them. But how can we tell if that love and affection is reciprocated? We might be able to tell our cats that we love them - and we definitely do this about twenty times a day - but it got us wondering about how our cats show us that they feel the same way.
They might not be able to say it, but it turns out there are some key behaviours that our cats use to show us that they love us back (or at least that they’re somewhat happy to have us around). Let’s look at some of the main ways that cats show affection towards their humans, and tell us that they’re happy and content in our company. And remember: every cat is different. While some cats might demonstrate all of these behaviours, other cats may opt for some over others - so see which ones you can recognise from your cats at home!
Now, this one’s a real classic. While there are a few different reasons for why cats purr, one of the most common explanations for a gently purring cat is happiness and contentment. If your cat purrs while you’re stroking or grooming them, or simply while they’re curled up next to you, you can be pretty certain that their purring is telling you that they’re a very happy cat.
Kneading (aka making biscuits!)
If your cat is forever making biscuits, then it’s a pretty good sign that they’re happy about something. Kneading is an instinctive behaviour in cats, and it’s thought to be a generally relaxing and soothing activity for cats. If they’re making biscuits on you or when you’re around, it means they feel safe and happy in your presence.
This one might sound confusing to us humans, but cats use headbutts to show that they care. Our cats have scent glands in their cheeks and on their head, so if they come up to you and gently butt you with their head, they’re actually transferring their scent onto you to show that you’re a part of their family.
If your cat slowly blinks at you, it’s a sign that they trust you and feel safe around you. It’s pretty similar to the human act of smiling - our eyes tend to narrow when we smile, and the slow blink isn’t too different. And this one can be reciprocated, too. Try narrowing your eyes, like you’re smiling, and then close your eyes gently for a second or two. Your cats might even respond in the same way!
Cats use grooming as a way of showing affection amongst themselves, so if your cat licks you (a bit like they’d like their own or another cat’s fur) then consider it a show of feline affection! While we don’t recommend licking your cats in return, grooming (with a cat brush or mitt) is a great bonding activity that works both ways.